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Cool Mom Q&A: Anne Heche

Actress, Tickle Time inventor, and Los Angeles mom of two

We remember Anne Heche from her Another World days, and have remained fans right through the HBO television series Hung. In her latest movie, That’s What She Said, Heche plays a cynical, 40-year-old New Yorker with a broken heart; we’re also looking forward to her new NBC series, Save Me, where she plays a woman who believes she can channel God. When Anne isn’t on set or with her sons, Atlas, aged 3, and Homer, 10, she’s spreading the word on her new product—a mineral-based powdered sunblock for kids called Tickle Time.
StrollerTraffic: So tell us about Tickle Time. How did you come up with the idea?
Anne Heche: I started putting mineral sunblock on my kids with make-up brushes, and they’d giggle. I thought, Why isn’t the process of putting sunblock on kids fun? Instead of screaming, why not giggling? The brushes became funny and then Attie started to do it to Homer, and of course they wanted to do it to Dad. Everyone was just giggling. That was all there was to it. I reached out to La Bella Donna, whose mineral makeup I was wearing, to develop the product.
ST: Well, giggling sure beats screaming. How does it work, exactly?
AH: A mineral is ground-up rock. Rock refracts light and doesn’t let light in. It’s just that simple. If you grind it up and put it on your skin you won’t get burnt. Get it fine enough, and it feels good going on. We’ve made it very fine and you just brush it on. It’s pure minerals.
ST: The tube looks fun, can kids apply themselves?
AH: Yes, it’s super easy. You knock it to put the minerals on the brush, then just swish it on the skin. And if you’re worried about them using too much, just turn it to ‘lock,’ so the powder won’t dispense on the brush. Attie goes nuts with it. He likes to knock it, and knock it, and knock it—he slams it on his ears because he knows pediatricians say we always forget the ears and back of neck.

ST: With traditional sunscreen, doctors say to use a shot-glass full for a toddler. How do you know the right about of mineral powder block to use?
AH: I say use common sense. You don’t want to over knock it, or you’ll be wasting the product. If you use too much, you will know it.   
ST: The packaging says 300 applications. Is that a summer’s worth?
AH: At least! It just depends on how often you share it. Whenever people see Tickle Time, they want to try it. There will be refills, because we don’t want waste. One other great thing about this sunblock is that it has a shelf life of 10 years. So if you lose it in one of your beach bags and find it in 9 years, you are still good to go!
ST: You’ve moved around a bit. How do you find living in LA—with a family?
AH: I was born in Ohio, then lived in Atlantic City. So I grew up by the ocean. I worked every job at the beach, flipping burgers . . .  selling stuff on the boardwalk. I lived in New York for a few years, when I was doing a soap, from 18 to 22. I’ve shot many films there . . .  I love to visit New York, but LA is home. I love LA. It’s not a challenge with children. It’s just beautiful. Every day the sun is shining.

ST: How do you spend all those sunny days with your family?
AH: We go to parks a lot, and we play tennis at a local club.  My older boy plays soccer and my 3-year-old loves to play baseball in the backyard with Dad. We also love to have other families over for barbecues.

ST: So where in LA can we find Tickle Time?  
AH: Pickett Fences in Larchmont Village was actually the first store to carry it. We live right there, in Hancock Park. It’s old school Hollywood—a small town feel in the big city. It’s a great stroller town . . . a great neighborhood to raise a family.

Tickle Time ($35) is available in select stores around Los Angeles, and also at tickletimesunblock.com.