Dedee Pfeiffer believes it’s important to “Look at life through a lens of curiosity not resistance.” The actress and single mother of two teen boys currently portray Denise Brisbane, a smart and sassy office administrator on the ABC breakout hit drama series, Big Sky. Pfeiffer knows the importance of looking at challenges through a lens of curiosity firsthand.
Big Sky marks Pfeiffer’s return to acting after a ten-year absence where she was raising her two sons, battling addiction, getting her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and eventually a master’s degree in social work. Pfeiffer is obviously curious about a lot of things. Pfeiffer had played Sheri Winston in the sitcom For Your Love and Rachel Blanders in the TV series Cybill, as well as countless television credits which include Friends, ER, and Seinfeld. She’s also appeared in films alongside George Clooney, Michael Douglas, and Keanu Reeves in addition to appearing alongside her sister, Michelle Pfeiffer, in Up Close & Personal, and Frankie and Johnny.
You’ve been very outspoken on how you battled addiction during your hiatus from Hollywood, what advice would you share with anyone else who is struggling?
I tend to take on an “all or nothing” sort of mentality in many areas of my life and battling alcohol addiction wasn’t any different. I began to realize that I needed to tell myself to take baby steps. When a challenge seems overwhelming, I tell myself to take smaller steps and help set myself up for success. In terms of a strategy for overall wellness, I think that reframing my self-talk was a crucial step. My own inner voice and self-talk were abominable. I think this is true for many of us and, if you really examine it, you will realize that you would never speak to or treat a stranger as cruelly as you do to yourself. The way we think becomes a feeling, and a feeling becomes a behavior. When I start to have a dark moment where my inner critic is surfacing, I stop and check myself. I literally will ask myself, “Is there any fact in truth to corroborate this thought?” I have vowed not to treat myself worse than I would anyone else. It’s such an important step to treat yourself with forgiveness and compassion.
Big Sky, the ABC crime thriller series, is a breakout hit, and your role as feisty Denise Brisbane comes after a long hiatus from Hollywood. How did the role come about and what was it like returning to acting after such a lengthy absence?
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