While she admits she will always be remembered for playing D.J. Tanner on the hit ’90s TV show “Full House,” actress Candace Cameron is making sure people aren’t overlooking the work she is doing now.
After taking a six-year hiatus to raise three children, Cameron, 33, returned to TV in 2007 to star in an episode of “That’s So Raven” alongside fellow ex-child star Raven-Symone. After a couple of small movies, she has found another homebase with ABC Family’s TV show “Make it or Break it.” The show follows a group of female gymnasts as they train for the Olympics and face everyday teenage problems. Cameron plays Summer Van Horne, the step-mother of one of the hopeful Olympians.
During a conference call with me, Cameron talked about her return to TV and whether or not her strong Christian faith limits her as an actress.
You took a six-year break from acting back in 2001. Now that you are coming back into it has it been an easy transition since you have a familiar name or did it feel like you were starting from scratch all over again?
No, Hollywood embraced me and gave me a very warm welcome back. When I decided to come back to work, it didn’t take long at all. It was basically a little reintroduction, “Hey, I’m back,” and everyone wanted to see what I looked like. From what most people say, I pretty much look the same as I did even ten years ago. I haven’t aged too much. Aside from people just seeing what I look like, it was a very warm welcome. The calls started coming in right away. I didn’t have to fight hard at all, which is a beautiful place to be; I’m grateful for it.
You’ve said that you hold a high standard when choosing roles because of your Christian faith. Does it ever feel like you might be limited as an actress by doing this or is it not something you think about?
I definitely am limited, absolutely, but that’s okay. I’m the one that’s limiting myself and I’m limiting myself by choice. I want to do things that either will have a message at the end of the day, a good moral message, or things that will encourage people or families in a positive direction. Not that everything is going to be perfect or everything’s happy; there are always struggles and conflict in television or movies and participating in those are great. I don’t have to do everything that holds the exact same viewpoint that I have, but at the end of the day, for me, I want it to have a positive reflection or redemption at the end of it; something learned from the situation. Yes, I’m limited, but that’s completely fine with me.
You have a whole new fan base with “Make it or Break it,” but you also have those fans who followed you during your “Full House” days. Has the change in this fan base impacted you in any way?
I’m still recognized from “Full House.” I think I will be my entire career and that’s still where the majority of my fans are from. It is pretty fun for me when some of the younger kids come up to me say, “Aren’t you that lady from ‘Make It or Break It?’” That tickles me to death. I love having new fans that know me from this show – that’s always a fun thing, but I’m forever grateful and love my “Full House” fans. I guess I haven’t seen a huge, dramatic change in fans from being on the show. I think I’ve got a great group of core fans that have just followed me for a long time; it’s quite flattering and I’m appreciative of them all.
Do you find yourself mentoring the younger actresses on the set? What is your relationship like with them?
They’re such sweet girls; I’ve been having so much fun getting to know them as people and as actresses and seeing what they do and their different styles, even their different levels of experience. It’s different for all of them. I try to be an example to them just by doing what I do, to be professional on the set and to know my lines and to be there when I’m asked to be there and not hold anything up. It’s nothing that I’ll sit down and talk to them about and to mentor in that way. They’re learning as well, but I think for me that’s the best way I can do that is just living that example for them. Hopefully they can reap some of my experience by seeing it.
With the Winter Olympics coming up in Vancouver, when hockey starts, does that cause a split in your house? Do you root for the U.S. and [your husband] Valeri roots for Russia?
I’m an American and will root for everything American except when it comes to hockey. I’m not a traitor, but my husband did play in two Olympic Games and of course I was rooting for Russia when he played in those games. I have a silver and a bronze medal sitting in my home. I’m incredibly proud of him and those medals. Even though he’s not playing in the Olympics again, my heart’s going to be with Russia because that’s his team and he won those medals with Russia. It’s the only team in the winter sports, hockey, when my heart goes with Russia.