Actress, singer, composer Holly Joy Gaines has come back home to Pittsburgh after being away for more than a decade acting, modeling and singing in New York City and Los Angeles. We caught up with her in between gigs.


Some might remember Gaines from her days at CAPA or Penn Hills High School. Perhaps you saw her in the “Velveteen Rabbit” when she was in seventh grade. She’s all grown up and very busy. We had an opportunity to pose a dozen questions to Gaines about her life.

NPC: Do you consider Pittsburgh your home?

GAINES: Yes, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, I love Pittsburgh and I forgot how beautiful our city was. The architecture is wonderful..

NPC: What high school did you attend?

GAINES: I went to both CAPA and Penn Hills High School.

NPC: What college did you attend?

GAINES: I attended West Virginia State Institute on a full scholarship.

NPC: When were you bitten by the acting bug?

GAINES: In the seventh grade I played Nana in the “Velveteen Rabbit.”

NPC: Are you a member of a sorority?

GAINES: Yes. Delta Sigma Theta.

NPC: What was your first big acting break?

GAINES: There were a couple. I played Dorothy Dandridge in “The Dorothy Dandridge Story” for E! Entertainment and I landed a role in “Watching Elie” starring Julia Louis Dreyfus. I’ve also appeared on “Living Single,” “ER,” “Joey” and “CSI Miami.”

NPC: Who was the most genuine actor you have met?

GAINES: Julia Louis Dreyfus and also Jamie Fox. Jamie is so comfortable in his own skin and made me feel so comfortable when I did “The Jamie Fox Show.” He never forgets my name and calls me Miss New Year’s Eve. My birthday is on New Year’s.

NPC: With a birthday on New Year’s, how do you celebrate?

GAINES: This past birthday, I was in Las Vegas at Puff Daddy’s party.

NPC: Tell us about your music career.

GAINES: I used to sing jazz in high school. I like to sing grown folks music, good music just crosses over and I love it. I used to sing here in Pittsburgh at Cardello’s on the South Side.

NPC: What musicians have you worked with?

GAINES: I’ve done back up for Stevie Wonder, Tina Marie, Dave Mason and Peter Gabrielle. I also compose. Some of my songs were just selected for a sitcom. I’ll be able to share which one as soon as the ink dries.

NPC: How long do you think you’ll stay in Pittsburgh?

GAINES: As long as Pittsburgh will have me. But on a serious note I enjoy being here with my mother who is my dearest friend. There are things I can do here like rowing and boating and this is a great place for my daughter to grown up.

NPC: Here is our silly question. If we looked in your refrigerator what would we always find?

GAINES: Bottled water and fresh vegetables.

Gaines recently appeared in the “Stick Up Kids” and she was featured in “Love Chronicles” with Terrence Howard, Robin Givens, Monica Calhoun, Gary Owen and LisaRaye. “Love Chronicles” has been running nonstop on BET and TV One. We spoke with her agent Richard Kohn at the Talent Group in the Strip District and he says, “Holly is so talented we love working with her and the clients love her.”

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