Tiffani Thiessen on Fashion, Motherhood, and More

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On White Collar, Tiffani Thiessen plays a career-oriented event planner married to an FBI agent. In real life, the former Saved by the Bell actress has been busy, busy, busy, living an eco-friendly lifestyle, raising 3-year-old daughter Harper, and hitting the streets of New York for Fashion Week 2013, where we caught up with Thiessen to talk style trends (of course!), motherhood, and more.

SHAPE: Tell us a little bit about your involvement with Eight O'Clock Coffee, The Red Bag Collection, and Dress for Success. Why is this a cause so important to you?
Tiffani Thiessen (TT): I come from a long line of strong women, and I consider myself a strong woman and am hoping to raise a daughter the same way. I've worked with Dress for Success a couple of times, and I love it because they have a history of helping to really empower women. As a huge coffee-lover, when I heard they were partnering with Eight O'Clock coffee, I had to jump on it. Right now they're working together to debut the Red Bag Collection, which is a series of designer red bags that are going to be auctioned off until September 21 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Dress for Success.

SHAPE: You've been in this industry a long time. Have you ever had any body image insecurities? How have you overcome them?
TT: I think every woman, no matter what size you are or what you look like, has had those moments, but as I've gotten older, I've sort of put them in check. My daughter sort of created that. I don't want her to see her mom suffering from insecurities. It's not that I wasn't a strong woman before, but I don't want her to grow up worrying about her body or being insecure, so she's sort of encouraged me to be even stronger.

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SHAPE: What's the one thing you would want your daughter to know as she grows up in the spotlight?
TT: That through it all, it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks. How you feel about yourself is what you exude to the world anyway. I know society can be difficult, especially for a girl, but I want her to know that deep down, she's beautiful. My mom always said that people talk about being beautiful on the outside, but that it's what's on the inside that's most important.

SHAPE: Since we're wrapping up Fashion Week, how would you say your personal style has changed over the years?
TT: I think my style is kind of classic. It's not that I don't embrace the trends, but I'm not that trendy. I would say one big change I've made is that I wear more color. I think having a kid in my life, especially a girl who loves color, has pushed me into living a more colorful life in general, and it's encouraged me to try new things.

SHAPE: Are there any times you've looked back at photos and thought, "What was I wearing!?"
TT: So many times! Probably the entire '80s. I have no idea why everyone's trying to bring them back!

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SHAPE: You try to live a very environmentally conscious life. What kind of practical, everyday tips could you give our readers who want to become more green?
TT: I can tell you some of the things we do at home. We recycle like crazy, obviously, so that's something. We grow our own veggies, and they're so much better when they're grown in your own yard. Another really easy thing you can do is take your own reusable bags to the grocery store. Limiting your paper or plastic products is a great way to be more green. We also harvest our own water, but I know that's a lot easier to do in California than it is in other places.

SHAPE: Tell us a little bit about your role as Elizabeth on White Collar. You and Tim Dekay are so great together—what's next for your characters?
TT: Thank you! Tim is so great. Everybody is, really. Willie Garson [who plays Mozzie] got to direct an episode, and that was a lot of fun—people respond really well to him and his character and his relationship with Elizabeth. I can't say too much, but I can say we're getting a couple of new characters on the show next season.

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