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Shannon currently stars as "Tiffany Sherwood" on UPN's new comedy series "Cuts." Shannon Elizabeth Fabal was born on September 7, 1976, in Houston, Texas. Her exotic look can be attributed to the fact that her father is part Syrian and Lebanese, while her mother is of English, French and Cherokee Indian decent. Shannon's parents decided to move to Waco, Texas when Shannon was a young child. Claiming to not be part of the popular group in what she described as a cliquey high school, Shannon was very much involved in most after school activities. Part of the student council executive, Shannon was active in volleyball and cheerleading (which probably came easy to her thanks to her tap and ballet lessons as a child). Her biggest interest during high school, however, was tennis, which she considered doing professionally. Her life took an unexpected twist in Shannon's senior year when she starred in video that a local band was shooting. The producer thought that Shannon had what it took to become a model, and convinced her and her parents to go to New York to get some photos done. Once Shannon graduated from high school in 1991, she moved to New York where a modeling agency was waiting for Shannon to graduate and begin her modeling career. While doing some modeling work in New York (where she lived in the NYU dorms), Shannon also worked in countries such as France, Japan, Hong Kong, and Milan.
Although working abroad was an excellent experience, Shannon admits to having been homesick. When she returned to the U.S., she spent a few months in South Beach, Miami before moving to Los Angeles. Ready to start her pursuit of an acting career, she hesitated going to L.A. immediately, recognizing the amount of competition among young budding actresses. When she finally did go to L.A., Shannon signed with the Ford Modeling Agency, figuring that getting some of her pictures done would help her get into acting. She later signed with Elite Model Management.
It didn't take long for Shannon to get her first commercial -for Taco Bell - and she decided to stay in L.A. and joined an acting class. Soon after, the roles came in, both on television and film. She appeared in the television series Hang Time, Pacific Blue, My Generation, Step By Step, Blade Squad, USA High and My Generation.
In 1997, Shannon had a role in the film Jack Frost (where she appeared nude), as well as Dish Dogs soon after. It was her role in last year's summer hit American Pie as Czech foreign exchange student Nadia, that launched Shannon's fame and career. Shannon presently lives with her lucky boyfriend Joe Reitman, along with her six dogs. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her dogs, going to the gym and doing yoga. A huge fan of Garth Brooks and Prodigy, her favorite actors are Michelle Pfeiffer and Gary Oldman. A recent cover girl for Maxim and Details, Shannon is Enrique Iglesias' love interest in the video for his song, "Be With You". She can soon be seen in this summer's horror movie spoof, Scary Movie, co-starring Carmen Electra. You can catch Shannon later this year in the film Tom Cats, which will certainly not be the last we'll see of Shannon. Her spouse is Joseph D. Reitman (15 June 2002 - present). They have five dogs. Shannon is an avid animal lover, supporting numerous charities.
Shannon Elizabeth Curls up with 'Cuts'
Shannon Elizabeth is ready to curl up and dye.
Best known for her breakout role in "American Pie," the 31-year-old actress makes her debut as a TV series regular in "Cuts," a UPN comedy premiering Monday, Feb. 14.
The sitcom, a spinoff of the UPN hit "One on One," stars Elizabeth as Tiffany Sherwood, a rich party girl whose father, Jack (Corbin Bernsen), is the new owner of Phatheadz, a former black family-owned barbershop in an upwardly mobile Los Angeles neighborhood.
"I was keeping my options open and had taken meetings before for something like this, but I wasn't necessarily looking for something like this when it came along," the actress says of her new gig. "I'm surrounded by a lot of good people I really trust, though, and they saw a sitcom as something I should do.
"When I did the 'One on One' episode, there were no handshakes; it was all hugs and kisses, and they just made me feel totally comfortable, people I would want to get up and come to work with for the next however many years this could go."
When the series pilot aired as a "One on One" episode last May, Jack installed Tiffany as manager of the business, determined that she become more responsible. But Tiffany immediately butted heads with the previous manager of Phatheadz, Kevin (Marques Houston), who was horrified by Tiffany's plans to turn this traditional men's barbershop into a swank women's day spa called Serenity.
By the end of the episode, Tiffany and Kevin had reluctantly agreed to allow the barbershop and spa to coexist under the new name "Pharenity."
"Oh, but there's still plenty of room for conflict," Elizabeth says. "We've agreed that the shop will be both a barbershop and a day spa, so there's a little of everything there, but there's an ongoing argument over how best to manage and coordinate things.
"You saw that in the pilot episode, where Tiffany came in and started making all these impulsive decisions that didn't sit well with the original owners. There still will be lots of that."
The sitcom got a late production start, going into rehearsals less than a month before its Valentine's Day premiere date. While Elizabeth previously did several guest shots on "That '70s Show" as Kelso's girlfriend, she knows she has to find a way to make the "Cuts" set feel more like home.
"The energy you get from a live audience is always very welcome, although you have to get over being nervous at first. It doesn't help that they keep the studios freezing cold, which makes me shiver right from the start," she says, laughing.
"The only thing you really have to be aware of and get used to is that different soundstages echo very differently. You can be on a set and hear the laugh, like, two seconds late because it travels. It's hard to get used to, but you really have to make that adjustment in performance."
Spoken like a sitcom veteran, one far removed from the self-described country girl who grew up in small Waco, Texas. After studying dance as a child, the young Elizabeth went through a period when she seriously considered a career in professional tennis, but she eventually gave that up.
"To be honest, there was a tennis coach at our high school that a lot of people just really weren't real fond of, and there were a bunch of us who were pretty good who quit playing, at least on the school level, and it was kind of hard to keep up with regular practices after that," she explains. "It also was just very stressful for me, just getting ready for one match. There was all this preparation the night before: what you would eat, getting enough sleep, and I really got blisters. That meant I had to wrap my feet before every match. I really had fun doing it, but it was also kind of easy to just fall out of it."
Immediately after graduation, she began a modeling career that took her around the world, introducing her to a variety of cultures and, as a welcome bonus, ridding her of a thick Southern accent in the process.
"I was around all these people who did not speak English as a first language, so they couldn't understand me and my accent at all," she explains. "I had to learn to speak without the accent so that they could understand my English. By the time I came out to Hollywood, I wasn't having to work to lose it on purpose. It already was pretty much gone."
A move into TV commercials segued into acting classes, leading eventually to her role in the teen comedy "American Pie," a success she admits was both exciting and intimidating.
"It was different from anything I had experienced before," she says. "For one thing, before 'American Pie,' I never had been recognized just walking down the street before. That took some getting used to, for sure.
"I guess I was a little used to seeing my picture from my modeling work, but that was different, too, because I had usually been representing a product, and no one knew who I was, whereas now suddenly, I was the product."
A passionate animal lover, she shrewdly began exploiting her celebrity to promote Animal Avengers, an animal rescue organization she founded with her husband, actor Joseph D. Reitman. She invites fans to visit the organization's Web site, located at www.animalavengers.com.
"It's one of the things that I wanted to do with all the press that I've been getting," Elizabeth says of the organization. "I wanted to do something more than just promoting my films and myself, to do something that could really make a difference. I hope everyone will check it out, because it's very close to my heart."
More fun stuff about Shannon Elizabeth
Starred as singer Enrique Iglesias' love interest in the video for his third American single, "Be With You."
Grew up in Waco, Texas.
Shannon is part Syrian.
Shannon Elizabeth is well trained in Krav Maga - the Israeli hand-to-hand combat system. She trained at the Krav Maga National Training Center in Los Angeles for her role in Tomcats, and she continues to train ever since.
Voted the 8th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.
Mentioned in Bowling For Soup's extended version of "Ohio (Come Back To Texas)".
A big fan of the Boston Red Sox.
What feature does Shannon most like to see in a man?
Shannon has said several times that she finds men with long hair particularly appealing. (She even claims that she likes Howard Stern because of his long hair.)
What does Shannon like least about her own body?
According to her Stuff Magazine interview she feels she has a "boxy" stomach, it's her least favorite feature and she obsesses about it.
Here's the question that everyone wants to know. Are they real?
On the Howard Stern Radio Show, Shannon said several times that they are her own. She says that her mother was also well endowed. You be the judge...
When did Shannon lose her virginity? In her Rolling Stone interview Shannon claimed that she couldn't remember however during her Howard Stern appearance Shannon said she lost her virginity when she was 16.
What's her favorite ice cream? Cookies-n-Cream
Did you know that Shannon prefers toys to men. In her Rolling Stone interview Shannon said "I have more fun doing it on my own than with you guys. That's why you guys don't buy us toys, 'cause you know the toys are better."
Shannon Elizabeth: The exotic beauty
She could have followed the route of many young actresses who are forever stuck in B-movie mode, but Shannon has the extra smarts you need to succeed. She has already refused some high profile roles that called for her to take it all off, in order to get away from the perception that she's a teenage movies T & A quotient. After showing the world her assets in American Pie, Shannon decided to take the comedy route once more and starred in Scary Movie. Shannon Elizabeth is among those few women that really make our blood boil (in a good way). The world is full of beautiful women who are easy on the eyes, but there are only some women who really get a man's adrenaline rushing and Shannon falls into that category.
Those who saw American Pie know what we are talking about, those who didn't are missing a very funny movie and very free-spirited Shannon. With the kind of hypnotic powers she has on men, we only expect bigger things from this exotic beauty. Saying she needs some polishing is an understatement. Shannon surprisingly (especially considering her work overseas and in the tough modeling world) stills comes off as not fully matured, with the kind of gee-whiz attitude you'd expect from child actors. She might have to tighten up her public opinions to increase her stature among Hollywood execs as a serious actress. She's right up there with Denise Richards on the sexiness scale. She looks attractive even if she's wearing a parka, jogging pants and construction boots. Her bit roles in movies have made her a favorite among the pimpled face portion of the population, but they also helped catch the eye of some of Hollywood's head honchos. Watch for her in a blockbuster action movie in the near future.
She seems all natural to us, despite claims that her curvaceous body got some help from plastic surgeons. Give credit where credit is due, it takes hard work to look the way she does and we know she works out extensively. If only she would let us be her personal trainer. She's one of those rare women who can look just as good as a cowgirl as she can as a elitist socialite. Away from the movie set, expect a lot of tank tops and tight fitting pants. You won't hear us complaining.
Sweet Shannon Elizabeth in 'American Pie 2'
1999's "American Pie" was a surprisingly huge success, grossing over $101,000,000 during its theatrical release. "American Pie 2" debuts in theaters on August 10, 2001. The two films have a lot more than just their titles in common. The entire cast of characters returns, working with a script from the same writer as from the first "American Pie," Adam Herz. The "American Pie 2" cast took time out of their busy schedules to sit for interviews at a recent press junket. Here's a collection of some of the best quotes and info from stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Eugene Levy, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, and Eddie Kaye Thomas.
SHANNON ELIZABETH (Nadia)
How do you know when you are shooting gross-out scenes that they are acceptable as opposed to just plain stupid or tasteless?
I think sometimes also it does depend on the context of what you are doing. As far as the ratings things, for instance like with "Scary Movie," we could get away with showing a penis in the air because it wasn't a penis having sex. That's literally what they said. We all asked how they got away with it and that's what they said. I think it's the context of what it's done in, and if you are laughing at it and it's done in a funny way and it's supposed to be funky, weird, funny stuff versus serious pornographic kind of things. I think it's kind of like “Its not what you say, it's how you say it.”
But shouldn't the line be the line?
We don't live in a world that's black & white, that's got set standards. And you're also talking about a line that's set in America for Americans, by the way that whoever is setting it thinks. Because it's like in Europe they can do topless on the beach everywhere, and they can do nudity, and it's no big deal. Why is it such a big deal to America? Things change in different countries as people grow, and as generations change.
Maybe because we are taught to cover ourselves up and other countries are more open to nudity?
It's just something that's inbred in you from when you are young, and it takes time to change things, you know? When our grandparents were growing up, this never would have been allowed. But things change as generations change and times change. You don't really have control over what things are going to be - it's just how evolution works.
Why were you willing to return to this and do a sequel?
Well, I think that we all have a lot of history with the people who were involved in this ("American Pie"), and who made this. For me personally, it launched my career and there's a part of me that feels like I owe them a lot because I wouldn't be here today with you guys (the media) if it weren't for them giving me the opportunity to play Nadia the first time around. I went in and auditioned and had that casting director not called me back, had those producers not liked me or those directors…you know, everything happened for a reason. I'm grateful for everything that happened and because of that history there, and because everybody was willing to come back, how could I say no? It's such an amazing thing because it's a group effort, and it's fun, we get along, and "American Pie" has a built-in audience that wants to see more of these characters. That's the reason they do sequels, beyond the studios making money, is that there is that audience there that, good or bad - whether it tops the first one or not - they just want to see more of these people.
Will you do a third or is this enough?
I didn't know I was going to do a second. You never know. If you had asked me that the first time around, I wouldn't know.
From "American Pie" Sweetheart to Animal Avenger
The last couple of years have been very busy ones for actress Shannon Elizabeth, whose role as Nadia, the Czech foreign exchange student in the 1999 hit film "American Pie" launched her career. Named ShoWest's Female Star of Tomorrow, Shannon also appeared in "Scary Movie," and this past year starred in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," "13 Ghosts," and the sequel to her breakout hit, "American Pie II."
Not content to just rest on her laurels, Shannon decided to make use of her growing celebrity by launching her own animal rescue organization last April called Animal Avengers.
Having previously worked with some local rescue groups, Shannon started hearing things about how the money raised was not being used properly and that it wasn't necessarily going to the animals. "I always had this attitude that if you want something done right, you do it yourself," she explained. "So I started thinking, why don't we just start our own rescue organization. I figured there was a lot of press that I get from my films that I could put to better use rather than just promoting a film. That I could actually use it to make a difference in something that was more important… that would actually save lives."
"The more that I'm able to work and build that part of my life, the more influence I'm going to have on people," she continues, "be it somebody here or some young girl in the mid-west that might read an article or see me on TV talking about animals. I want to help educate people and I want people to realize that pound animals are just as good if not better than going anywhere else for an animal. People think that the animals at the pound aren't good animals to get. They don't realize that those are the best animals because they are so thankful… they know you've rescued them. I don't understand when people pay $4000.00 for a dog because it has papers. I've always been told that pure breeds have more mental and health problems. I've gotten a lot of e-mails from people who say they read some of the articles about me and decided to go to a pound instead of a pet store. I just love reading stuff like that."
One might think someone who starts her own rescue organization must have grown up with a lot of animals. Not so with Shannon Elizabeth. For a brief time she had a parakeet, but that was it. "My parents never allowed me to get any animals after that. I always swore when I grew up I was going to have a ton of animals just to spite them. I didn't think I was serious, but I really did have this love for animals. I was born with it. I remember always driving down the roads in Texas and seeing a lot of dead animals in the roads. Not dogs or cats… but squirrels and armadillos. I would always scream and freak out. It always really affected me, seeing animals, especially in pain and danger. I think it just flourished as I got older and was able to do something about it."
And she did! About three years ago after she got a house with her fiancé, a parade of animals began passing through her new home either temporarily or on a more permanent basis. First there was Sasha, who belonged to a friend going overseas who didn't want to put his dog in quarantine. Then came Amber, a Ridgeback- Pit Mix found in Long Beach covered in tar, whose founders couldn't keep her. Next there was Boomer, a terrier pup rescued by another friend. And then they took in a couple of dogs kept by a street person. Both dogs eventually died from distemper, despite trying everything possible to keep them alive.
"It was so traumatic," Shannon remembers. "I never had a dog so close to me die like that before, especially when I was holding him. It was so hard. I was so traumatized and felt so bad that I lost those lives that I had to go to the pound to save one." So they rescued Carmen who looks like a Lab-Chow Mix.
Then came a stray dog that looks like a Husky Mix, found on a downtown street, that they lured into their car with a Chocolate Protein bar. About 10 years old with almost no teeth and riddled with arthritis, they named her Skyler who, when nursed back to health became the "bitchy grandmother" to the other dogs. Next they found an American Eskimo in the street they named Six Buttons, who ended up staying with them when they couldn't find its owner. And Yoda (the Chihuahua mix on the cover) along with another Heinz 57 non-descript dog named Dingo showed up at the Animal Avengers launch party and went home with Shannon when they weren't adopted.
"When we created the charity part of our goal was to keep it young and fresh…to keep it something new that people could grow with. There aren't a lot of charities out there that are really aimed at young people… they are always aimed at an older generation with older money. I wanted it to be something that everyone could relate to that's just fun and lighthearted, geared to high school kids and young kids who could get involved and grow with it."
They settled on the name Animal Avengers because it sounded like a super hero. And their logo, a crime-fighting dog, was designed by Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. "He's pretty amazing," says Shannon, "and we were so lucky that he did that for us. As for the name, most people really like it because it sounds young and strong and heroic."
The mission of Animal Avengers is very simple: it's a non-profit animal rescue dedicated to saving animals from the streets and city shelters and placing them into loving homes. "That's where we are with it right now," explains Shannon. "But I have a lot of plans for the future. I don't want it just to be dogs and cats and I don't want it just to be animals off the street, but animals that are in danger anywhere. I want to get into all rescue. But I figured I needed to start somewhere and succeed on a smaller level with something that is more tangible, and then we'd grow."
Recently another local rescue group, Canine Crusaders, merged with Animal Avengers. The expertise of these more experienced rescuers along with Shannon's name and fund-raising ability should eventually result in a powerful and influential organization.
Along with weekend adoptions at three locations (see p.17- column 1 for their times and locations,) they also have an outreach program for people who need to place an animal they can't keep themselves. "They can bring the animal to our adoptions and we'll put pictures of the animals on our website and help adopt them out as our own, with them fostering the animal until it's adopted."
"We want to help people in any way we can to adopt out their animal or reach whatever their goal is. Every time somebody contacts us about anything, we try to get back to them as quickly as possible and not just say I'm sorry, we can't help. Maybe that's just referring them to other people that we know can help, but we try to do everything we can to give them other options."
Shannon is very hands-on with her organization. She helps at the weekend adoptions when she can, but her schedule keeps her pretty busy. "Every day I try to use all the free time I have to work on getting things done. We still don't even have all our forms officially printed out. I've been doing it all on my computer, a little bit at a time as we need it. We've been trying really hard to get as much as possible donated, because when people give any money to the charity I really don't want it to go anywhere but to the animals. I'm trying really hard to make sure that happens."
Animal Avengers is totally comprised of non-paid volunteers. And therein is their greatest need. "I can make the organization grow in some ways faster than the people can handle the growth," explains Shannon. "First and foremost we need volunteers that can help us with our weekend adoptions- to help answer questions, walk the dogs, and set up and break down cages. Just to help run everything there. And we can always use help at our kennel in Gardena to walk the dogs and clean and repair the kennels. We're getting everything fixed so we can optimize the amount of animals we can have there. And hopefully soon we'll have our own van that will have a cool paint job with our logo on it that will go all around town… which should also help us get more volunteers."
"We also need people with vans who can help transport the animals either from the foster homes or the kennel. And we need people to help with our foster program, where anybody who can have an animal at their house for whatever duration, a couple of weeks or a couple of months, will take in the animal. We love to have any help people can give."
Perhaps one of the greatest goals Shannon has for Animal Avengers is "to build some sort of network in LA among all the charities so they can work together rather than against each other. I feel like there's a lot of competition right now among the charities, and I really think that we would better benefit the animals if there was a way for us to communicate and work together. We don't feel like we're competing with anybody, but we would like to be able to help everyone… and we'd love help back. Hopefully a lot of the charities will be game."
"In addition to growing and expanding in LA, we're also hoping to branch out and have organizations across the country so we're not just helping the animals of California, but in as many states as possible."
If you read The Pet Press on a regular basis, you may be thinking that Animal Avengers is just like many of the other animal rescue groups in LA. It's sad to think we live in a city, in a state, and in a country where the need to save animals is so great. Shannon Elizabeth describes herself as "the hugest animal lover ever, who would help any animal in danger and save any animal I could." When you see all that she has accomplished in just one year, you know that she means business, and that her Animal Avengers organization WILL make a difference!