The Celebrity Collector:
CSI: Miami's Emily Procter Loves Going to
Garage Sales and Flea Markets

By Mike McLeod

If you are a fan of TV's top rated show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, then you probably know that its new spin-off, CSI: Miami, is a top rated show, too. What you may not know is one of its stars is an avid collector.

Emily Procter, who plays bilingual ballistics expert Calleigh Duquesne on CSI: Miami, is always on the hunt for an antique or a treasure, and she loves going to garage sales, flea markets and antiques shops.

Emily is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of East Carolina University, but not in acting.

"I tried to get in the theater department, but it was full."

Emily studied journalism and dance, and after graduation she landed a job as the weather girl on Greenville's CBS affiliate. Later, she moved to L.A., took acting lessons, auditioned for two years, and then began landing small roles.

Here's a little quiz. In which of the following did Emily appear?

a. Jerry McGuire
b. Leaving Las Vegas
c. The West Wing
d. Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!

The answer: all of the above. Emily played Debbie in Leaving Las Vegas, she was the former girlfriend in Jerry McGuire, and Mavis in the Dukes. Emily was also featured in several other movies, including Guinevere, Body Parts, The Big Tease, and The Family Plan with Leslie Nielsen. Her big break came in HBO's Breast Men with David Schwimmer. Contrary to the title, the movie follows the careers of two Texas doctors who invented breast implants in the 1960s. Emily's character receives implants and later wants them removed.

Emily later acted with David Schwimmer again in an episode of Friends. And you may remember seeing her as a guest star on Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman, Just Shoot Me and Early Edition. Emily's big TV break came with a recurring role on The West Wing. She played a tenacious Republican lawyer who was hired to work in the White House after giving Sam (Rob Lowe) a verbal thrashing over political ideology.

From The West Wing, Emily was invited to join David Caruso and the cast on the new series CSI: Miami, and so far, the ratings have been great-in the top ten over the summer and often in the number one spot.

Recently, Emily was kind enough to take time out during her shooting schedule to answer a few questions via e-mail about her other talent, antiquing and collecting.

You were profiled recently in a magazine, and in the photo layout, there were some wonderful shots of your home. (You have excellent taste, I might add.) The article said you like to visit garage sales, flea markets and junk stores, and it showed a photo of an armoire that you picked up for $200. What do you like to collect?

Emily: At the moment, my area of obsession is animal art. My newest piece of treasure is a pair of brass candlesticks shaped like cobras. I believe they were made in the early 1900s. I bought them at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in North Carolina.

You were born in Raleigh and attended East Carolina University. When did you begin collecting and how did you get the bug?

Emily: Oh my gosh, did my mom tell you to ask me that? I was trained under the watchful eye of all the women in my family. Treasure hunting (as we can call it) is a family tradition.

Do you have a favorite place to shop or a favorite antique shop?

Emily: In LA, I go to a lot of estate sales (people in California tend to get rid of older styles). In North Carolina, I go to the Carolina Antique Mall-lots of things to see. Also in North Carolina, there are many great places in Morehead City and Beaufort. I also have great luck in Memphis. Brimfield is also wonderful.

When it comes to antiques, what really catches your eye?

Emily: I love Louis Phillipe French Colonial American. I adore square furniture. I don't know why, it just appeals to me. At the moment, I'm also searching for Victorian-shaped cups and saucers, but with plain bands of color (with gold), such as peach, greens, and blues.

How do the flea markets and garage sales in North Carolina compare with those in California where you live now? Are you finding good things in L.A.?

Emily: I have found there are good things everywhere, if you just look.
What are some of the most treasured items you have found at a flea market, garage sale or antique shop?

My favorite items always require some sort of bargaining. The candlesticks I mentioned above I originally saw in an antique store in LA for $1,100. I got them for $75. I bought a Morris chair for $50, an Empire mirror with original glass for $45, and a gilded frame for 50 cents. The list goes on. That's my favorite part-the bargain.

With all the stars you've met during your acting career thus far, you could have a very good collection of Hollywood memorabilia and autographs. Have you collected anything from the stars you've worked with-Tom Cruise, Sam Neill, David Caruso, Nicolas Cage, Dean Cain, Matt LeBlanc, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Anniston, or the cast of The West Wing?

Emily: I actually haven't, but now you're making me think I should start, maybe tomorrow.

Have you talked antiquing or collecting with any other celebrities there in Hollywood? Care to drop any names?

Emily: Just today I had lunch with Paula Marshall and Laura Leighton. I'm about to begin working on Paula's kitchen and Laura's office. The two of them have very different styles, so I think it will be a lot of fun.

(Paula Marshall has guest starred on Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, Spin City and Nash Bridges. Laura Leighton played Sophie on Beverly Hills 90210.)

You play a bilingual ballistics expert on CSI: Miami. There are a couple of hundred antique shops and quite a few flea markets in Miami. Do you have time to treasure hunt while you are shooting on location there?

Emily: I'm usually working too much to hunt. The last trip I did pick up a Gucci clutch from a thrift store.

Your home has been featured on the E! Network's Celebrity Homes. I have read that you enjoy doing interior design in your own home, and you have also done interior design for film producer John Bertolli. Tell me about your design work and if antiques or collectibles play a part in your plans.

Emily: I love to design for other people because I really get to explore other styles. I think pieces with history (such as antiques or collectibles) are essential to every décor, even the most modern. I love the lineage of design to every décor, and the character of older pieces add to the home.

Are you a fan of any of the home design shows?

Emily: I have to say I love the PBS shows 1900 House and Manor House. Not only does one get to see the décor of the time, but also how people lived with it. I am fascinated by vintage and antique kitchen and medical equipment.

From the West Wing to the very hot CSI: Miami--what's next in your career? You recently acted in the NBC movie, Submerged, with Sam Neill. Do you have any new movies coming out that we can watch for?

Emily: At the moment, I'm trying to option a book to do my own project (that way I can decorate the set myself J). I have my fingers crossed.

Any antiquing or collecting hints or advice you'd like to give our readers?

Emily: A little research goes a long way! Knowing about time frames and eras. Knowledge is the best way to get a good deal when treasure hunting. Oh, and buy what you love, even if others don't like it. It's your nest, after all.

In addition to tuning in to CSI: Miami on CBS (currently on Monday nights), you can see more of Emily Procter and read about her on the website


Emily Procter

In addition to acting and collecting, Emily finds time to volunteer in a soup kitchen.

Emily on the set in Miami.
Photo Courtesy of

Emily also uses antiques in interior designing for friends.



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