Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion star Camryn Manheim sits down with Closer Weekly in an exclusive interview to talk about how she makes it her mission to empower young girls to reach for their dreams, no matter what they look like, through role models in Hollywood.

Camryn tells Closer she is especially excited about her new project, Amazon Prime Video special An American Girl Story: Summer Camp — Friends for Life. “Anytime I can be part of a project that inspires girls to embrace their powerful selves, I jump at it,” the Emmy and Golden Globe winner tells Closer. “Girls can become anything they dream of!”

“I go all over the country and teach young girls that they should not live their life full of apology — they should fly and soar! We need to have role models for them on TV that don’t have limitations. I want girls to feel the power that they have.”

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Camryn tells Closer, the reason why this issue is so close to her heart is because she’s been there before. “I was the underdog for a long time. I was a chubby girl, so people dismissed me more quickly. I never felt I was seen or heard as much as other girls, or boys for that matter.”

“When I started on TV, just one or two girls looked like me. I never saw myself represented in a positive way. My first day on The Practice, as we were introducing Ellenor and Dylan McDermott’s character, someone handed me a doughnut. I was mortified. I thought, “I can’t introduce my character with a doughnut in my hand…and who’d eat one next to Dylan McDermott?” she jokes.

Camryn didn’t let that stop her and went on to have a full and successful career. She also didn’t take no for an answer when it came to her personal life either. “I always wanted to be a mother,” she tells Closer. “I used to talk to my imaginary children! I was getting up there in age, and decided that if I didn’t do it soon, I wasn’t going to, so I vowed to have a baby before 40. When my son was 9.2 pounds, I decided to induce him and get him out two days before I turned 40. I’m joking — he was fully cooked. Now he’s 6’2” at 16!”

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Camryn says she has a couple of mottos that she always lives by. “Don’t live your life with apology” and “The person with the most confidence wins.” And there’s a poem by Marianne Williamson about how it does not pay to be less than you are. You were put here to shine as brightly as you can.”

For the full interview with Camryn, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on stands now!

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