Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clair Huxtable Is a Shadow of Her Former Self

A svelte Phylicia Rashad on the red carpet at the Ziegfeld Theater for the world premiere of her latest film, "Just Wright." Photo by Elisabeth Trydal Andersen.

BACK in the ‘80s just about every female I knew wanted to be a mother like Clair Huxtable, and everybody wanted a mother like CH.

Phylicia Rashad will always be the character that made her a superstar on the uber successful “The Cosby Show.” Regardless of any other TV show. Or Broadway play or Tony or Tony award nomination. Or movie role such as the one she plays in “Just Wright” as baskebetball player Common’s protective mother.

Of course, she’s Phylicia: beautiful, bold, brilliant and a belle who was raised right, which Yours Truly has witnessed. It happened during the after-after party at the gorgeous Gramercy digs of George C. Wolfe. This is the night of the Broadway opening of the all-black version of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in which she starred as “Big Momma” opposite James Earl Jones’ “Big Daddy.” It’s nearing 4 a.m., and the fabulous party is now winding down. There I am chatting to a knot of people when I look up to see Herself cleaning and clearing the table. After a hard night’s work she is not too high in the instep to do some basic chores.

That image is emblazoned in my psyche. PR will always have my great admiration for that lone, telling act. This is who I believe PR is in large part, just as she is a wonderful actress who transforms herself in every role, including as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.

In our little tête-à-tête on the red carpet last night before the world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater (See “The First Time Out, Burning Up the Red Carpet” above) of “Just Wright,” also starring Queen Latifah, Paula Patton (“Precious”) and James Pickens, Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy), we do not talk what she is wearing – “Clothes,” she replies in double-quick fashion to at least two questioners within earshot. No, we discuss how she came to be feeling as good as she is looking - with her skinny self.

Why did you decide to do Jenny Craig?
Oh. I needed to do that. I had gotten overweight and was feeling guilty … I walked up three flights of stairs that I was accustomed to walking up. But when I got to the top of them one day I couldn’t breathe. And I had done enough work with the National Diabetes Association and other health care companies to know that walking up three flights of stairs and not being able to breathe is not a good thing.

How much have you lost?
40 [pounds].

How much more do you want to lose?
I think I’m OK.

Tell me what you’re eating now that you weren’t eating before that’s helping?
I don’t know … I’m eating the same foods that I ate; I’m eating them differently.

How so?
I watch the portion size. I count the calories. And I monitor the number of times and instances throughout the day in which I eat and, I get lots of sleep.

What is your exercise regimen right now?
Well, I like the recumbent bike. I’m very fond of the recumbent bike. You can ride that bike and get that good cardio workout without stretching your organs by sitting on top of your legs like that. So I like that. And I like doing a little big of weightlifting. Not a lot, just enough to keep your arms firm ... I love sitting in the sauna.
Thank you.

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VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
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