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Jennie Garth: 'Being self-conscious is sort of a rite of passage'

Wonderwall, Friday, August 6, 2010, 11:52am (PDT)

By Molly McGonigle

Ever since her claim to fame as Kelly Taylor on the original "90210," Jennie Garth has been a style and pop culture icon for girls everywhere. And now as a mom, Garth is using her style knowledge to encourage kids to have positive self-esteem, something she admits is not always easy. The actress chatted with Wonderwall about back-to-school fashion trends, raising her kids with "Twilight"'s Peter Facinelli and why having a good smile is so important.

Wonderwall: Tell us a little bit about your campaign with the American Association of Orthodontists.

Jennie Garth: Well I'm here in New York with my daughter and were hosting the the Style 'N Smile fashion show which is hosted by the American Association of Orthodontists. And it's all about promoting self-esteem and displaying the latest back-to-school fashions. And also the most important fashion trend, the beautiful, healthy smile that never goes out of style.

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WW: You were still pretty young on the original "90210." Were you ever self-conscious about your looks or teeth?

JG: Yes, unfortunately, being self-conscious is sort of a rite of passage. It's something we all deal with. And even when you're more older I think that when we look in the mirror and there's something we don't like, we think about it. That's why giving children and young people the opportunity to go see an orthodontist and improve their smile is so important. It really goes hand in hand with self-esteem. Because when you meet someone your smile is the first thing they see. And a lot of people go at great lengths to hide their smiles and they're embarrassed by their teeth. There are lots of new options out there for braces and the cost of braces. Things are a lot different than they used to be when I was younger.

WW: What do you tell teenagers/kids who are nervous about getting braces and being made fun of?

JG: Well, my daughter got her braces when she was 11 or 12. And she was nervous at first, thought they would hurt, but she really had a great experience with them. She's really happy with the results and she has a lot more self-confidence now. And she feels really good about her smile. And I feel really fortunate to be able to provide that for her. And you know, her dentist at the biyearly checkup said we had to take Luca to an orthodontist and they gave us a referral and we went and saw one. And we followed the recommendations and were very happy with the results. I think it's important for kids to get the information and for parents to take their kids to get that information about orthodontics. Get a referral from your dentist. Or visit braces.org, it's a website to locate orthodontists in your area.

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WW: How do you encourage positive self-esteem in your daughters?

JG: You know Peter and I try to be really involved with our girls on just about every level. You know promoting in them to do things that they're passionate about. Finding things that they really love doing so they can do something wholeheartedly. Teaching them how important it is to be involved with the community and feel like they're giving back in some way. And just supporting them. We go to every ball game, recital and performance. We have family dinner with them. Just try to instill that sense of family morals because that's really the backbone of who they are and what they're going to go off and be in life.

WW: What are some back-to-school fashion trends that your kids are particularly loving?

JG: Well as I said I have a 13-year-old girl, she's got a really great sense of style. She loves layering T-shirts. And wearing little skirts with Converse or flats. I loved the layered look, though, and throwing on accessories. She's really into rings and little jewelry right now. But there's lots of great ideas, if people need ideas, to go to the braces.org and it will show you some of the styles we are showing at the fashion show.

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