The sexy young actress is best recognized for her role as "Janey" in the 2001 movie "Not Another Teen Movie." Chyler Leigh made the leap into feature films by cracking skulls in Kickboxing Academy (1997) before finally hitting the big-time as the "Pretty Ugly Girl" in the 2001 spoof Not Another Teen Movie. Born Chyler Leigh Potts in Charlotte, NC, in 1982, the future actress and her family relocated to Virginia Beach, VA, in 1984. After spending her early years at Trentwood Elementary and Great Neck Middle School, Leigh's parents divorced and Chyler and brother Christopher Khayman Lee relocated with their mother to Miami, FL, to begin a new life. It was in Miami that young Chyler decided to drop out of high school to pursue a career as an actress by training with acting coach Sharon Lane. It was under Lane Management that Leigh began landing frequent modeling and commercial work, appearing in television spots for Coca-Cola and Wendy's among others. Landing the job as co-host of the syndicated talk show Hall Pass (1996) proved the widest exposure to date for the burgeoning talent, and it wasn't long before Leigh would subsequently appear in such series as Kinetic City Cuper Crew and Safe Harbor.
Following the imiment flop of "Safe Harbor", Chyler became more popular and landed two lead roles in the pilot episode series of "Saving Graces" and "Wilder Days". Living up to her past success both series were rejected and not picked up by a network and both series were over. Somewhere along the way after this she moved to Los Angeles and also switched management to The Gersh Agency.
Chyler managed to advance her career further by being cast with guest spots on the short lived M.Y.O.B, and the WB's top rated series "7th Heaven". "7th Heaven" was the movie where Chyler first met her finace, actor Nathan West, as they costarred as troubled teen parents Frankie & Johnny. In this show the pair had to overcome various obstacles like being alienated from their own parents for having a child so young, drugs, alcohol, and spousal abuse. The story ended withthe unusual twist when Frankie (Chyler) leaved her child with Johnny (Nathan) and took off to Vegas with her drug dealer.
Chyler finaly got here biggest break yet in the the lead role, The Pretty Ugly Girl - Janey Briggs, in the highly rated takeoff movie "Not Another Teen Movie". Chyler originally auditioned for the small role as "Amanda Becker - The Perfect Girl" but secretly wanted the more indepth character that she finally was casted at. However, she says "My manager told me, 'Don't get your hopes up, they're probably going to want someone with a bigger name than you.' So I went in and the director looked at me and goes, 'You know what? I want to give you Janey.'"
She followed the previous movies success and was casted in the lead role of Tuesday (rebel punk rock chick), on the the Fox spinoff series "That 80's Show". Once again she auditioned for a different role ("Sophia") but when executive producer Terry Turner met Leigh, he had an inspiration - "We had her read for the part of Tuesday. After the audition, we said, 'Wow!' She's perfect.' "
The only surprise for Chyler was that she was going to be sporting a mohawk for the series. "It's a pretty painful process. They color it -- make it darker -- and then they basically tease it at the bottom and put about 9 pounds of hair spray on it. I have to keep the hair short enough so it doesn't fall over when they spike it up." And did the new 'do stay? "She'll be spiked in every show," said Turner. The end finally came for the series when Fox pulled the plug after the original 13 episodes aired.
Chyler wsigned on to star in the new David E. Kelley series "Girls Club" the same day her other series was cancelled and won the part of Sarah Mickle (one of the three main characters). Fox let Mr. Kelley loot the cast of "That 80's Show" as both Chyler and Eddie Shin stared in the new show.
Girls club is a series about lawyers. However, this one is nothing like Ally McBeal. The other characters included Gretchen Mol and Kathleen Robertson who work well as Chylers young lawyer counterparts. The meat of the show lies in the relationships between the characters: love/hate relationships, "real" people, and the idea that neat and tidy endings are rarely possible. Much like "Boston Public".
After two airings however, Fox has returned its verdict on its legal drama "Girls Club," and the news was not good as thhe network canceled the heavily promoted show after it posted a significant decline from its already weak premiere episode.
That first showing finished fifth in its time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research, and was 82nd for the week out of 131 total rated programs. The second episode was down 16 percent in total viewers from the first show and down 16 percent in the ratings among audiences aged 18 to 49, a key demographic for advertisers. The show was dogged by negative reviews and largely failed to draw young women, its target audience. With no new roles being shown it may look gloomy for a while but with her great looks, dedication and acting ability it's obvious that we will be hearing lots more out of Chyler Leigh over the next few years!
When not working, Leigh enjoys all kinds of water sports, including sailing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. While working on "Safe Harbor", she divided her time between the set in Jacksonville, Fla., and her home in Miami.
More fun stuff about Chyler Leigh
Birth name: Chyler Leigh Potts
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Spouse: Nathan West (20 July 2002 - present)
Sister of actor Christopher Khayman Lee
The "Stuff" magazine cover she did with Mia Kirshner was the first time that magazine ever featured multiple people on the cover.
Though only 20 years old, she has already been a part of seven different TV series.
Gave birth to a baby boy, Noah Wilde, in December 2003.
Ranked #41 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002)
Leigh met her husband, actor Nathan West, on the set of Saving Graces.
Her Quote: "My first job in Los Angeles, and instead of a TV show I got a husband."
Chyler Leigh is happy with 'Practice'
Some might call it a curse. Chyler Leigh sees it as a blessing in disguise.
Last year, the 21-year-old starred on two high-profile shows, both of which were canceled: That '80s Show was dropped after its first season, then Fox axed David E. Kelley's girls club after just two episodes.
"This year has been a very emotional roller coaster," Leigh says.
But her hard work earned her the respect of some top names, and as soon as one gig crumbled, another popped up. In fact, just three days after ending girls club, Leigh woke up to a call from Mr. Kelley himself, asking her to join The Practice.
"He said, 'Don't answer now, but I wanted you to know I love your work,' " she recalls. "I hung up and just kind of laughed to myself. It was very flattering."
Portraying a legal eagle on television is a world away from her adventurous upbringing. Leigh lived in Virginia until the age of 12, when she took off sailing around the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico for three years with her mother and stepfather. "I wanted to join Greenpeace and go save the whales. I had no idea I was going to be an actor."
But on the heels of a successful modeling career launched when her family settled in Miami, Leigh moved to Los Angeles to do just that. Since then, she's appeared on 7th Heaven and in the failed WB pilot Saving Graces, as well as the film Not Another Teen Movie.
Leigh is thrilled to be part of an established show. "The cancellation of girls club was a blessing in disguise, because now I'm on a show that has a precedent and already has an audience," she says. "I'm working with amazingly talented people, and it allows me to focus on the character."
Still, Leigh did warn that any more bad news might signal the end of her Tinseltown days. "I told my manager that if this doesn't happen, I'm moving to Alaska."
Chyler Leigh: Not Just Another Teen Star
Chyler Leigh was, like, not even born when Duran Duran released Rio, but that's not going to stop this 19-year-old, who's starring in Not Another Teen Movie and the upcoming Fox series That '80s Show, from conquering the decade that spawned Pac-Man, Pop Rocks and Cindy Lauper.
Leigh got her start as a teen model in Miami. That led to commercials, which led to guest spots on 7th Heaven and several failed series like Saving Graces and Safe Harbor, in which producers unwittingly cast Leigh opposite her older brother, Christopher--dashing any hopes of getting the two characters together.
At last, Leigh may have found a series with sticking power. She'll play punk rocker Tuesday on the highly anticipated Fox midseason series That '80s Show. But first, she dons a pair of overalls to prove she's all that in Not Another Teen Movie, a flick that spoofs the past two decades of the teen-flick genre.
Leigh won the lead role of Janey Briggs--the Pretty-Ugly Girl--who hides her movie-star looks behind paint-splattered clothing and thick eyeglasses but still gets the guy--a technique that works only in teen movies. Trust us.
Which got us wondering...
Where does she stand on the '80s versus '90s teen-movie debate? "Oh, I think the '80s were so much better. After She's All That, the teen movies that came out in the '90s were a matter of outdoing one other, like who has more gross stuff or who has more naked people. The movies that were more realistic were definitely Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club. I thought they were more dead-on to reality."
How many teen movies did she have to watch to prepare? "Omigod, almost every one. Most of them I had seen anyway, but I had to watch She's All That, because my character is a spoof on Rachael Leigh Cook. I had to see it 15 times, and I just about hated it by that point."
We hear she did her own stunts. "Yes, I did. I'm very proud of that. I got hurt most of the time, but I'm one of those really accident-prone people anyway, so it was no big thing. In the movie, I fall down the stairs about seven times, get nailed in the head by a football, get Tasered in the middle of a football field and dragged off, jump off the roof of a house into a pool and fall out of a car. There's a lot of physical comedy in the film, which made it really exciting."
So, what about That '80s Show--is it more Donna and Eric angst? "This is an entirely separate deal. The main guy in the show is Corey [Glen Robertson], and it's basically about his life in the '80s. His dad is a salesman who does those cheesy infomercials, and he's always ripping on his son to get a real job. Corey works at a record store, and he loves it."
Who does she play? "I'm a punk rocker who gets hired at the record store--the one with the Mohawk and the nose ring that connects to the ear and jewelry and leather and bracelets up to my elbows. It's awesome; it's the first time I actually got a character that gets to be a bit darker."
What would she rescue from the '80s? "I think Pat Benatar was absolutely brilliant: she's a rock star! I think she should be back with a vengeance. And the Easy Bake Oven--I mean, who didn't love that? You had to have one or you were robbed of your childhood. I tried to stick my Barbie in there once, but she didn't bake that well."
Actually, Chyler, those Easy Bake Ovens date back to the '60s. Or, um, so we've heard.
Interview with Chyler Leigh & Ron Lester from "Not Another Teen Movie"
How much did you study 80s and 90s teen movies?
Chyler: I watched "She's All That" at least 15 times.
What did you take from it?
Chyler: I hate the movie. Never want to see it again (laughing). After the second time you see it, you get it. It was a cute movie. It really was, for the time.
Ron: For me, I didn't have to study. I'm making fun of myself so I was good to go. At the same time, I felt like I had to study a lot of the 80s films. Some friends of mine got together, had a couple pints, and watched the movies.
Chyler: Joel let it be known that he had a library of all the films that we were spoofing and if you wanted to take one of the movies home, or if you wanted to see a certain clip or a part of the film, he had it available for all of us to do that. There's at least 19 movies in this movie. A lot of the movie was based on '80s films [like] "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," "Breakfast Club" and we definitely freshed up on them. It's not like we really had to study all of the movies, because it's really based on whatever your character was based on.
Do you need to study the original sources to do a spoof?
Chyler: I think it's definitely beneficial. The whole point of me watching "She's All That" 15 times was to get down the little things, the mannerisms, the characteristics and the facial expressions. Chris Evans had to do the same thing for his character because Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a very big eyebrow actor and he does the thing, the emphasis on the butt forehead crack thing that happens, and he had it down.
Did you study classic spoofs like "Airplane" and "Naked Gun?"
Chyler: Definitely. I love "Airplane," absolutely love that movie, and Joel wanted the movie to have an "Airplane"-esque feeling to it in the sense of some characters having that deadpan joking. He wanted that feeling to it, so we definitely watched those movies. Not necessarily "Naked Gun," but "Airplane" - just to get that sense of humor.
Ron: I have them. You name any stupid movie, and I have it. If it's on DVD or VHS, I own it, I've got it. I worship stupid movies.
Did you watch "Scary Movie?"
Chyler: No, I didn't actually watch it. To be quite honest, I didn't want to watch it. I didn't really have any desire to see the movie and then I read our script and I was so happy that they decided to do a movie that was going to spoof all the teen movies. I actually watched a couple scenes of "Scary Movie" the other night for the first time and our movie is way better. It is so much more clever and the writing is so much better. It's funnier. It's not just slap after slap after slap.
Ron: We spoof more movies in ours. We've got 19 films, they've got six.
Did you have any inner conflicts spoofing yourself?
Ron: No, I did not. When my agent got the breakdown and it said Reggie Ray, she said, "Lester, you're going to find this as a huge compliment." I said, "What's that?" She said, "Reggie Ray. Think Ron Lester, Billy Bob, 'Varsity Blues.'" I said, "Hell no. Ain't nobody making fun of me, but me." I went to Joel's office and I yanked all the pictures off the wall of all the people they thought were going to play me. I said, "When I do this movie, I want this, this and this." Of course, I didn't get anything I wanted, but I got to do the movie (laughing).
What is coming up next?
Chyler: I have a show that I'm doing for Fox called "That 80s Show." If you're familiar with "That 70s Show," they are doing the next decade. I play a punk rock character who has a mohawk and a nose ring. My name is Tuesday. We are shooting 12 episodes that are definitely picked up, but I have a feeling that it's going to last for awhile. The first episode is January 23rd.
They're Out of 'Practice'
Just one week after they were introduced at ABC's upfront presentation of its fall schedule to advertisers, most of the cast of the network's onetime hit The Practice have been dumped. In a statement, producer-writer David E. Kelley said that he had been forced to make cast changes because of "economic and creative realities." According to trade reports, ABC agreed to bring the drama back again for another season but pay only half what it did for the series last season, when it suffered a ratings meltdown in a new time period on Mondays. (It will be returning in its old Sunday-night slot.) Among those leaving the series are Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Chyler Leigh and Marla Sokoloff. In his statement, Kelley said, "I hope for all of them to recur if possible, and if I'm lucky, I'll get to work with them on future projects as well." It was not clear whether he meant that the actors might have recurring roles on the series. Daily Variety reported today (Tuesday) that McDermott was expected to be back for a four-episode guest stint.