Besides her regular gig on The Daily Show, Olivia Munn is costarring in the comedy I Don't Know How She Does It with Sarah Jessica Parker and is set to appear in Aaron Sorkin's highly anticipated HBO series, More as This Story Develops. Funny (and perfectly self-deprecating), Olivia cracks wise on diets, exercise, and-yes-the ex.

SHAPE: You grew up all over the world, including Japan. What was that like?

OLIVIA: My stepfather was in the Air Force. I was constantly the new girl, which was really hard because people weren't welcoming to me. Walking into a cafeteria was literally like going onto a battle- field. "Oh crap, oh crap, where am I going to sit?" For most of junior year in high school, I had lunch with the 70-year-old librarian!

SHAPE: So sad! But aren't a lot of comics essentially tragic clowns, smiling on the outside, crying on the inside?

OLIVIA: That's right. I'm actually sitting in a dark closet sobbing as we speak.

SHAPE: [laughs]

OLIVIA: I'm so glad you find this amusing; it makes me feel better knowing that my pain is helping you. But all jokes aside, you do have to find a way to laugh through pain. The reason those "poor me" jokes work is that they have a grain of truth.

SHAPE: Okay, let's talk about something else that's painful. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month-a subject we hear is close to your heart.

OLIVIA: It is. I was only 12 years old when my grandmother found out she had breast cancer. I remember thinking it was a death sentence. But she had a mastectomy and survived-and lived many wonderful years longer. She taught me that we fight to live and feel and love, and that you can't let one experience define your existence.

SHAPE: What do you do today to stay healthy, in terms of the disease?

OLIVIA: I perform a self-exam every month. If you don't keep an eye on your body and its changes, how can you expect a doctor to do it once or twice a year? Take care of your body: It's the one thing that will be with you on this entire journey, from beginning to end.

SHAPE: You obviously take amazing care of yours, which is why you got those sexy modeling jobs. Were you ever afraid you'd be pigeonholed as just a pretty face with a smokin' bod?

OLIVIA: Not at all. The idea that women can't be sexy and smart is so antiquated. Don't get me wrong-I'm proud of those other covers. But doing SHAPE...I'm going to get a little emotional a huge deal to me because it speaks to so many women.

SHAPE: So you really are female- friendly, huh?

OLIVIA: Yes, it may surprise you to know that most of my close friends are women. I don't trust a girl who says she has a hard time being friends with other women. She's the person who will steal your boyfriend.

SHAPE: So if you're not hatching plans to steal one another's boyfriends, what are you and your besties doing together?

OLIVIA: We make up funny dances about guys. I came up with dance aerobic routines that we do a few times a week to a 45-minute playlist. They have funny names like the One-Night-Stand and the Ex-Boyfriend. We all have that ex with the stupid dance who we love to hate, right? Mine did the jumping-up-and-down-fist-pump- in-the-air-with-an-overexcited- smile-plastered-on-his-face dance. It's so much more fun than the alternative workouts my friends plan. They always ask me if I want to go for a hike. And I'm like, "No, why would I do that when I've got TiVo?"

SHAPE: Obviously your TV habit isn't making you pack on weight. In fact, we hear you lost 16 pounds in two months a couple of years ago. How did you do it?

OLIVIA: First, I made up a diet I called "If I can't see it, I don't eat it." For example, if you buy a roasted chicken at the store, it sounds healthy, right? But those brown juices in the pan are made of what? Sugar? Soy sauce? If I don't know for sure, it's not going in my mouth.

SHAPE: Good thing you weren't blind or you would've starved to death. What were you able to eat?

OLIVIA: A lot! I had a big breakfast, which was a glass of 100 percent grapefruit juice, four hard-boiled eggs, two sliced tomatoes, and a mango. Lunch and dinner were chicken salads I made myself or a veggie burger wrapped in lettuce. I also snacked all the time: peanuts, dried fruit, turkey bacon. As for beverages, I drank water, water, and more water.

SHAPE: Do you use a scale?

OLIVIA: Absolutely. I need to see the hard numbers in order to stay on track. I don't believe in the "jeans" test because it's easy to cheat-I have a pair that fits like sweatpants because I haven't washed them since 1998! God forbid I'd have to go through the pain of stretching them out again.