Last updated: Feb 13, 2009
Jack Guy
In a few short years, Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly has earned a rabid following for her portrayal of Lyla Garrity, the complicated girlfriend of a high school football star in a tiny Texas town. Its no surprise that Kelly has show business in her blood—her mother was a former Las Vegas showgirl, while dad was a guitarist for Aerosmith. (Steven Tyler, of all people, was an early babysitter.)

The 28-year-old former model—who is reportedly dating New York Yankee Derek Jeter—now splits her time between her native Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, where the show is taped. The actress strives to find happiness in everyday life, even as she attempts to cope with the recent death of her mother. Here, she shares the secrets to her positive outlook.

Q: What aspects of your health are you fanatical about?
A: Getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water are the most underrated, simple, and beneficial things you can do for your health. I also have to sleep a full eight hours. And I like to take my half-hour power naps in the middle of the day.

Q: Youve been described as “simultaneously curvy and toned.” Do you try for that?
A: Well, if I didnt work out as hard as I do, Id be really thick. [Laughs.] Thats also hard, because I love to eat. But its about wanting to take care of myself, as opposed to wanting to look a certain way. I dont really ever stand on a scale.

It can be self-defeating to weigh yourself every day. Then you end up obsessing over it. And if youre working out and gaining muscle, your weight is not going to go down, but your fat could be decreasing.

Q: Whats your workout regimen?
A: I do a lot of running, which I enjoy for mental reasons, too. Ill be really frazzled and run for 30 minutes, and everything sort of seems clear again.

Q: Is there any form of exercise that just wasnt for you?
A: I did Bikram yoga for a while, and I know thats not for me. Too hot!

Q: Any secret-weapon foods?
A: I always have a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with some cut-up strawberries
for breakfast. Its just the quickest, healthiest breakfast. And it fills me up.

Q: Whats your eating vice?
A: Im a dessert freak. I looove peach cobbler. Everything in moderation. Have a cheat day—Whoo! Sundays Cheat Day. Im gonna have my peach cobbler!—then its exciting, and you really enjoy it.
Q: How do you save money?
A: I dont impulse buy. If I see something I want, Ill put it on hold. If I really want it several hours later, Ill go back and get it.

Q: How are you extravagant?
A: I feel you should not be frugal with skin care. You only get one face. And sheets! You spend half your life in your bed, so make it really comfortable. Dont get the cheap sheets!

Q: Is there anything that you used to do when you were younger that you cringe to think about now?
A: Eating pizza at midnight with my girlfriends. It would be like, ‘Lets order some pizza. Id eat five slices, no problem, and then go straight to bed. Oh, boy. Cant do that now.

Q: You were once a model. In what ways did it prepare you for having your looks—and body—under the microscope in Hollywood?
A: I never really took the idea of me being a model seriously, because I never thought that I had the body for it. Im five-feet-five, and I have a bubble butt and pretty big thighs. So I learned quickly just to be happy with what Ive got—and make the best of it. If Im built thick, OK, then, Ill make it strong.

Q: What do you think about stars in their 20s getting Botox?
A: Whatever you have to do to make yourself happy, then Im all for it. Im personally afraid to do it at my age, but thats not to say that when my boobs are down to my knees that I wont go and get them fixed up. [Laughs.]
Q: So, we have to ask, are you single? There have been photos of you with a certain baseball player … [Derek Jeter].
A: [Laughs.] I have lots of great friends, and Im very happy. Id just like to keep it at that!

Q: What is the toughest thing that youve faced so far in your career?
A: When I first started out, I wanted everyone to like me. If someone didnt, then it would absolutely devastate me. The toughest thing I had to learn was that some people are going to like you and some arent. And when youre focusing all this energy on the people who dont like you, you could be putting it into people who do love you and deserve your time.

Q: How do you cope with stress?
A: I run to my dad, and he talks me through it. I do outdoor stuff with my dog. And I also write in my journal. Writing it all down is the most therapeutic thing—aside from going to a therapist. Therapy is a really healthy thing to do: You dont always want to burden your friends with everything.

Q: We were so sorry to hear about your mom. Whats the most valuable lesson she taught you?
A: The most valuable thing my mom ever taught me was how to love.

Q: How do you stay happy?
A: I think its about keeping things in perspective and appreciating what you have. Life cant be great all the time. Youre going to have highs and lows—you cant appreciate one without the other. I want to be happy, and I think thats just a decision you make when you wake up in the morning.