John Russo courtesy of Crown Media United States, LLC
Lori Loughlin has no problems being America's Aunt Becky. The actress, who shot to fame on Full House and has returned to the role more than 20 years after the series ended with Netflix's Fuller House, said she never felt pigeonholed by the series.
"You know, to this day I still get people calling me Aunt Becky and I'm not offended by that at all. Full House has afforded me wonderful opportunities in my career," she told E! News. Those other opportunities include Summerland, 90210 and recently When Calls the Heart and Garage Sale Mystery movie series for Hallmark. "I feel lucky. I didn't get boxed in by that, I'm still working, so it's all good."
Returning to the Tanner clan in Fuller House proved to be a little surreal for the actress and mom of two teenage girls, Bella and Olivia.
"It was a little surprising the first time I walked on set and I saw our old set... I didn't expect that to be as emotional as it was," she said. "Kind of a moment of, 'Wow, I think I'm going to cry.' It was totally surreal, it really was."
However, it almost wasn't a full (or nearly full) family reunion for Fuller House. Prior to the show starting production, Loughlin spoke out about deals and whether or not she'd return to the fold.
"I think we would all like to come back if the powers that be are fair to all of us," Loughlin said in an April 2015 Access Hollywood Live interview. "What's fair?" host Billy Bush asked. "Favored nations would be fair," she said. Favored nations is a contract clause that stipulates if one actor is given better terms, the rest of the actors are entitled to it as well. "We want to be there, we want to come back, it's up to them," she said at the time.
"I got in trouble for that," she told E! News with a laugh. "We worked that all out and it was favored nations and it was all good. In that case it all worked out."
But it doesn't always work out. "Listen, it's not just Full House, it's across the board in the entertainment industry: women are not paid what men are paid. But listen, we're making strides, we're getting closer," she said, citing examples like when Patricia Arquette used her Oscar acceptance speech to draw attention to the wage gap. "We keep fighting and it's just—what do you do? You just keep in it, you keep on it."
The cast of Full House has kept in touch since the series wrapped in 1995 and every series regular but Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen reunited for Netflix's sequel series. But there's no ill will toward the Olsens on Loughlin's behalf.
"Sometimes," Loughlin said when asked if she gets tired of fielding the question about whether or not Mary-Kate and Ashley will reprise the role of Michelle Tanner. "I am tired of fielding the Olsen twin question. You know why? I love the Olsen girls and I think they've built this amazing fashion empire, they're women now, they're leading their lives and if they don't want to come back and do the show, that is their choice. [Laughs.] I have no judgment about that."
These days, when she's not bouncing between Los Angeles and Vancouver filming, Loughlin is raising awareness about the international water crisis. As part of World Water Day, Loughlin has partnered with Emergen-C for the #40Pounds Challenge to raise awareness about the 663 million people around the world who don't have access to clean drinking water.
"What it is is women and children, especially girls, are often affected by this water crisis. They are walking miles a day, often five hours a day, to find and collect water for their families. They're collecting this water in jerry cans. When these cans are filled, they weigh 40 pounds and they bring them back to their families. Because of this, women can't hold down a job, these girls are not getting an education, they can't go to school. So for me, as a working mother of two teenage daughters, this was unfathomable," she said.
All people have to do on Twitter and Instaram is take a photo holding something that is 40 pounds (or nearly equivalent) and share, tagging Emergen-C and #40pounds. For every tweet, Emergen-C is donating $5 to charity: water with the money going directly to building water wells in Ethiopia.
"It changes their lives, it transforms their lives," she said.
Fuller House season one is now on Netflix. When Calls the Heart airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on Hallmark and for more information on #40Pounds challenge, visit Emergen-C's website.