Actress Pauley Perrette: Self-described recluse offers 7 stay-at-home tips in coronavirus age

While everyone has their own specific shelter-in-place situation, Perrette, 50, sees it as an opportunity to learn things and develop new skills.

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Actress Pauley Perrette attends The Trevor Project’s 2016 TrevorLIVE LA in 2016.

Actress Pauley Perrette attends The Trevor Project’s 2016 TrevorLIVE LA in 2016.

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Quarantine, self-isolation and governmental stay-at-home orders are forcing many people to make dramatic changes to their lives, but what’s becoming the new normal doesn’t faze ”NCIS” alum Pauley Perrette.

“I am a notorious recluse. And I’m also a notorious germophobe,” says Perrette, who stars in upcoming CBS sitcom “Broke” (8:30 p.m., April 2). “I’m always making excuses when I don’t want to go anywhere, so now I don’t have to. I’m suddenly cool for the first time ever.” 

So California’s recent stay-at-home order, one of a number of restrictions affecting millions of Americans across the country, doesn’t require much adjustment to her daily routine. Perrette, who became friends with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti years ago as part of her non-profit work, offered him a list of tips titled, “How to survive being a recluse.”

“I’m a recluse. Eric’s not. He’s a really social guy,” she says of the mayor, who has instituted strict limitations in Los Angeles. “He texted, ‘Do you have any advice for people who are having to be you right now?’ I did. I told him I could teach a master class.”

While everyone has their own specific stay-at-home situation, Perrette, 50, sees it as an opportunity to learn things and develop new skills. Here are her seven tips for making the most of enforced domesticity from the “single mother of three rescue dogs and four Venus flytraps.”

1. Foster a pet

“I have a houseful of dogs, which helps. It helps if you have a pet,” says Perrette, an animal-rescue activist whose three dogs are named Rosie, Grace and Bug. “There are are lot of rescue organizations, from national Petfinder to your local rescues. Now is a really fantastic time to foster a dog. You don’t have to take on the full commitment of adopting. You just take a critter into your house and get them used to being part of a family (and) being part of a house setting. When the dog – or the cat – eventually finds its forever home, they’re already used to that setting.” 

2. Nurture your green thumb

“I love to plant things,” Perrette says. “I have an Amaryllis that I was tweeting about. They bloom and it’s so beautiful and then they go dormant and come back. This is year two. His name is She and my four Venus flytraps are Audrey 1, Audrey 2, Audrey 3 and Steve,” a nod to “Little Shop of Horrors.” 

“I’m working on them right now. It’s really interesting and fun to do. I’m starting bonsai trees. We’ll see how that goes. And the next adventure is cactus,” she says. “I have a yard, but a lot of these things can grow inside.”

3. Learn a new skill on YouTube

“YouTube is crazy, but it’s awesome. And it’s super-informative,” Perrette says of the site’s many how-to videos. “You could come out of quarantine and know how to play the guitar (or) knit a sweater. You could just say, ‘I’m going to use this time alone to come out of this knowing a whole new skill.’”

4. Reconnect with an old skill: using the telephone

In our technologically advanced age, telephone communications often take a back seat to digital conversations. But there’s something important about hearing a human voice. 

So make a phone call! “Actually call people and talk to them,” she says. 

5. Catch up on reading

Take a second look at the selections that may be gathering dust on your bookshelf. “Books! Our old friends! I constantly read books,” she says.

6. Exercise in place

Perrette says you can turn your home into your own fitness center. “Learn the simple art of using your own body weight to work out. There’s no need to go to a gym. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, wall presses, running up and down stairs. Everything you need to get in shape, you have,” she says. 

There are plenty of videos for that, too.

7. Watch TV

“I love television. That’s my favorite thing to do. And I watch network TV. I don’t want to watch any of the other stuff,” she says. ”I love sitcoms. I love ‘Survivor,’ ‘The Amazing Race,’ ‘Big Brother.’ I know all these shows are on CBS but that is not a plug. … My very favorite show is ’The People’s Court’ with Judge Marilyn Milan. She’s my spirit animal!”


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