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From Soprano To Fleiss

Jamie Lynn DiScala says she likes the evolution of her character, the mob princess, Meadow Soprano, in the hit HBO drama, "The Sopranos."

Over the past few years audiences watched Meadow graduate from high school, go on to college, and move out on her own. This season, Meadow's relationship with her parents, Tony and Carmela, appears a little strained.

The actress tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith her character is "continuing to evolve as a young woman. I'm liking where she's going. I have a lot of fun stuff coming up later in the season."

Next for the young actress was the title role in the made-for-TV movie, "The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss," a role she initially rejected.

"I try to do my due diligence with everything, especially my career," she says. "So I read the script, really trying to disconnect the fact of who Heidi was and do someone like this. And read it as a role I was interested in. Aside from Heidi and the subject matter and what the film is about, it's a phenomenal opportunity for me, being 22 years old, to play the lead in a film and play a role like this. That's really colorful and really difficult."

DiScala notes it was a challenge for her on many levels. As for the nudity, she says, "I had a body double. I'm not comfortable with on-camera nudity but there were things that were really difficult for me that I wouldn't want to do in every role that I choose. This is something so not Meadow, so not me. Not Belle (referring to her role in "Beauty And The Beast" on Broadway). No way. That's what you have to do as an actress, always challenge."

Now that the project is complete, she says she is pleased with it. "I'm a really tough critic on myself, but I'm happy with it and proud of my performance and the people I got to work with in it. If anything, I'm walking away with a reel completely different from anything I've done and I think I grew up."

DiScala has been married for eight months to her talent agent A.J. DiScala. And for those who may think she is too young to take the plunge, she says, "A lot of my girlfriends are 22 years old and I don't think they should be married. But for me, in my personal life, in my personal situation, I was lucky I found the love of my life at the age that I did and we didn't see any reason to wait."

And though she was already known as Jamie Lynn Sigler, the actress says a name change hasn't been a problem for her, career wise.

"My husband is my manager and I'm the only one that wanted to change my name," she says. "I'm extremely traditional. I love the tradition of starting a new family and changing your name. I hope to have children and I would like to represent our children with our name. I knew it would be work and somewhat of a problem. But it's been eight months and it's been OK. I have no problems correcting people and I am very proud of my new name."

About Jamie Lynn DiScala:

  • Born in Jericho, N.Y. (part of Long Island) on May 15, 1981, of Cuban, Jewish and Greek heritage.

    She started taking dance lessons at the age of 3; singing and acting followed at the age of 7.

  • In 1989, she made her stage debut at age 8 in a local regional theater production of Rodgers and Hermmerstein's "The Sound of Music."
  • From 1989 to 1992, she appeared in local theater productions around Long Island, including the lead role in "Annie," performed at Hofstra University.
  • In 1993, she landed her first professional role in a touring musical version of "It's A Wonderful Life" and took five months off from school to travel the United States with the show.
  • In 1997, made her film debut with a small part in the movie "A Brooklyn State of Mind."
  • In 1999, she was cast in the role of Meadow Soprano on David Chase's HBO drama pilot "The Sopranos."
  • In 2000, she appeared in low-budget horror movie "Campfire Stories."
  • In 2001, she toured with a theater company in the title role of "Cinderella" alongside Eartha Kitt. She also released her debut pop album "Here to Heaven."
  • In 2002, she co-starred in the comedy feature "Extreme Dating" with Devon Sawa, Amanda Detmer and Andrew Keegan. The same year, she publicly admitted to having struggled with anorexia and exercise addiction and became a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association.

    She also played Belle in Disney's Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast."


Awards:
  • Received The Actor for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for "The Sopranos" (1999).
  • Received Young Star Award for Young Actress in a Drama TV Series for "The Sopranos" (2000). Sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Received Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for "The Sopranos" (2000).