Getty Images/ Frazer Harrison/ Jenny Craig
Having lost more than 50 pounds on Jenny Craig, Sara Rue is looking fabulous these days and it has paid off. Sara reunites with her "Less than Perfect" co-star Patrick Warburton on "Rules of Engagement," playing the recurring character of Brenda, a lesbian who will be the surrogate for Jeff (Warburton) and Audrey's (Megyn Price)'s baby.
And that is not all. She is also the host of The CW's upcoming series "Shedding for the Wedding," featuring engaged couples who compete via diet and challenges to win an all-expenses paid wedding. It is inspiring Sara to set the date for her own wedding!
Now ETonline talks to the beautiful redhead about how to get started shedding pounds in the New Year and her acting and hosting gigs.
ETonline: What did you think when you read the character was going to be a lesbian surrogate, or did Tom Hertz write it just for you since you worked together on "Less than Perfect"?
Sara Rue: It wasn't written for me. I got a phone call from my manager saying the people over at "Rules" had called and was I interested in coming in and doing arc for them. Not only had I worked with Tom before, but I had worked with Patrick [Warburton] on "Less than Perfect" for years. I was, "Absolutely. What's the character? Tell me about it." When they told me it was Patrick's friend who was a lesbian and was going to be his surrogate, I was excited: "Oh, that is even better than I thought it could be."
ETonline: There are a lot of comedic possibilities there.
Sara Rue: Yes, but I am very involved in the gay community and have a ton of gay and lesbian friends. I think it is great to have more gay and lesbian characters on television and, I hope, that I can play it with as much respect for the people in that community as possible.
ETonline: Is Brenda going to be on long enough that she might have a girlfriend?
Sara Rue: We just shot an episode where there is a scene with a girlfriend, but I don't have high hopes for that relationship. I am hoping that she will get to have a serious girlfriend.
ETonline: You look so fabulous now, why would you want to play a character who is going to be pregnant and all puffed out?
Sara Rue: I have played pregnant a lot actually and I like doing it. I can do fun photo shoots and show off my body. I would rather be an actor. If the role is juicy, it doesn't matter for me in terms of that kind of thing. Frankly, I am in sweatshirts and T-shirts and jeans for this character so that wasn't even a concern. I have been doing "Shedding for the Wedding" and I get to stand there in cute dresses more my own style. It is so much fun for me, because I have just been an actor, so to be able to show up as myself on camera is really fun.
ETonline: Do you miss the 9 to 5 of being on a sitcom, or are you enjoying playing a variety of characters, not all comedy? You were on "Eastwick" and you have a movie or two.
Sara Rue: I just finished an ABC Family movie ["Always and Forever"]. I do like the sitcom life. I grew up doing it. I did my first sitcom when I was 11. It was called "Grand" and it was on after "Cheers" for two years. I like that life. It is sort of the only job as an actor where you can plan a regular life around it. You know when you are going to be done, you can make dinner plans, travel plans and that kind of thing. I miss that. More importantly for me, I miss being in front of a live studio audience, because as much as I love doing movies and it was very fun shooting "Shedding," I really like comedy and that show-night feel of everybody getting ready to shoot a show. I am from New York and theater and that feels very comfortable to me, so I jumped at the chance to do "Rules."
ETonline: Is it 50 pounds or more that you've lost on Jenny Craig?
Sara Rue: It is a little more than 50 pounds.
ETonline: That is so fabulous. What tips do you have to inspire those who want to take off weight in the New Year?
Sara Rue: I had this little mantra very early on in my Jenny journey: Time is going to move forward and whether I choose to or not is up to me. Something about that sort of struck me, because I have spent a lot of time going, "In six months, I am going to lose whatever the number," and six months comes and you haven't done anything. You are like, "If I had just done what I said I was going to do, I would be done by now." I think a lot of people feel that way. Keeping in mind that time was going to keep going, nothing was going to stand still for me in terms of my weight loss, I decided to just do it. I jumped in with both feet.
My advice for people and, obviously, I really loved Jenny and I needed help, I think my biggest problem was I never asked for it before. I started two days after Thanksgiving. I was, "If I am going to do this, I am going to do it the hardest way possible." My holiday season last season was all about being healthy. I stayed close to home. It was one of my favorite Christmases ever. It was just me and my fiancé and we cooked our Jenny meals. I did see friends and went to parties, but I was vigilant and careful. It came down to: What do I want my life to be? I hit my early 30s and this point where I didn't want to deal with weight issues anymore. I am done. I have been dealing with them all of my life. I hit this wall. You have two choices. You can stop being upset about it, stop complaining about it and accept yourself for who you are and live that way if that is what you want, or you can do something about it and change the things you don't like. I decided to do something about it.
ETonline: You are down to your goal weight. For me, the hardest part is keeping it off. How is that going?
Sara Rue: It is really hard. It is six months since I reached my goal weight. I definitely am struggling with … I have an issue where I want to be perfect all the time. Maintenance is not that. I am kind of doing my maintenance the way I did my diet, which is just making it fit to my lifestyle. I have kept everything off. I haven't gained anything. I was able to do it living out of a hotel for six weeks shooting a movie. I think it is just because I have been giving myself a break, but I also continued to call my consultant and continued the plan we made. Now, the plan may change, but we always have a plan. Sometimes my plan was different on Friday from the previous Monday, but I always tried to make a plan for myself. I think that is sort of the key. Being able to be flexible, but avoiding the "Oh f*#$-its."
ETonline: Was it because of Jenny that you were asked to host "Shedding for the Wedding"?
Sara Rue: I am not sure why. Obviously, there were so many similarities. I can't remember if I was finished with the weight-loss, but I think I just finished. I got a call saying they were doing the show and would I be interested in hosting. I was not really. I love reality, but I didn't think it was something that I wanted to do. "The Biggest Loser" is one of my favorite shows ever. When they told me it was by the same people who do "The Biggest Loser" and what the show was going to be -- it is couples -- both the man and the woman -- losing weight for their wedding -- and how the format was going to be, I was, "Maybe I should take a meeting because it sounds really fun to me." It was also a nice pay-it-forward, because I have been so lucky to be the Jenny Craig spokesperson and to have the support of that company behind me. It was hard for me to decide to do that and it turned out so beautifully for me that I feel like maybe I could pay it forward for some of these couples. I could say, "I did it, you can do it, too." When they called, I decided to go in and take a meeting. I went in and met with the producers and when they told me how it was going to go, I was sold from that point on. I was, "Alright, sign me on. This sounds great."
ETonline: Are you just hosting it, or do you get involved with the couples?
Sara Rue: I am hosting it, but I was there a lot. I became attached to a lot of the people. I was there for all of the challenges. I weighed them in. That is the most emotional part of the week.
ETonline: Is it inspiring you to set your own wedding date?
Sara Rue: It definitely made me feel like I was behind for sure. We are working on it. We have it narrowed down to a window. It is a matter of picking out the perfect spot. Once we do that, we will have a date. It will be sometime this year.
ETonline: Think of what fun you will have picking out a dress.
Sara Rue: It is really nice to know that it is not something I have to worry about now. Wedding planning is stressful enough, but trying to lose weight during it, I am grateful I took care of that part of it already.
Sara's next episode of "Rules of Engagement" airs on Monday, Jan. 17 on CBS. The complete season four DVD will be released on Tuesday, Jan. 11 for fans who want to revisit the series. Then, "Shedding for the Wedding" premieres Wednesday, Feb. 23 on The CW.