DP: "I hike five or six days a week at around 7 AM at Fryman Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. There's a nice wide path with a decent incline that can be particularly challenging if you attack it with some speed--I'll sometimes run parts of the uphill. It's a little like taking a beautiful walk in the woods every morning, but with a lot of heavy breathing! And once I get to the apex, there's a gorgeous view of Studio City, Universal City and Burbank. All the movie studios are literally laid out in front of you... I often hike with friends, all of whom are also actresses. We've gotten so used to the terrain that if one of us has an audition that day, we bring oursiders and practice our lines while we hike. All tolled, the hike takes about an hour.
I've been into hiking since I lived in Alaska back in the 90's. I hiked Mount Juneau my first day in the state, and the effort nearly killed me! I was so sore I couldn't walk for days...that's not really what you want,because that can be discouraging, but man, was I proud when I made it to the top of that peak. I'd encourage aspiring hikers to find a place to that inspires them and just to do what they can at first; choose an "urban" trail like Fryman. Take a little more on each week, and before you know it, it'll seem easy."
GG: Your favorite sport to follow? Favorite team? Favorite player?
DP: "Since I was a girl, I've loved football. Something about the pageantry of it all. My dad's family came from Cleveland, Ohio, but I was born in Pennsylvania. Being the contrarian I am, I latched on to the Pittsburgh Steelers as my team--I dreamed of owning the team one day! Other girls would say they wanted to be teachers or beauty queens when they grew up, but I wanted to be a Rooney. To say I was the black sheep on Sundays would be to put it mildly. But the rivalry was very good natured. I knew everything about the game by the time I was seven or something, because it was a way for me to be close to my dad, who I idolized. By nine, I was betting a dollar in the weekly pool he had with his buddies. They thought it was cute until I won the whole thing one week--I was banned from playing in it after that! They hated that a little girl won! Now that I have a young son, I've passed my love of the team onto him."
GG: Tell us about Parks and Recreation? Your experiences? What projects do you have upcoming?
GG: Now that you have become a Hollywood girl, are you on the Lakers bandwagon?
DP: "I'll probably make a few Los Angeles enemies by saying this, but I moved here from Chicago still have a place in my heart for the Bulls. And I've been working so much I can't say I've been following!"
GG: Words of advise for our fabulous lady sports fans?
DP: "I think it's so important for women and girls to be involved in sports. It's mind-body thing; I believe that constantly challenging myself with new activities keeps my body and my mind strong. Growing up, I had a variety of activities that challenged me. I was a dancer and cheerleader. I was on the tennis team, which I loved, and I spent a good deal of time on horses. I Also come from a long line of golf fanatics, so I remember having a club in my hand by age nine. Eventually, I chose to spend my time dancing, so the competitive stuff got less emphasis, but when I was about 16 I suffered a pretty severe injury to my right hamstring. It never fully healed, and eventually caused me to leave dance. But I didn't stop moving.
In addition to the hiking, my husband and I still play tennis occasionally on the local courts. My plan now is to get horseback riding back into my life--there are terrific stables nearby in Burbank, and I think I've found the place for me. Now it's just a matter of making the time! And websites like yours remind us that it's crucial to find that time to do things that challenge us, make us happy, make us grow."