Minka Kelly is the thinking man’s idea of a sexy woman. She’s brainy, athletic, practical, down to earth, she can act and she’s also Esquire magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive.
Kelly recently starred in the hit television show “Friday Night Lights,” about a Texas high school football team. She played a cheerleader and love interest of star Scott Porter, who played the team’s quarterback.
While the show never built a huge audience, it has been hailed by critics for its realistic portrayal of Middle America and the exploration of its central characters.
The show was Kelly’s first big break. She mainly worked as a surgical nurse before her acting career took off.
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But she has showbiz roots.
She is the only child of former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay and the late Maureen Kelly, a former Vegas showgirl.
Dufay abandoned her and her mother, but she reconciled with him at 17 and moved to Los Angeles with him to work on an acting career.
Here are some excerpts from her Esquire interview.
On turning 30 this year: “Done with the twenties. I’m confident — confident in my skin, and I’m cool with my flaws and all that stuff. It just feels nice to be at peace with yourself. I think my thirtieth birthday gave me permission to have all that. The twenties were a pain in the ass — figuring it all out. What am I doing? Where do I go?”
On Experience: “No matter what you’re doing, live it. Make an experience. Have fun. Relate to someone. Take them in. Learn. Right? Or else you’re wasting your time. And time is precious. I didn’t go to theater school. I didn’t go to Julliard. But I’ve lived a lot. I’ve seen a lot. I feel like that makes up for a little bit. I’ve lived a lot at my young age.”
Her mother: “She — for most of my life, she was a dancer. An exotic dancer. She was a stripper. Um, so she would come home at like three, four o’clock in the morning, and sometimes she would have a really great night, and so she would wake me up in the middle of the night and we’d go to Ralphs and go grocery shopping. And that was so much fun.
We’d have the whole grocery store to ourselves, and we would have a blast and buy a hundred dollars in groceries. And it was just the best day ever. The best day.”
Her father: “That’s what my dad is for me. ‘Dad, am I gettin’ a little out of order?’ ‘Yes, Mink, you’re out of order.’ He never judges me for any mistake I make, he just tells me when I’m making it. And I trust him. I thank him on a daily basis. I know how lucky I am. I see too many people that don’t have that and my heart breaks for them.”
Her Ideal night: “My ideal night is dinner at home and a movie, glass of wine. Every time I’m in my sweats and I get my blanket and my pillows and I’m on the couch about to watch a movie, I find myself saying, This is the life.”
“I know when I’m cooking for someone I love, I put my heart into it, and there’s passion that goes into it, and then you’re watching them take each bite. But what you can’t do is ruin it by saying, Oh, it was supposed to be like this, it’s not perfect — you ruin it.”
On Success: “Anyone can struggle. Anyone can want to make it and try to make it and scrape the door down and hustle. But once you become a little bit successful, that’s more challenging to handle than struggle.”
On Music: “I love, love live music. I love the Hollywood Bowl, I love tiny little clubs — I just love live music. Friday Night Lights was filmed entirely in Austin, and there were some bands that I discovered in Austin at live shows, and then I got their CDs and they weren’t as good. And I’d tell my friends, ‘But you gotta see them live!'”
On money: “What happened to Levi’s for 60 bucks? Five-hundred dollars is too much to pay for jeans. I think 230 should be the max. But I remember when like Paper Denim & Cloth came out and jeans were one-, two-hundred bucks, and it was like, What?”
To read more about Minka check out Esquire online and their Nov. issue.