BEL AIR —Actress, host Rachel Reenstra is a household name to regular viewers of television. However, the beautiful Hollywood star is a lot more than just a pretty face. This week Canyon News caught up with the busy lady and asked her about her career and a charity that is close to her heart. Being a comedian is part of her repertoire as well, so do expect her to be funny. The new-age media maven talks about everything that is important to her and to others. She even teaches us how to give easily to the efforts to save lives in Haiti.
Q-Could you tell us about letsdosomethingnew.com?
A-“Letsdosomethingnew.com was an idea I came up with last year. After hosting two national TV shows and feeling frustrated that I had no control over content, I asked myself what would be something that I would love to host? What content would inspire people to enjoy life? What would allow people to create an adventure for themselves every day without having to spend a lot of money or time? This will be a combination of the two national shows I already hosted “Ms. Adventure” on Animal Planet and “Designed to Sell” on HGTV. This will be a life makeover show; how to design your life with adventure. This new project is a place people can go everyday to see the new things they can try in their life. I’ll try ONE new thing a day for the entire year and share it with a 3-5 minute entertaining video.”
“Why not show people how easy it is to try one NEW thing a day? This way I could also do something new everyday and share it with the world, without worrying if the network approved of what I said or how I said it. I can make it funny, interesting and interactive, so people can go to my Web site and comment on the new things they tried, and also give me suggestions for any new things they want to see me do. It brings joy to my life and I get to share fun and innovative ideas to enrich others lives, just by trying something new!”
Q-Your TV work is prolific. What is your favorite role or show that you’ve done so far? And why?
A-“I have done Sitcoms, commercials, infomercials, voice-overs and hosting, yet to this day the favorite thing I have ever done was ‘Ms. Adventure.’ I got to travel the world and compare animal behavior to human behavior. Not only could I use my comic skills, but the places and things I got to see changed my life. I repelled into bat caves, snorkeled in the great barrier reef, fed kangaroos, rode elephants and camels and even had wild baboons climb all over me in South Africa. I had a close-up look at natures wonders. I have seen some animals I thought could only be made-up in fairy tales. There are just so many creatures that I had no clue even existed, and to see the intelligence of animals and how they survive was awe inspiring. I love being an actress and a host, but mostly because if you can get lucky enough to get a gig that will expose you to wonders all over the world, your eyes open to how magnificent life is and how lucky we are to be a part of this planet. I feel blessed that I got the chance, and even got paid, to experience the amazing world outside of Hollywood.”
Q-I enjoyed you on HGTV’s “Design to Sell.” Are you naturally creative or did you take courses to learn design and interior decorating?
A-“I have no clue about decorating, Tommy. In fact, if you ever see my place, you will see my taste has not changed much since college. I love lava lamps, bean bags, candles, hanging beads, bright colors and twinkly lights. Think Austin Powers meets WHOville. I would be a “Design to Sell” disaster. I was hired as a host for the show because the network saw me on Animal Planet and loved my sense of humor. They wanted to bring funny to a design show. Ironically, when I was hired, and turned me into the typical, no personality, cookie cutter host that always asks the same questions and is never allowed an opinion. That is HGTV. They were afraid to explore something different. I did 39 episodes and then I chose to leave. I realized that being on TV was not as important as being able to be myself and not compromise my entertainment skills.”
Q-You’ve also done stand-up comedy. Is that as scary for you as it has been for me?
A-“Stand-up comedy is probably the scariest thing anyone can do. They say the number one fear (over dying), is speaking in public. I love it and I am not afraid of speaking in public, but what does scare me is doing stand-up in L.A., where there are 30 comics that perform a night and most of them are terrible and you have to wait four hours to go on for five minutes and by that time most of the people have left the building. That part terrifies me. I now do stand-up all over the country, but try to avoid Los Angeles.”
Q-What actor or actress have you not worked with that you’d love to have the opportunity to do so?
A-“Oh this is easy. I want to work with Ricky Gervais because he is brilliant and exactly my sense of humor. I want to work with Eddie Izzard because he is also one of the most intelligent, funny and talented performers alive. I want to work with Larry David because “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is one of the best shows on television. I want to be on Stephen Cobert and Howard Stern because I do not go a day without beginning with Howard and ending with Steven. And when I say be on them I mean be on them. Physically.”
Q-You’ve become involved in the fund raising efforts for Haiti’s rebuilding and humanitarian needs. How can people help?
A-“My site letsdosomethingnew.com is very much about many ways to give. In fact, I dedicated one of my ”˜New Things To Do’ on the site to Haiti. I made a funny video about how easy it is to text HAITI to 90-999. Everyone texts. In fact I am texting right now while I am doing this interview so truly there is no excuse not to give 10 bucks with one text that takes four seconds. You can always tell people to give but that takes effort, and although people feel bad for the people in Haiti, writing a check to The Red Cross is something most people won’t take the time to do. I like to let people know the easiest way, so we can ensure more people give. Another way to give is through iTunes. If you love music like me you can simply go to iTunes and give that way. Just Google iTunes Haiti. You will see the link that allows you to choose one button to click to give through your iTunes. One hundred percent of the money will go to The Red Cross. Then download Ricky Gervais’s podcast. It’s four bucks and is one of the funniest things I have listened to. Give to the Red Cross and then reward yourself with some laughs. Giving should always be this easy and fun. That way more people will do it.”
Running into Rachel at a New Year’s Eve party was a real highlight.
Photographs Courtesy: Rachel Reenstra