Six Pack of Pop: Alyssa Milano
July 17, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Actress Alyssa Milano, who’s currently starring on the ABC Series “Mistresses” and guest hosting on “Project Runway -- All-Stars” attended her first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race July 6 at Daytona International Speedway to launch her “Touch” brand of NASCAR-themed women’s clothing. NASCAR.com caught up with her on race morning amidst her day-long media blitz for a Six Pack of Pop:
You got to meet some of the drivers' wives and girlfriends race morning, what was their reaction to your “Touch” clothing line?
It was really special. I find I’m on the right track with the clothing line and designs when the wives of the athletes like it. And that’s always a very scary thing for me because I know they are probably sent everything as far as the other brands and what else is out there. So if the wives like it, I know I’m on the right track. It’s a real ‘whew’ moment.
I always said that “pink it and shrink it” mentality was always the man’s answer to women’s sports apparel. With Touch it’s the female perspective because I’m a huge sports fan. It’s just a different aesthetic when a woman is designing for a woman.
What were the challenges of designing for NASCAR versus your NFL and MLB apparel?
My other licensing is league license so you just have all the teams and their logos. With NASCAR, it’s such a specialty because of the sponsors and logos so we created all that in-house and really worked with the teams. And we had to get approval. It was really a feat.
That’s the good thing we do. That’s why the company is called Touch, I want everything to have a personal touch. I feel like since we’re not a large corporation like Nike or Adidas we can run the business like a mom and pop organization and be real hands on.
I’m very proud of it and take a lot of pride in what we do. I want the line to stand on its own, not be just another celebrity line, so I’m very aware of the appearances I make and how it’s publicized because I want it to outlast me. I have people tell me they bought a blouse and didn’t even realize it until they saw me on (Late Night with Jimmy) Fallon. It’s important to me this has legs beyond my career.
How was your pace car ride?
I did the pace car twice – once in a Toyota and once in a Chevy. That was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I could feel my head going like this (sideways motion) because it’s going so fast and I actually had a little headache. It was amazing.
I took my best friend with me and he was screaming like such a little girl.
NASCAR races are more like day-long events, what were your initial impressions driving into the track?
You can really feel the sense of community when you walk around just seeing everybody and all the families. It’s so lovely to see that. And I think that’s an extension of how NASCAR is run.
Do you have a favorite driver yet?
I’m going to meet Danica today and I’m really looking forward to that. What I like is that she has not lost her feminity and that’s the whole thing behind the line. We can be tomboys, but we still want to feel pretty. And we still want to look good in our clothes. I think she is a great example of everything the clothing line tries to do.’’
What was the biggest takeaway from coming to the race track?
You don’t have an appreciation when you watch it on TV of how steep the banking is. It was crazy. When I was in the car with Brett (Bodine), he stopped in the corner and it was crazy, like we were just hanging there. I don’t think you can truly appreciate the skill of the drivers until you feel the speed on the track.
This is my first race I ever went to except that (her former "Who’s The Boss" co-star) Tony Danza used to always do the Celebrity Pro Race in Long Beach. I used to watch him all the time when I was little. So I already appreciate these drivers as athletes. I mean I have a hard time driving my Mercedes in Studio City, California so I appreciate them and what they do even more. They have to be so strong.
What’s been the reaction from your friends and co-stars about your involvement in a NASCAR apparel line?
We wrapped (shooting) in December for “Mistresses” and I’m shooting “Project Runway All-Stars” right now. (Designer) Issak Misrahi and I were talking just the other day about this opportunity and they (show co-stars) love it (NASCAR).
You can’t deny one of the perks of having this (clothing) line is I get such amazing treatment at all the best sporting events in the world. Once my son is old enough to really appreciate it (he’s 22 months), he’s going to think I’m the coolest mom ever.’