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Actress Jaime Pressly, Telling 'The Truth'

Jaime Pressly attends the premiere of the film <em>I Love You, Man</em> on March 17.
Jaime Pressly attends the premiere of the film <em>I Love You, Man</em> on March 17.

Jaime Pressly, a co-star of the sitcom My Name Is Earl, has a new book that tells the story of her life so far, from childhood in the small town of Kinston, N.C., to winning an Emmy for her role as Joy Turner.

She recently shared some thoughts about the book — It's Not Necessarily Not The Truth — and her life in a conversation with Alex Cohen.

On growing up in Kinston:

"I was always the one in the family that thought outside of the box," she says. "I knew eventually I was going to outgrow it."

On her Grandmother Pressly, an inspiration for her Earl character, Joy:

"She was a spicy lady. She had no censor from her brain to her mouth. And she had no fear. ... Also very, very old-fashioned and refused to see anybody else's side or to grow with the times. ... Anyone who thought differently was just wrong."

On knowing that the Earl role would be ideal for her:

"My Grandfather Pressly's name is Earl. And he and I had a very close relationship. I read this character in the script — Joy — and immediately thought of my Grandmother Pressly. There is this need to be the center of attention. She's boisterous. She has sayings that no one else says." And the way she acts "is all based on how much love she has for her children and her family."

On her character Joy:

"There is one thing that all Southern women have in common ... they all have a survival instinct. Very tough. Thick-skinned. Not afraid to go through the fire."

On why the book is not a "memoir":

"That word 'memoir' is so tricky. I've been saying this is not my memoir. A memoir's something I would write when I am 65 years old. I'm 31." She says the book is "meant to be a love letter to my son" and "an uplifting story of redemption, of fight and struggle, of good and bad."

"I want it to influence girls or even young boys," she says. "I want you, after you read this book, to know that anything is possible."

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