Growing up in Texas, Turner started modeling at a young age. At fifteen she moved to New York City on her own dime to become the youngest model at Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. By seventeen she progressed to acting in Hollywood.
After initial damsel in distress characters on shows like A-Team, Dallas, and Knight Rider, Turner cut her hair and studied the craft of acting at the Actor’s Studio. “I made lifelong friends with the people from acting class,” she remarked fondly.
Turner persevered through career lulls because of her personal faith, passion for the industry and drive to succeed. With a broken engagement and eight dollars in her bank account, Turner was on the verge of giving up acting for good. After getting lost trying to run away from Manhattan, she returned to the city to audition for a television pilot. With that audition, she landed the role of Maggie O’Connell on the much beloved ensemble series Northern Exposure.
She explained her acting process to students, following the sensory method. Turner went to the executive producers to learn more about Maggie. With each script she would call her acting coach, go over her scenes and make specific choices for her character. On set, she balanced maintaining her sensory emotive state for the character and remaining her friendly self with the cast and crew. When it comes to the notes from multiple directors on a season, Turner advised, “Listen and be open-minded, but stay true to the character—take what you like and leave the rest.”
Janine Turner has been in notable movies like Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone, Dr. T and the Women and hit shows like Friday Night Lights. Her current passion is towards activism. “Thespians are great humanitarians; it’s a wonderful way to feed the soul,” Turner notes. She launched and co-chairs the Constituting America foundation. It’s mission is to educate America’s youth about the importance of the United States Constitution, and encourages them to write and direct short films, PSA, and songs about the founding document and how it has shaped and protects our civil liberties.
We thank Janine Turner for taking time to speak with us and wish her great success with her career and foundation.