Sigler, Jamie-Lynn 1981-
SIGLER, Jamie-Lynn 1981-
CAREER: Actress, singer, and model. Appeared as Meadow Soprano in HBO cable television series The Sopranos, beginning 1999; toured in musical theater production of Cinderella, 2001; cast as Belle in Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, 2002; filmed motion picture eXtreme Dating, 2002. Recorded pop album Here to Heaven, Edel North America, 2001. Spokesperson for National Eating Disorders Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for best young actress in a dramatic series, 1999 and 2000; ALMA nominee, 2001 and 2002.
(With Sheryl Berk) Wise Girl: What I've Learned about Life, Love, and Loss, Pocket Books (New York, NY), c. 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Best known as Meadow Soprano on HBO's extremely popular cable television series The Sopranos, Jamie-Lynn Sigler has also performed on Broadway and in motion pictures during a fast-growing career as an actress. Sigler's other creative pursuits include recording an album as a pop singer and signing to model for the Wilhelmina Agency. At age nineteen she had her first taste of fame with The Sopranos, which brought with it new opportunities and stresses. Between filming the series pilot and appearing in the first episode, Sigler lost twenty-five pounds through exercise bulimia. This experience eventually led her to take on yet another role, that of author, in order to share with others the dangers of eating disorders. With co-author Sheryl Berk, she wrote the memoir Wise Girl: What I've Learned about Life, Love, and Loss, which relates her experiences amongst celebrities, her professional life, and surviving potentially fatal threats to her health.
Sigler grew up in Jericho, New York with two older brothers. She began acting at age seven and first appeared in community theater. Despite her theatrical accomplishments and excellent grades in high school, Sigler suffered from a poor self-image and was driven by a desire to be perfect. When she discovered that extensive exercise caused her to lose weight, the young actress felt empowered. She did not know that the producers of The Sopranos, alarmed by her extreme weight loss, were secretly looking for her replacement. James Gandolfini, who plays the central role of Tony Soprano, had become a father figure to Sigler on and off screen and, as she relates, was particularly sensitive and supportive during this difficult time. Her health crisis was further complicated by a bout with Lyme disease, which temporarily paralyzed the actress. After two years of treatment with physicians and therapists, Sigler regained the weight she had lost and began speaking about her experience in order to educate others. Her book includes an afterword giving additional information on identifying eating disorders and treating them.
The book was well suited to its target audience of young readers, according to reviewers. A Publishers Weekly writer recommended the work for teens and would-be actors, and remarked that from the "candid if cliche-riddled commentary" the acress "emerges as a likeable person." Entertainment Weekly's Clarissa Cruz said that the book contained some "nonrevelations," but felt that they are far outweighed by the fact that "Sigler does her part to undermine the unattainable body images Hollywood deems golden."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, July 29, 2002, review of Wise Girl:What I've Learned about Life, Love, and Loss, p. 73.
Entertainment Weekly Online,http://ew.com/ (December 12, 2002), Clarissa Cruz, review of Wise Girl: What I've Learned about Life, Love, and Loss.*