Sharon Lawrence takes an old fashioned approach to beauty.
"It's about working out and eating clean. I wish I could tell you some magic secret," says the "NYPD" alum who has a meaty role on "Rizzoli & Isles" as Maura's biological mother.
She will appear on two episodes this month as Hope, a woman who gave us Maura (Sasha Alexander) for adoption. Hope is a famous doctor with a bunch of secrets although that doesn't prevent her from helping her daughter with a big case.
Of course, Lawrence looks absolutely ageless on both episodes.
I ask for her beauty secrets and she just laughs.
"I like to sweat, " says the 51-year-old. "The best way I find to do that is in spin class. I also do Pilates to build bone mass, which is important at this age.
"My goal is to keep my bones strong. All women should focus on that much more than any cosmetic change," she says.
Of course, Lawrence does admit to a few weaknesses.
"I'm from North Carolina. In general, I try to stay away from fried stuff, but I do have my Southern roots," she says. "We have great fried oysters and I indulge once in awhile."
"You need to enjoy yourself, too," she says.
LAWRENCE ON "RIZZOLI & ISLES"
She says her guest-starring role on "Rizzoli & Isles" is a juicy one.
"Maura has been longing for knowledge about this huge part of her life, which is her missing mother. It's painful for her and creates this ambivilance about her identity," Lawrence says.
"She's asking the basic question: Is it nature or nurture?" Lawrence says. "Those questions are swirling in her mind. She's so analytical that it makes her restless for answers about the mother she doesn't know. Yet, her mother is in her heart and her DNA although she feels abandoned."
Lawrence says it gets even deeper. "This storyline is about an ancient wound that many of us have about mothers.
"Some of us have difficult mothers in real life or absentee ones or surrogate ones," she says. "The relationship you have with your mother is so primal. You really can't rest until you explore it."
She says her character's profession also plays into it.
"Maura finds out that her mother is not only alive, but they share a common interest. They're in the same field," she says.
"I'm enlisted by my daughter to help her crack a case, she says. "My character is a specialist who tries to reunite bodies with their DNA."
SHARON LAWRENCE ON AGING
She says that doing what she loves keeps her young.
"I always knew I was good at acting," Lawrence says. "That was my skill set. I was also good at math.
"It's funny as you get older you really do think about how you could have taken a different path," she says. "In my case, I didn't get a degree in theater, but I got a degree in journalism.
"I guess I was pragmatic!" she says. "I learned early on that just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should do it for a living."
But she did pursue acting for a living to great success on shows like "NYPD Blues"
"I know now that pursing art is a noble, rewarding part of life. It doesn't have to be your career. You can serve it in other ways and it can serve you."
WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW?
To finish, I ask her my favorite question: What do you know now that you didn't know in your 20s and 30s?
"I know that sometimes we're not in charge," she says. "I know what you want and the decisions you make that you think will determine the rest of your life might not work out that way.
"You might be driving towards the place you think you're supposed to be .....but that can change on a dime."
"I think that most important thing I've learned is that God willing we're all going to live for a long time.
"So, you have to make smart choices meaning don't do stupid things," she says.
"I also know that you don't have to sweat every moment," she says. "You will mess up. And you don't have to decide everything about your life right now - at any age."