|The September 1999
issue of Bikini's US edition carried a feature titled 'The Super 8 Show Girls'
about the "hottest unsung babes on TV." Charmed's
Holly Marie Combs was one of those featured.
THE SUPER 8
TV is huge. It's giant. It's the nipple at which we all nurse. We
love it for its sublime and stupid glory. Hell, without a TV, would most of us even
bother coming home? Probably not. But luckily we do. So here they are,
the Show Girls that keep bringing us back. Not the usual suspects, not the biggest
stars, but eight ladies with the right combination of beauty, brains and (definitely)
senses of humour, to keep us from straying too far from the electronic hearth.
She may not be Charmed's biggest star, but Holly Marie
Combs just might be its best.
"I'm the least 'babe' of the babes,"
Holly says of her status alongside her Charmed co-stars, Shannen
Doherty and Alyssa Milano. "I'm not like vavoom! Walk down the
hall and everybody turns their head. I don't need to be in the skimpy outfits with
the push-up bras all the time."
"Oh yeah, the push-up bra became the big
issue. Next to Shannen and Alyssa I look positively deprived, so they had me in one
of those. I wore it for a while, but then finally I was like, this is
Holly Marie Combs is dressed in sandals,
sweatpants and a T-shirt. She has just lit a cigarette, something she only does when
she's nervous and she's nervous about how she'll come off in print. She should save
it; she's a charmer. She has this cute-as-your-buddy's-kid-sister look that's
immediately apparent. Then, as you sit with her, there are glimpses of something
smouldering under the surface.
Maybe it's because her mother was only 15 when
she had Holly Marie. They lived near the beach in San Diego, but moved to New York
when the future actress was eight.
"We lived in a little box of an
apartment," Holly recals, "me, my mom, my stepfather, and a huge Siberian
Husky. I was the angriest little person imaginable. I woke up with a frown
every morning. I barely talked, wore black all the time, and had some serious
teenage rebellion years."
But, she explains, the rebellion failed.
"My parents were both musicians," she
says, "which made it impossible. When I was 16, I got some tattoos (a braid on
each wrist and a rose on her shoulder), and my stepfather said, 'Oh, I want one like
Five years of emotionally charged acting -
beginning with a part on Picket Fences that was rewritten for her - and a short-lived
marriage cooled much of Holly's ire, though. On this day, she's enjoying the
temporary unemployment of the Charmed hiatus. She has just come from
horseback riding, is looking forward to reuniting with the puppy Alyssa Milano's mother
just gave her, and is recently engaged to a second-grade teacher from Venice Beach.
As Combs watches the smoke coil off her
cigarette, she looks positively languid. Until, that is, the conversation drifts to Reason
to Believe, a little-known independent feature with a brief love scene that turned
her into an Internet pin-up girl.
"Lauren Holly [of Picket Fences]
asked me to do a part in it with her husband Danny Quinn," Holly explains.
"I hadn't read the script, but I flew to Ohio during a break from Picket Fences.
All I went off was what Lauren had told me. She was like, 'It's a great monologue,
but I'm just a little nervous because you might have to kiss Danny.'
"I never thought that this one shot of me
taking my shirt off could be freeze-framed into 15 different pictures. All you had
to do was search for my name and the first thing that came up was 'Holly Marie gets
Fortunately for Holly, Milano's mother had some
experience in getting porn off the Internet and by threatening a law suit, got the photos
"I was really lucky my pictures weren't
getting 1,000 hits a day," Holly says. "The guys who posted it were like,
'Yeah, we'll take them down no problem.'
"I guess that's the good part of being an
"Yeah, an underdog. I like that."
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