21 questions

Debi Mazar Takes a Lot of Baths

Photo: Getty Images

Name: Debi Mazar
Age: 48
Neighborhood: Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Occupation: Actress; currently appearing in the third season of Extra Virgin, her show on the Cooking Channel with her husband, Gabriele Corcos.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Bill Cunningham, for his love of life.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
That’s a tough one for me. I’d probably have to say my husband’s kitchen. I have a full Tuscan lunch and dinner every day in my home; my husband’s a fantastic chef. Other than that, either Osteria Morini or Bar Pitti.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
If it’s my acting job, I’m thinking, I’m emoting, I’m pulling information out of people, I’m listening, memorizing, and generally having a really great time. If I’m cooking, I’m wearing many hats: I’m doing everything from producing, to writing, to picking herbs, feeding people, and entertaining.

What was your first job in New York?
It’s hard to remember, since I’ve been working since I was about 15. One of my first jobs was answering an ad in the New York Times to be an upscale dental assistant on Madison Avenue. I knew nothing about being a dental assistant, I auditioned — I bullshitted my way through it — and I got the job. It was early acting experience.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The Book of Mormon, and before that it was John Leguizamo’s show. That was a lot of fun. 

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Yeah, I do. It’s on a case-by-case basis. Or if I have money in my pocket.

What’s your drink?
Caipirinha. My husband makes them fresh, melding the fresh lime and the sugar and mint and the cachaça. I love a caipirinha. It’s sexy.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Every day, three times a day. Lunch is formal — that’s when my husband and I have our dates. And dinner is formal, we sit down every day with the kids at seven o’ clock.

What’s your favorite medication?
This is a tough one, because I’m not really into pills. My favorite medication might be Chianti.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
I don’t have a sofa. Isn’t that sad? I would like to have one, but I moved recently and my sofa didn’t fit. And my living room became my office, so we don’t have a sofa. On the walls, though, are tons of black-and-white photographs. I’m a collector.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I don’t spend more than $200. I like to have my hair grow, because I need to have hair for different roles. But I’m a woman, so I’m always cutting my hair off and wishing that I hadn’t.

When’s bedtime?
Eleven o’clock. We finish dinner, we clean the kitchen, we get the kids in their pajamas, we read the books, then we get in bed and we put on our shows. Then have sex.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Old, absolutely. I used to live above Manganaro’s, when old Times Square was still peaking, and it still had a lot of diners and theaters on the forty deuce, as they used to call it. It was full of character. And it wasn’t Disneyland. Now it’s so touristy and full of bright lights, I can’t stand it. It’s like going to a big mall.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He reminds me of Maurice in Goodfellas, whose wig always flew off. And I also think he’s lucky.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Parking. But there’s not much I hate about it.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Bad cab drivers.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
A half an hour ago. I dropped the kids off and went shopping.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
We feel the same pain as every other family, constantly on a budget.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Oh, Times. I read online during the week and I have the weekend delivery.

Where do you go to be alone?
The bathtub. I love taking baths. I take one at least every other day.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Obviously being born here makes you a New Yorker, but it’s not a requirement. You just have to be someone that lives here and loves everything about it: the people, the vibrancy, the toughness.

Debi Mazar’s 21 Questions