Holly Marie Combs
The now-eldest sister on Charmed is
ready and waiting in her trailer when I go to meet her late
afternoon, early evening. Her trailer is decorated very
simply with no fuss and the most notable piece is a huge
trunk which contains all of her fan mail. Dressed in leather
pants and a t-shirt, she is the funniest of the three.
Although she loves playing Piper and is happy to be an
actress, Holly is very down to earth and would rather spend
a day with her animals then go to a glamorous premiere, as
GF: I'm not sure if you're aware of
this Holly but you have a huge following in Australia.
I know! I'm so popular in Australia and
I have no idea why. It's like each girl has their country.
Like Alyssa in France, forget about it! God forbid if
there's a French tourist anywhere near her. I remember this
time we were in London and there were some French tourists
who spotted her and they just started screaming.
GF: Do you read all of your fan mail?
I do and this trunk here is full of it
and I get so many letters from Australia, it's really
GF: Any reason why you think Piper is
For me, my character is the most
neutral character and the most relatable, more of the girl
next door and I think that's what people relate to. You
know, I'm not like Alyssa Milano the sex symbol or Shannen
or Rose so my character tends to be the one people relate to
the most because I think people see her as the most normal.
GF: Are there any similarities between
you and Piper?
Four years later, it's hard to
distinguish the two anymore! She's definitely a little bit
more worrisome and neurotic than I am. I'm a little bit more
laid back than Piper. I think the fact she gets so worked up
about things is part of her charm but it can get a little
exhausting trying to play her. She's got WAY more energy
than I do, that's for sure.
GF: You and Shannen were very close. Do
you miss her?
I'm still really good friends with here
and we're going to the Ocean's 11 premiere together so we
still see each other quite a bit. It's funny because she
called me the other day and asked me what I was going to
wear. I told her I was going to wear something comfortable
and casual, something that I could watch a movie for two
hours in and she was like 'No, no no. You HAVE to get
dressed up.' And I thought, damn that's too bad.
GF: I take it you're not into clothes
Not at all. I don't get it. To give you
an idea of how clueless I am, our wardrobe person is going
shopping for me because she doesn't want to leave me to my
own devices (laughs).
GF: Do Alyssa and Rose give you a hard
time about it?
All the time! Rose doesn't understand
me at all on the shopping issue. She has all of these
fashion magazines and she'll show me a picture of some
outfit and say 'Come on, doesn't this do anything for you?'
and I just don't get it. I'm like 'Honey I don't care either
way.' Alyssa went shopping the other day and was showing
Rose what she bought and was saying 'Isn't it cute?' and
Rose was like 'Where did you get this stuff? I'm going to
have get that' and they were talking about total girly
stuff. I didn't even turn around and Rose was like 'Holly,
don't you wanna see?' And I just said "No, I don't care!"
GF: Do you think your life is
Not so glamorous (laughs). I pick up
dog doo on my weekends. The premieres are glamorous I guess,
like the one I'll be going to for Ocean's 11. I'm going to
definitely be starry eyed when I go to that. It is Brad Pitt
and George Clooney afterall so nobody is immuned to them.
George is charisma in a bottle and I'll be starstruck like
GF: You girls have to spend so much
time together. Are you like sisters?
Definitely - we're very close.
GF: What do you talk about while you're
waiting to go and do a scene?
All kinds of stuff. If you could only
hear the random conversation we have together. Rose came in
the other day and she said to Alyssa 'Do you ever get
popcorn down your boobs when you're at the movies? And
Alyssa just screamed'Yes!' And I was like 'No.' They both
looked at me and were like 'right' because I obviously don't
have that problem (laughs).
GF: You work from 6pm until about
8pm five nights a week. When do you get a chance to learn
The first year I was doing
this, I would read the script about five times and then I'd
rehearse it two nights beforehand. The second season I would
look at it the night before and do rehearsals and the third
season I would just look at it the night before. And now, I
read it the morning I come in (laughs). Sometimes I'll get
here and see that I've got a lot to say and I'm kind of like
'Uh-oh there's a LOT today.' But I've trained my mind to
become better at memorising things and I work better under
pressure. I used to be amazed at Shannen on set.
Because she was so incredible.
She could look at it in rehearsal, right before the scene
and she was able to learn it. She has a photographic memory.
I'm trying to get like that. I think I'm definitely getting
better at it as the years go on.
GF: It's a pretty vigorous show.
Do you do your own stunts?
I'm asking for my stunt double
a lot more this year because I'm always saying 'I'm too old
for this, someone get me that stunt double!' There were a
few episodes last year where I kept on getting hit in the
face and you have to do a whiplash movement every time
someone goes to hit you. So I begged to be hit somewhere
else besides my face because I kept getting whiplash. In
that way, it can be exhausting but it's a fun show to do.
GF: Have you had any interesting
fan encounters when you're out or do you try and stay pretty
low key on the weekends?
Well, the first year of the
show people didn't recognise me unless I got all gussied up
like this (referring to having her "television face" of full
make-up and wearing designer clothes) but now they recognise
me no matter how hideous I look which can be very
unfortunate! The other day I went to a Home Depot store and
the sales guy told me I looked a lot like one of the girls
from Charmed. But then he said 'No, no, you couldn't be her
because she's much taller than you.' I thought that was very
GF: Who did you learn your coping
In the first couple of years,
Shannen, Alyssa and I would go out a lot together and I just
watched how they handled it when someone came up to them or
approached them and they handled it so well that I learnt
from them. They're pros.
GF: Rose said she likes to have a
lot of input into her character. Are you the same?
I try to be responsible and
keep that in mind with my character whenever we cover
sensitive issues like stuff about weight or dieting. I'm
also careful about the way I dress, the way my make-up is
done and how I'm perceived. When we do stuff about suicide
or something we want to make sure it's done in a way that
won't give anyone the wrong impression because it's
important to me. A lot of people don't ask to be role models
but if you become one then I think you have to take that
responsibility and go with it.
GF: Do you think you're a good
(laughs) I remember Shannen
and I made a point of reading as much as we could on the
subject so that we could imitate and not offend anyone. But
it's almost impossible not to offend anyone 'cause some
Wicans think we're not accurate enough and then there are
others who think we're too accurate and that we're spreading
random magical spells.
GF: What were you like as a
I was a pretty normal teenager
because I only worked about once or twice a year and then I
would go back to school. I had the best of both worlds
because I had the tutors and then I had the normal high
school. I was a little bit of a rebel at school. I had a
little trouble adjusting, you could say. But it goes to show
you that teenagers who grow up being rebellious can grow up
and be normal like me (laughs).
GF : So apart from picking up dog
doo-doo and going to premieres, what else do you like to do
in your spare time?
My mum is only 15 years older
than me. She's very young and we're incredibly close so I
like to spend time with my mum.
GF: What is that you like most
about being part of Charmed?
There is nothing we don't do
in a single episode. We make people laugh, we make them cry,
we make them scared - everything. And I only have to look
inside this trunk (of fan mail) here to know how much people
love the show. What could be better than that?