Johanna Carlisle

She may be playing the monster mom in Stray Cat's Kate Crackernuts, but her friends and fans know that Johanna Carlisle is a real beauty — even when she's barfing in the alley behind a convenience market.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when I memorized the aria "Un Bel Di" from Madame Butterfly at the age of 3 and then performed it at the family Christmas party that year.

The worst thing about being an actor is people always questioning your emotions. I always got the "turn off the tears" thing from people. Still do.

The happiest day in my life was the day I scored over a million points on Astrosmash with my Intellivision! No, actually it was the day my son Maxx was born.

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would be my Grandma Julieta Zepeda Hubbard. She led such an amazing life, starting in Mexico, then coming to Tucson by wagon with her family to escape Pancho Villa. She sang, did theater, had a wonderful family, teased boys . . . What a life!

It's not entirely true, but I sometimes tell people that I appeared on Broadway in Cabaret at Studio 54. (Actually, I was picked from the audience to dance with the Emcee at the start of Act Two. It was very cool but not quite a Broadway debut!)

My worst audition ever was for Peter Pan with a company I don't even remember anymore. It was so horrible I wrote two poems about it, trying to work through it.

The fictional character I am most like is a cross between Veronica Sawyer from Heathers and Mary Poppins on acid.

I am utterly terrified of helium-filled latex balloons.

I laugh uncontrollably at Monty Python, especially And Now for Something Completely Different.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to do on stage is something that would cause harm to me or another actor. I knew a method actor in college who did a cutting scene on stage with actual razors. Um, no.

Something I have never admitted to anyone before is I used to be a man. Okay, seriously: I've never taken an acting class in my life. I learned from watching movies, variety shows in the '70s, and working with amazing people like Kathy Fitzgerald, Joyce Lopez-Powell, and Lisa Fineberg.

Currently, I am reading Jane Espenson's Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly.

The first time I got drunk, I drank Southern Comfort and 7-Up and sang Journey's "Open Arms" loudly on the Biltmore Golf Course because the guy I had a crush on was with me. Later that night, I puked behind the Circle K on Seventh Street and Missouri. Good times!

Like my mother used to say, "Stand on your own two feet. Be independent, and you can do anything. And clean your room!"