Not everyone may be happy with what’s going on with Naomi Clark on “90210,” but everyone has to love AnnaLynne McCord, the actress who plays her.
We recently spotlighted Catdance host AnnaLynne (BTW you can vote for your fave Catdance film until February 28!), so we caught up with the actress to learn more about her love for cats, giving back and “90210″ gossip.
Back before she became an actress, she wanted to be a veterinarian, and she shares some stories about helping animals during her childhood. She once had 12 pets at the same time!!! And she’s still all about animals! Case in point: adopting an 8-month-old cat, Beach, while doing a photo opt for the ASPCA. Animals have a special place in her heart, but she gives humans a helping hand as well by fighting human trafficking with the Somaly Mam Foundation. We even asked AnnaLynne if she could tell us what to expect next in “90210,” and don’t forget to check out her film “Excision,” which is now out on DVD.
Photo: AnnaLynne rocking her ASCPA cat hat! (Getty Images)
ACT: At Fresh Step’s Catdance, we saw your really cute hat that helps out ASPCA. What are other ways you can help out the org?
ANNALYNNE: Awareness is always key with any organization. ASPCA’s online store has lots of goodies, and there are ways to raise awareness at aspca.org. ASPCA on Twitter is a way to keep updated. Helping a shelter, volunteering.
ACT: Since there are so many different forms of activism to choose from, why is animal activism important to you?
ANNALYNNE: Before I was going to be an actress, I was going to be a veterinarian! [laughing] I thought I was one as a child. I was the kid who was like, “Daddy! I want a kitty! It needs a mommy!” [laughing] And my dad was such a sucker. Every time I would beg, with tears flying down my face, about how this animal needs love, needs a home. He would cave. I think at one point I had six cats, two dogs, four birds. Not pet birds. Birds whose nests fell from an area from our balcony when I was growing up. If the babies have the smell of a human, the mother won’t touch them. So I took them in and would feed them every day. The birds would go, “Caw! Caw!” every morning and open their beaks, so I’d feed them soggy bread. I just love animals.
ACT: Are there fellow animal rights activists that you admire?
ANNALYNNE: I don’t follow any particular person. All of my friends are animal people. To me, cats are people, too. Animals are people, too. I travel a lot and when I go overseas, it’s really hard on me because the animals are treated much differently, especially in developing countries. I don’t have a particular person as a role model, but I just have my cats.
ACT: Can you tell us about the cat you adopted at Catdance?
ANNALYNNE: So I’ve been waiting for her! She had to have her little surgery to get her fixed. The temperatures have been really cold in Utah, and they haven’t been able to fly. She was supposed to come today. But she’s amazing. It was love at first sight. I was literally doing a photo op with rescues to raise awareness for the ASPCA. I was doing it in Park City and I ended up picking her up. There were two cats and I picked her up first. She just instantly melted into me, snuggled into my sweater, purring, staring at me. Then she turned her head and laid it in the nook of my elbow. And I was like, “Oh God.” I started shaking my head. My representatives were like, “What? What?” It’s like, “Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.” And then I was like, “I’m going to adopt her!” The organization there was so excited and they started to work on the adoption process. There are pictures of me with my little baby online.
Photo: Awwww x’s 100! AnnaLynne with her new cat, Beach!!! (Mark Davis/Getty Images for Fresh Step)
ACT: We know you’re also really passionate about the Somaly Mam Foundation. Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve done with them?
ANNALYNNE: I actually go every year at Christmas (and I try to go a couple times throughout the year) over to Cambodia, to be with the girls and give Christmas presents, that kind of stuff. Again, like with any other organization, awareness is a huge part. In the five years I’ve been involved fighting human trafficking, I’ve seen a huge tipping point happen. Five years ago when I was talking to people, they’d say, “What do you mean, modern-day slavery?” Now everybody’s talking about it.
Honestly, I do whatever Somaly [founder of the org] asks me. If it’s fly to Cambodia and sing for 10,000 people — I can’t sing — I’m like, “Yes, of course I will!” [laughing] It actually happened. I was thinking it was going to be like a Christmas thing, like “Jingle Bells.” Somaly emailed me one year — I think it was Christmas of 2010 — and she was like, “Sister, can you sing at this concert we’re having in Cambodia for the girls?” I was like, “Of course!”
I got to Cambodia and I was like, “What do I do? Is this like a Christmas show?” She was like, “You know, it’s a song that the country knows, a pop song or something.” I was thinking, Maybe I could play the piano, maybe I could play a song. I really didn’t know the setting. She said, “Well, we’ll go do a soundcheck tomorrow.” I was like, “Soundcheck for a sing along?”
She took me to a stadium that was completely packed! It was being filmed live, and all the Cambodian pop stars were there [laughing]. And I had to sing, of all the songs in the world, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. It was Somaly’s idea. So what do I do for the Somaly Mam Foundation? I make a fool of myself to the umpteenth degree, whenever she wants. I do it. Now you know.
Photo: Friends Samaly Mam and AnnaLynne at a gala to for the Samaly Mam Foundation. (Getty Images)
ACT: “90210″ is back! What can we expect to see from Naomi this season?!
ANNALYNNE: I have to give some love to my fans, who are really angry. I am angry, too, but I’ve had some time to get over it. They just found out that Naomi and Max got divorced. I’m really sorry, guys! It wasn’t me! Blame it on the writers.
They really are trying to change up the storyline for Naomi a bit. When Liam and Naomi broke up, the fans were mad but they got over it. With Max and Naomi, fans are like, “This is not fair!”
The writers want to segue away from Naomi going from one guy to the next. She decides to go looking for her long lost brother. It calls back to the first season, when Naomi finds out that Annie’s dad had a little kid with Naomi’s mom back in high school. So she forces herself onto this brother and Naomi’s really just wanting family. That’s what up next.
ACT: It’s red carpet season and celebs are rocking fur. What one thing you would say to an actress friend who wants to rock fur on the carpet?
ANNALYNNE: First and foremost, I have a if-it-doesn’t-come-from-me-it-doesn’t-pertain-to-me attitude, because I don’t like people judging me. But if an actress asks me my opinion, I would tell her there are a million different designers who make faux fur. If you like that look, wear faux fur. If you’re doing it on the red carpet, you’re doing it for how it looks. Faux fur and real fur look the same on camera.
Support the ASPCA and help advocate on behalf of animals.
Visit the Somaly Mam website and learn more about how you can fight human trafficking!