(CBS Local)– Melissa Joan Hart has been a mainstay in Hollywood since the 1990s.
Hart starred on shows like “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” and is excited to explore the next chapter of her career as a director. The actor and director is fascinated by how her shows were seminal childhood experiences for people around the world.
“The thing I hear the most from people is ‘I grew up with you,'” said Hart in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “It’s just such a nice compliment. It’s a nice thing to hear and I’ve heard it so much that at first I was like that’s cool and then it started to really grow on me that all these people think they grew up with me. It’s such a nice compliment to think you were in someone’s living room and it’s so personal. I get why people have that familiarity. For a while there it was ‘oh you’re that witch’ or ‘you’re that girl that tells it all.’ People would always mess up that name. Then all of the sudden it became I grew up with you. That was such a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling.”
Hart was recognized as Clarissa or Sabrina for a long time, but being on “Dancing With The Stars” and “Melissa & Joey” helped to flip that. Hart says that her kids have seen a little bit of her stuff from the past and it actually helps when it comes to teaching her children a lesson.
“I recently showed my seven year old the pancake episode of Sabrina because I was trying to explain sugar addiction and get him to eat healthier. I tried to explain sugar addiction to him and I said let’s watch an episode of Sabrina. I used it as a learning tool. It [the show] was a franchise and it was international. People all over the world loved it.”
The star of “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” got the opportunity to first direct on the series in the early 2000s and that experience has led to several directing opportunities and more in the future once Hollywood begins production again after the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had these really seasoned directors that would come on set and ask how do we do the cat and I would have to explain it,” said Hart. “I realized I should just do this. My mother was my executive producer, threw me my DGA [Directors Guild of America] cards and said you’re directing the next one. Thank God she did that because who knows if I would’ve ever taken that lead. It was really hard to be in front and behind the camera. I’ve done multi-cam and single cam. Now, there is such a call for female directors. “The Goldbergs” wanted me to direct an episode and then it was “Young Sheldon” and “Schooled.” As soon as the world opens up again, I’ll be directing a Christmas movie for Lifetime and “Punky Brewster,” a new show for Peacock. There still are not that many female directors in the industry.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.