Tiffani Thiessen would look pretty good at her high school reunions. Both of them.
The “White Collar” actress, who of course will forever be remembered by Gen X-ers as cheerleader Kelly Kapowski on “Saved by the Bell,” got some people to sit up and pay attention at a storytelling event recently. The Valley Professional/Bayside High School alum was there to listen to the likes of Octavia Spencer, Nathan Lane, and her co-star Matt Bomer tell personal tales at “The Moth’s Storytelling Tour: A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power.” USA Network teamed up with the Moth, a New York-based organization that just this week received a MacArthur Foundation grant, for the national tour. Besides live readings, the not-for-profit Moth hosts the weekly Moth Radio Hour and broadcasts in 250 stations about 10 times a year. The tour so far has showcased the likes of Meghan McCain, Pam Grier, and Army Lt. Dan Choi who publicly protested “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Since 2009, the 38-year-old Thiessen has been playing Elizabeth Burke, married to Bomer’s character Peter Burke, on the USA cable show. And just like a good wife, Thiessen — with other co-workers — was at the West Hollywood event to support Bomer’s recent public acknowledgment of his same-sex partner, Simon Halls, and their three kids. “I adore Matt. I adore his family,” Thiessen said at the event. “I think he’s beautiful and I think his family is beautiful.”
Thiessen herself, of course, is known for being — OK, besides beautiful — a dedicated family woman herself. Her grandparents were together 67 years, and her parents have been married since 1963. After one broken engagement to former “Two Guys and a Girl” co-star Richard Ruccolo, Thiessen has been a wife to actor/artist Brady Smith and mom to their toddler, Harper. “I’m in more of a supporting role, which is nice right now, as a mom,” she told Parade magazine recently. “And being older, I appreciate it more. I don’t think you understand what a job really is when you’re a teenager.”
The focus means that, despite “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon’s efforts, the former Miss Junior America isn’t interested in any “Saved by the Bell” reunion. “It’s not something I want or need to do, and a few of us feel the same way,” Thiessen said in that same interview. “We’re all doing our own thing. Jimmy’s never called me personally, only his producers. He might be a little harder to turn down.”
That shouldn’t be a surprise: Thiessen also passed on a “Beverly Hills 90210” rehash back in 2003, although she did share a nice Italian double date with her hubby, former castmate Jason Priestley, and Priestley’s then-pregnant wife. Thiessen has steadily worked in made-for-TV movies, guest spots on sitcoms, and had a few roles in series that didn’t last long.
Her one cinematic moment was in the Woody Allen film, “Hollywood Ending” (2002) and she did pull a directorial debut with a short called “Just Pray,” which made the festival rounds in 2005. Now she’s sticking to her third regular gig: Season 3 of “White Collar,” which airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on USA, made its winter premiere January 17.