Days before the birth of her new baby girl, Paloma (born June 28), Babble sat down with Ugly Betty star Ana Ortiz at her celebrity baby shower. As Betty’s older sister and hot single mom, Hilda, Ortiz is already immersed in clan conflict on a weekly basis. Ortiz will be heading back to work mere weeks after giving birth, so we asked her to fill us in on her game plan for successful working parenthood in New York City. Hint: it involves a lot of help from family, both real and small-screen. – April Peveteaux
Congratulations! How did you manage on the set of Ugly Betty when you were really, really pregnant?
We have a genius costume designer and our directors had to get really creative with what I was doing in a scene: holding a popcorn bowl or folding laundry . . . which my character never does! I went from being the “cha-cha” sexy girl to the Puerto Rican Mrs. Roper. I was in muumuus all of a sudden.
It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I think that, for me, working during pregnancy was the best possible thing I could have done. Just to have something else to focus on. The hardest part of it was just being tired. We work really long hours and when you’re pregnant, you just want to be able to put your feet up.
You’re back on the job July 8th; how will you deal with being a working mom?
I think that they’re going to try to give the family time together. Maybe shoot the magazine stuff first so that I have a little bit of extra padding before going back. Then, my mom is going to be with me on the set.
So you have family around to help you?
I do. Thank God! My mom will be with me on set and knowing the cast, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold my baby once. They’re so excited. This is our first “set” baby.
Has being a parent on Ugly Betty prepared you for starting a family?
It really got my mommy genes going. I’m so tight with Mark Indelicato, who plays my son. We’ve become such a family and his mom is always on set and I think it’s definitely informed my readiness. I was like, “Okay, I’m ready to do it for real now.”
And you’re going to raise her in New York City?
Yeah. I was born and raised in New York. My mother is here, my sisters, my family. So for me, it’s really the best place to raise a kid.
Do you have any advice on how to successfully raise city kids?
My mother always made sure that we got out of the city a lot. We went to upstate New York a lot just to see nature. I would go to Puerto Rico every summer with my dad. I think it’s important because even though there is a ton of great stuff to do in New York and you get to experience a lot here, there’s not a lot of nature. I think it’s important to introduce kids to that. You want them to be able to run around barefoot and naked in the grass too. So that will be a challenge, but I’m up for it.