may be a talk-TV darling, but between standing in Regis
' shadow and her dad's "Keep Kelly Humble" program, she's sure to stay a New Jersey girl at heart. Hollywood.com's Sandy Kenyon gets to know Ripa in our exclusive phone interview.
Sandy Kenyon: In the first week [on Live with Regis
and Kelly, was there a moment where you thought, "Oh my goodness! What am I doing here," or is it coming naturally now?
: It came a lot more naturally to me before I had the job because you don't have anything at stake, and there's nothing to lose. Once I got the job, and it was mine, then everyday I began thinking, "How did this happen to me? What am I doing here? I don't deserve this. I don't belong. I am out of my league."
The first couple of weeks had a lot of media focus and a lot of waiting for those immediate reviews to come in. It was very nerve-wracking. Now that I have settled in I've calmed down, and have realized that I am supposed to do what I did initially. Which is go out there and tell people about what I did the night before and, hopefully, people will be able to relate and, hopefully, I will amuse somebody in the process. Maybe make them laugh a little bit.
Kenyon: What has been the reaction from the public?
Ripa: I have been so fortunate. Everybody has been wonderful to me, and very positive. Of course, I really don't know many people that would come up to me and shout out in my face how awful I am. Mercifully, you don't really bump into those people on the streets all that often. For the most part I am pretty much unrecognizable. The blessing of working with Regis
[is that] he is so huge and so recognizable that in comparison, you are not going to be as noticed. I am getting all of this attention because I am working with him; I realize that. But for the most part, as long as I am standing next to Regis
, most people are looking at him.
Kenyon: I understand that your dad has a "Keep Kelly Humble" program he's got going on. Tell us about that.
Ripa: He certainly does. It involves all things human. His big thing is having me scrub out the trash cans for the 4th of July picnic (my parents are famous for their 4th of July parties). Everybody gathers on our lawn, and my parents cook for the neighborhood. Ever since I've had a job on TV, it's been my job to scrub the trash receptacles so he can put ice, beer, and soda in. It's become my husband's job to mow the grass. So my father is very much unimpressed by this, and he expects me to remain unimpressed forever.
Kenyon: But he is very proud.
Ripa: He is proud. But he would be just as proud if. I am his daughter; it doesn't matter what I do for a living. He would still be proud.
Kenyon: Just have a little time left. Tell us about the Jersey connection: why are you a Jersey gal, and where in Jersey are you from?
Ripa: I was born and raised in Berlin, NJ, which is southern, near Philadelphia. Now I live north. Well, actually, we just recently got an apartment in the city, as of last week. So it's our first week back in Manhattan. But now I am up in northern New Jersey, in Bergen County. So we're living on both sides of the George Washington Bridge. But I love New Jersey; it's where I'm from. It's where I was born and raised, and I am just an East Coast girl. That's part of the reason I've never gone out to the West Coast. Part of the reason I've never. As an actress, it's very rare not go out to California and try your luck. But I knew that's not where my life would take me. I knew I always wanted to stay local, because that's where I am comfortable. And that's where I feel like I am home.
Kenyon: Thanks so much. That concludes our interview