Photos By Tommy Garcia
It would be very hard to find a celebrity who has inspired more crushes than Jennifer Love Hewitt. Her ability to draw universal fondness isn’t surprising. The astounding thing is how long she has maintained it.
If you were alive in the 90s you probably had a crush on her. It’s that simple. It was impossible not to. She was everything anyone would ever want from an infatuation. She was sexy, talented and always came across as genuine.
Nostalgia is all about looking back on your past and longing for the things you once held dearest. First crushes are almost always a big part of most people’s fondest adolescent memories. Most of our original loves are usually celebrities for whatever reason. The dream of dating our favorite pop star or Hollywood personality might be tied to the whimsy we all have in our youth. Being a kid is all about believing anything is possible and attainable.
My teenage years and early 20s were spent in the 1990s. Like the bulk of kids in that era I had a love of all things Michael Jordan and worshipped the Hip Hop stars of that time. I also had my fair share of celebrity crushes. When I look back on the majority they are a little cheesy and embarrassing. A lot of our favorite things from childhood don’t always stand the test of time and crushes may be the best example of that.
One of my early crushes was Jennifer Love Hewitt and I definitely feel no sense of shame when I admit that. She has been able to maintain a relevance that very few actresses can duplicate. That is quite remarkable when you consider she has been acting for over 20 years. Getting to interview her was obviously a thrill for me and she completely lived up to my expectations. She is quite possibly hotter now than ever before and is just as easy going as her public persona would have led you to believe.
Hewitt is one of those rare celebrities that you kind of feel like you know. A lot of that familiarity could be tied to the amount of exposure she has received over the years. This is very far from being her first magazine appearance. “I have no idea [how many magazines I’ve been in], probably hundreds at this point,” Love says overwhelmingly. Despite that insane amount of exposure, she still really enjoys doing these types of things. “Work gets tiring but I like the photo-shoot stuff. You get to play supermodel for a minute, which is nice.”
The popular actress does try her very best to elude one part of her celebrity, that very uncomfortable task of looking herself up on the internet. “I try not to pay attention to that stuff anymore. I Googled myself once and I will never do it again! I’m good. I Google other people but not myself,” Hewitt admits with a laugh.
Jennifer’s unusually rare middle name was given to her as a tribute of sorts. “I was named after my mom’s best friend in college. She loved her friend obviously. The real Love was 6 feet tall, super long blonde hair and was gorgeous. I’m short with brown hair. I came out a little different,” Jennifer expresses with self-deprecation.
From an early age the successful actress was interested in performing but acting wasn’t apart of her initial plans. “It happened by accident. I came out here (Los Angeles) to meet with record companies when I was 10 years old. This was before Hanson and all those other really young performers so they had no idea what to do with a 10 year old in the recording industry.” Her first taste of acting happened when she was cast on a very popular 80s/90s kids program. “I got an audition, along with hundreds of other girls, for a show called Kids Incorporated on the Disney Channel. It involved singing so that’s why I auditioned. I was a horrible actor at the time. I learned my way through it and it kept spiraling.” Love tried to balance a music and acting career for a while but eventually one would command too much of her attention. “I did them both for a long time but the acting thing just got busier. I just sort of stuck with it more than singing.”
Despite that strong passion for music, she is extremely appreciative for the way things turned out. “I’m grateful that one is bigger than the other. The singing stays something I do because I love it. It’s not something I have to do 18 hours a day like acting is. Singing is more about me being myself. I’m putting myself out there differently. It’s a less secure place to be. Acting is all about being someone else. It’s a safer feeling for me,” she says.
Like most of her male fans, I can remember first becoming infatuated with Love when she was on the 90’s hit drama, Part of Five. The show helped her become a star and the sex symbol she is today. She turned her television success into a string of popular films released in the decade. She starred in the horror flick I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel during that era. “I loved doing the I Know What You Did Last Summer films. Getting to do all that scary stuff was fun. I enjoyed it.”
My favorite film of hers is definitely the high school comedy Can’t Hardly Wait. I always felt that picture best captured the reason why so many guys are wild about her. She was able to balance her tremendous sex appeal with that girl next door feel that makes her so irresistible. The project also showcased what an underrated and talented actress she truly is. I always hoped for a sequel to the 1998 classic, but Love feels that may be difficult to pull off. “I would definitely do a sequel. We would have to be well into our last years of college at this point. I don’t think we could do high school again,” she says laughing. “I would always be up for that stuff. I’ve had a good time in the (movies) I’ve been in.”
In 2001 she starred in the comedy film Heartbreakers. The movie gave her the chance to work with some legendary actors. Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta and Gene Hackman appeared with Hewitt in the project. The actress feels the farce helped her to mature as a woman in some ways. She portrayed a more overtly sexual character than she had ever played prior. “The director [of Heartbreakers] had to teach me sexuality for the first time. It was pretty funny coming from a male director.”
That experience on Heartbreakers may have helped prepare her for her current job. Jennifer’s role on the television drama, The Client List, definitely surpasses Heartbreakers in the sexuality department. She plays Riley, who is a single mother living in Texas (Hewitt is originally from the state). The character is forced to work in a massage parlor to care for her family. Love feels a very strong connection with her alter ego on the program. A stronger connection than she has ever felt for a part. “Riley is probably the closest to who I am as an actual person. Obviously not the happy ending massage part of it. But, she is very similar to my mom. I’m the Texas girl I’ve always been and we have that in common. She is really the closest to me.”
The Client List has allowed the capable actress to expand on the “good girl” character she has so often played in the past. “It’s been fun to do the sexier stuff. It’s a safe place to do it because there is a reason for it. Sometimes we are asked to do things as actresses, or chose to do things as actresses that are just to change up our image. This is not that. There is a big reason why those sexy things happen on the show. I’m not trying to prove anything or change my image,” she states proudly.
The star feels a lot more relaxed doing a role like this now that she is grown-up and has a lot of life experience behind her. Riley is definitely one of the most “adult” characters she has gotten to play thus far in her career. “I’m obviously a lot older than if this role would of come up in my early 20s. I feel safer doing it now. It doesn’t feel risqué or weird doing it at this age.” There are some parts of the job she wishes she could have done when she was younger however. “I would have been more comfortable in the lingerie 10 years ago,” she reflects with amusement. “But the sexuality, not as comfortable.”
Love definitely seems to be evolving as an actress and artist. She has a long list of projects she is working on beyond The Client List. “I have lots of stuff I’m producing with my production company. We are working on a few television series and TV movies.” That role behind the camera is something she wants to expand with her directing career. “Everything I learned about directing I learned from acting. It’s a little different than acting…but not crazy different.”
Despite all the success she is enjoying in the present. There is a part of her that misses the past. Like all of us, she often romanticizes her youth. “I feel lucky that I got to come up in the 90s. The 90s were awesome. I was apart of a fun group of people that came up in that time. It was before all the crazy paparazzi stuff. It felt safer to get known in 90s. It was more about your work and the projects you had. There was an innocence to all of it then. I’m nostalgic for what the business was in that era.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt has definitely made a place for herself as one of the all-time great crushes. The most special part of her status is that it was earned with a lot more than a pretty face and incredible body. She has consistently worked in the fickle world of Hollywood for over two decades. That is no easy accomplishment for any actress. It’s something you simply can’t accomplish on the physical alone. Love is not afraid to take chances and continues to push herself to try new endeavors and take on different skill sets. It’s impossible not to root for her. When you mix all of that accomplishment, with her earnest sweetness, it’s very easy to grasp why she has stood out over the years.
When I asked her if she understood her place in pop culture as an all-time crush, she gave the most Jennifer Love Hewitt-esque response I could hope for. “I appreciate it. I don’t quite understand it,” she says with a smile. “But, I definitely appreciate it.