Jesse's girl — that would be Lori Loughlin, who played the girlfriend-turned-wife of Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos) on the television series Full House from 1988 to 1995 — turns 50 this year. But 38 years after beginning her career as a print model (you read that right), the passage of time seems not to have phased the actress: Loughlin plans to use her "earned wisdom" to "embrace and enjoy life more."
She's got a lot of embracing to do. Not only is Loughlin raising two teenagers (Isabella and Olivia, born 13 months apart in 1998 and 1999) with her husband of 17 years, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, but she's starring as a widow — and coal miner! — in a new Hallmark TV series awkwardly titled When Calls the Heart. We asked the Long Island native about guilty pleasures, iconic boomer moments and what she calls the "bittersweet" of aging.
Q: Are you ready for the big 5-0?
A: It feels great to be more comfortable in your skin — to have some "wisdom of life" under your belt. But the flip side is that your kids are getting ready to go out the door, and you're trying to figure out the next chapter in your life. I find it all very bittersweet.
Q: Is getting back to series TV that "next chapter" for you?
A: I'm happiest when I'm working. It would be great if When Calls the Heart ran for a few seasons, but at this point I'm open to anything — even if that means just taking cooking classes or traveling a bit more. I've reached a place where I trust a higher power that this is where I'm supposed to be.
Q: So is this what serenity feels like?
A: I don't know — but when I get in a stressful situation nowadays, I'm able to step back, take a deep breath and reapproach it. I think that comes with age. When you're young, you react; now that I'm nearing 50, I take that key moment to pause. It took me years of making mistakes to get to this point.
Q: Does the acting profession place hurdles in the way of aging women?
A: I think it's hard for any woman to age, but there's nothing you can do about it. Well, one thing: I pay attention to lighting far more than I ever have in my career. I'm constantly pulling my makeup artist aside, saying, "What's the lighting look like?" But I'm also OK looking how I look — there's beauty in faces that have lived.
Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
A: Entenmann's Crumb Coffee Cake.
Q: What's on your bucket list?
A: I have my hands full just with my daily to-do lists! But I guess I think of my bucket list in terms of my kids: I'd like to take them to London or Paris and see things through their eyes.
Q: What does a TV star watch on TV?
A: Castle, Homeland, Downton Abbey and Modern Family.
Q: Any secrets to your long, strong marriage?
A: I think you mellow as you get older together. You realize you can pick and choose what's important; what's going to be your line in the sand? A little flexibility never hurts, either. If someone's in a bad mood, observe — don't react. Maybe try to have an intelligent conversation about it.
Q: You're among the last boomers to turn 50. Do you have a defining memory of the era?
A: I wasn't quite 5 when they landed on the moon, but my father woke me up and dragged me out of bed to watch it on TV. I remember my mom saying, "What are you doing? She's so young!" But my dad said, "This is history — I want her to see this." The other thing that was huge in our house was when the Americans beat the Russians in hockey at the  Winter Olympics. My father was a huge hockey fan — I remember him flying out of his chair.
Q: How would you define this stage in your life?
A: I think the last 50 years were all about trying to get somewhere. Now it's about enjoying where you are.