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Jennie Garth’s Balancing Act

The 90210 star talks about her healthy lifestyle, volunteering, and parenting a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
By Kim Caviness
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Jennie Garth, now that you’re returning to 90210, what’s been the biggest challenge for your character and for you personally in playing Kelly Taylor as a mom? 

I sometimes have to remind myself right before the director calls action, to remember to be grown up. It's a balance of being energetic and responsible...all in one. She has to have that Kelly Taylor spark in her eye.

What’s it been like to grow up before the camera in Hollywood?

As an actress I get to portray different characters at different stages of their lives. As I mature, my characters mature, and quite honestly they are a lot more fun now -- because they have a lot more depth.

What’s your best advice to women who fear the natural process of time?

Ladies, for real, at 36, I feel more beautiful than ever. Enjoy life, live healthy, and take care of yourself.

Your 90210 character Kelly Taylor notoriously abused diet pills to slim down. How do youpersonally stay in shape over the years?

My weight has gone up and down over the course of my three pregnancies. It's natural. I have several different sizes in my closet, just in case. Just staying active and playing a lot outdoors really helps. I love to ride my horses, do yoga and ride the elliptical trainer here and there to keep up my healthy heart.

How do you to help your three daughters -- Luca, 11, Lola, 5, and Fiona, 2 -- feel good about themselves and their bodies in today’s image-obsessed culture?

It's a challenge. I have one daughter who is really into soccer and sports, she stays lean no matter what she eats, and doesn't really think a thought about her weight. I have another who already says her tummy is fluffy (we don't use the word fat in our house when talking about our bodies, or other peoples bodies). I tell her she is exactly the way she is supposed to be, and that she is beautiful. I make sure that they eat healthy and balanced and get adequate exercise.

Your daughter Lola was recently diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. What were her symptoms and what treatments are you pursuing?

Our 5-year-old was just not herself. At first she would fatigue easily and wanted to be carried everywhere. At times she complained that her knees hurt, or her fingers, or her elbows. My husband and I just chalked it up to growing pains, and her fussiness as a typical, needy 5-year-old. Then she started to get rashes while in the bathtub. But when they went away, again we didn't think much of it.

Shortly after, she started getting high fevers that [kept coming back]. This persisted for nearly five weeks during which her lethargy continued, accompanied by the rash which came back over most of her body.

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