Playing the smart, spirited and strong-willed Kristina Braverman on NBC's Parenthood has left a mark on Monica Potter. "This character couldn't help but bleed into my own life," she says of her role in the drama in its sixth and final season. "Kristina has helped me come out of my cocoon as a human being. I've learned to take bigger risks." Potter, who attended Villa Angela Academy and Euclid High School, will soon be splitting time between LA and Cleveland, where her Monica Potter Home business that offers items from hand-embroidered towels to soy-based candles recently launched its headquarters. Potter chats with us about saying goodbye to Parenthood, her favorite scenes and finding a long lost yo-yo.
Q. How is the cast dealing with Parenthood's end?
A. We're all bummed about it. We deeply care for each other, and the connection we have doesn't stop on the screen. We're so lucky to have been able to do this. I could do this show forever.
Q. What are your favorite scenes from the show?
A. My scenes with Max [her character's son with Asperger's syndrome], when I taught him how to dance and when I picked him up from camp because somebody had peed in his canteen. And any time I got to spend on screen with Craig T. [Nelson]. I have such an affinity for him, because he reminds me so much of my dad, who I still feel guidance from even though he's gone.
Q. In season four your character was diagnosed with breast cancer. How difficult was that to portray?
A. I have so many friends who have gone through it that I felt very centered when I was doing that storyline. I also relied heavily on the cast and crew, making sure the story was told with integrity and without any exploitation.
Q. You recently purchased your childhood home, where you'll base Monica Potter Home. Why?
A. I wanted to buy it ever since we moved in 1987 [laughs]. I kept having these dreams about it, and the dreams became stronger and stronger. It was literally haunting me until I bought it last May. I even found my yo-yo under the kitchen table.