Teen role model Heather Braverman was one of the featured speakers at the 6th Annual Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™) Teen Summit held last weekend at the Key Bridge Marriott. The actress, who plays “Samantha” in the soon to be released film, Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life, addressed teens about living with food allergies.. and answered our questions about some of life’s other fun and frustrations.
KSK: How did you find out you had food allergies?
HB: I was 4 years old. I was at a TCBY and I pointed to peanut butter chips to put on my yogurt. I took one bite and immediately got sick…and learned I had life threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.
KSK: What’s the worst thing you are allergic to… and how does it affect you?
HB: When I was younger I couldn’t have the birthday cakes at all the parties I attended because they could contain nuts or have cross contamination. I can’t eat in bakeries or have baked goods where other products with nuts are made. So at the parties I would have to bring a “safe snack” to have while everyone else enjoyed the birthday cake.
KSK: That is sad! How about now that you’re older?
HB: Being a teenager, I face new challenges. I now have started dating…which means kissing. I have to be sure my boyfriend has not eaten nuts or shellfish or I can possibly have a reaction from a kiss. This is…very frustrating!
KSK: You’re an ideal spokesmodel for this cause because you’re in the public eye. So, let’s talk about your acting. What has been your favorite role?
HB: My favorite role so far had to be playing Sabrina Farber in Law and Order SVU. It was very challenging to be in a closed trunk of a car in 90 degree weather covered in fake blood — if only for a few seconds. The best part was when Christopher Malone saves me and and pops open the trunk and carries me like a baby to get help. I loved the cast and especially getting my makeup done with all this blood and cuts.
KSK: And you have a new movie coming out. Are you a fashionista like the role you play?
HB: I loved playing Samantha in Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Samantha is a true fashionista… and I have to say that Samantha and I are very similar. We both love clothing, accessories and makeup. The movie is great — except for the fact that the main character loves peanut butter and speaks about it throughout the movie. He even says his sweat smells like peanut butter because he eats so much of it. Well of course when I was around he could not be eating that!