Long before she published her new memoir, “This Will Only Hurt a Little,” actress Busy Philipps was already sharing her life story through another medium: Instagram. Speaking directly to her 1.3 million followers, the star of “Freaks and Geeks,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Cougar Town” often updates her feed multiple times a day, posting everything from candid photos of her two young kids to sweaty, makeup-free workout videos.
“In the past couple of years, [Instagram] has played a fairly huge role in my career,” says the 39-year-old Hollywood veteran of two decades. “Because I’m able to do ads directly on there, I can supplement my income so I’m not panicked and taking a job I don’t want to take.”
But as Philipps recently discovered, the benefits of her social-media savvy reach even beyond additional income. Thanks to her feed and her bubbly, candid and sometimes wry personality, the Los Angeles-based mom has never been . . . well, busier. With the memoir and her new late-night talk show, “Busy Tonight,” premiering on E! on Sunday, she’s moving away from a string of comedic supporting roles and into a starring one: herself.
“I’ve always been a fairly open person,” Philipps says, adding, “With social media, [people like me] just have a platform for it.”
The novice talk-show host says it helps to have experienced friends, including Chelsea Handler and Stephen Colbert, who’ve offered their advice — including suggesting some people she should hire to work on the show. Even so, she realizes she’s taking a serious risk. “What if I’m not great at it, what if people don’t love it, what if I don’t love it?” she says. “It’s the fear of the unknown.”
Still, she believes her natural curiosity will serve her well when it comes to interviewing other celebrities. Teasers for “Busy Tonight” show that her future guests will include Julia Roberts, as well as Philipps’ longtime bestie, Michelle Williams. “I’m genuinely interested in people — what drives them, where they come from and where they want to go,” she says. “And also, what they use on their skin and what they ate for lunch.”
Her dream guest? “Oprah. This is a big deal for me. I’ve never met her, but we’re gonna get her. She’s gonna come someday.”
Philipps is married to Marc Silverstein, writer of the romantic comedies “Never Been Kissed,” “He’s Just Not That Into You” and, most recently, the Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty,” in which Philipps played a supporting role. Juggling the demands of work and family is a “struggle” at times, says Philipps, who’s not only an actress and author but an avid cake decorator. Still, she adds, it’s also “something I’m lucky to be able to do . . . love two things independently. I love working and being a mom.”
It helps, she says, to know that her girls — Birdie, 10, and Cricket, 5 — are proud of her. She says her youngest daughter just brought a hardcover copy of Philipps’ book to her kindergarten class for show and tell.
“I didn’t know she was doing it,” Philipps says, sounding touched. “Her teacher e-mailed me [afterward], because she knows I’m away for work. And she told me Cricket said: ‘This is my mom’s book. She wrote it all by herself. That’s why they put her picture on the cover.’ ”
“Busy Tonight” premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on E!
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