Push up bras?
''Oh yeah, the push-up bras became the big issue. Next
to Shannen and Alyssa I look positively deprived, so
they had me in one of those. I wore it for a while,
but then finally I was like, this is ridiculous.''
Holly Marie Combs is dressed in sandals, sweatpants
and a t-shirt. She has just lit a cigarette, something
she only does when she's nervous and she's nervous
about how she'll come off in print. She should save
it; she's a charmer. She has this cute-as-your-buddy's-
kid-sister look that's immediately apparent. Then, as
you sit with her, there are glimpses of something
smoldering under the surface.
Maybe it's because her mother was only 15 when she had
Holly Marie. They lived near the beach in San Diego,
but moved to New York when the future actress was
''We lived in a little box of an apartment,'' Holly
recalls, ''me, my mom, my stepfather, and a huge
Siberian Husky. I was the angriest little person
imaginable. I woke up with a frown every morning. I
barely talked, wore black all the time, and had some
serious teenage rebellion years.''
But, she explains, the rebellion failed.''
''My parents were both musicians,'' she says, ''which
made it impossible. When I was 16, I got some tattoos
(a braid on each wrist and a rose on her shoulder),
and my stepfather said, ''Oh, I want one like that.'''
Five years of emotionally charged acting - beginning
with a part on Picket Fences that was rewritten for
her - and a short-lived marriage cooled much of
Holly's fire, though. On this day, she's enjoying the
temporary unemployment of the Charmed hiatus. She has
just come from horseback riding, is looking forward to
reuniting with the puppy Alyssa Milano's mother just
gave her, and is recently engaged to a second-grade
teacher from Venice Beach.
As Combs watches the smoke coil off her cigarette, she
looks positively languid. Until, that is, our
conversation drifts to Reason To Believe, a little-
known independent feature with a brief love scene that
turned her into an Internet pin-up girl.
''Lauren Holly [of Picket Fences] asked me to do a
part in it with her husband Danny Quinn,'' Holly
explains. ''I hadn't read the script, but I flew to
Ohio during a break from Picket Fences. All I went off
was what Lauren had told me. She was like, 'It's a
great monologue, but I'm just a little nervous because
you might have to kiss Danny.'
''I never thought that this one shot of me taking my
shirt off could be free-framed into 15 different
pictures. All you had to do was search for my name and
the first thing that came up was 'Holly Marie gets
Fortunately for Holly, Milano's mother had some
experience in getting porn off the Internet and by
threatening a law suit, got the photos removed.
''I was really lucky my pictures weren't getting 1,000
hits a day,'' Holly says. ''The guys who posted it
were like, 'Yeah, we'll take them down no problem.'''
''I guess that's the good part of being an under-
rated, under-valued...'' Underdog?
''Yeah, an underdog. I like that.''