A Conversation With Angie Harmon—Actress, Producer, and Charlotte Resident

A Conversation With Angie Harmon—Actress, Producer, and Charlotte Resident

Photographs by Rusty Williams

Hair and makeup by Heather Hawkins

Wardrobe styled by Chantal DePraeter

Angie Harmon won Seventeen’s modeling contest at age 15 and rose to fame on TV shows like Baywatch Nights and Law & Order. The Texas native went on to star in a number of other projects that filmed on the West Coast. But in 2010, Harmon moved her family to Charlotte, where she could raise her three daughters away from the glitz of Hollywood.

Harmon continued to commute to L.A., where she put in 100-hour weeks on the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles. “I’d leave there on the Friday red-eye, get home Saturday morning, be a zombie all day, and leave Sunday night to be back in the makeup chair on Monday,” she says. “When we finished Rizzoli & Isles in 2016, I promised my girls I’d never commit to anything that took me away from them like that did.”

Harmon, now 50, began producing, which gave her more control over projects. Under a multipicture deal with Lifetime, she served as executive producer of last year’s Buried in Barstow, set in the California desert but filmed in North Carolina. Harmon plays a former assassin in a modern-day Western, a departure for the network long known for “women’s movies.” A&E is now turning it into a series, which Harmon will again star in and produce. 

Between production meetings and taking calls from daughters Finley, 19; Avery, 17; and Emery, 14, Harmon sat down with Charlotte magazine to talk about how she manages it all. She opens up about navigating male-dominated sets, being a political conservative in Hollywood, and the responsibility of raising strong, independent girls today.

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

Harmon at home with dogs Daisy (on lap) and Ollie.

On her house of girls
When I had three girls, I was completely terrified because I was always closer with guys. Guys didn’t have any drama, and when you walked out of the room, guys didn’t talk about you. I always thought I’d be a boy mom. But as God so brilliantly does, he laughed at my plan and gave me girls. And, in his wisdom, I was able to teach my girls that mean-girl behavior is hurtful and only showcases the insecurity of the person who’s talking as opposed to the fault of the person they’re talking about. 

On life in Charlotte
I didn’t want to raise my daughters in L.A. or New York because it was too much, too fast, too hard. I wanted them to grow up in the South, and it’s served them well. They’re smart, brutally intelligent, and wickedly funny, but they’re not hard. There’s still a softness to them. 

On body image
When the girls were little, we never said words like “skinny” or “fat.” We always said “healthy” or “in shape.” Now that they’re older, it’s TikTok and everyone’s in bikinis and twerking. That’s been a tough one, letting them know they don’t need to get validation from pictures or images you post of yourself out there. 

On being the only woman on set
The (Law & Order) cast was wonderful, and Sam (Waterston) was always my protector. But when I first got the job, it was like, “Welcome to the boys club.” Within the first week, it was, “Don’t get in an elevator with this guy by yourself.” I was 26 and learning everything, and it certainly wasn’t a nurturing and collaborative situation. One time, I showed up to work and had a 104-degree fever but didn’t know it. The male producers came in to lecture me about how I should have called because now I’d messed up the entire week. I just remember Sam having to raise his voice to stand up for me. 

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

The lion statues outside Harmon’s home are a tribute to her zodiac sign.

On being a working parent
Rizzoli & Isles filmed for seven seasons. Emery was in diapers when we started. People don’t know how hard and horrible it was, doing that commute. But we had this lightning in a bottle as a show, and Jane is my favorite character I’ve played. Would I love to be on a set in Australia with Colin Farrell? God, yes! But that’s not what works for my daughters right now.

On #MeToo
I always wondered why I never got to audition for Harvey (Weinstein). Whenever I’d see him at parties, he’d be really dismissive, and I’d think, What did I do? But thank God I was being protected without even knowing it. I still reflect on that. God really had me in his hands. Thank God I never got those calls from him. 

On producing
You’re a mom to everybody, to the crew and the cast, making sure everyone has what they need. I’ll be getting ready to shoot a scene and hear about how the wardrobe trailer didn’t have a washer and dryer and one of my girls was stuck at a laundromat at 3 a.m. and didn’t feel safe, and I have to figure that out. 

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

Harmon embellishes her home with skull collections and accessories from designers like Alexander McQueen.

On knowing her worth
Recently, I was supposed to produce and make a cameo in a movie I was really passionate about. The director called to say they’d run out of funding and had to make cuts. When I hung up the phone, I felt so small and helpless. But I was able to catch myself. My manager instilled in me long ago that if they want you, they’ll come up with (the money). My time is valuable, especially if it takes me away from my children. I’ll still have those days where I think, How on earth am I going to pay the mortgage when I haven’t worked in two years? and something always surfaces. 

On being ‘a liberal Republican’
When I said that (in 2013), I had no idea what that was going to do to my career. Obama was president at the time, and the question was, “Do you agree with how the president is handling everything right now?” My answer, word for word, was, “I don’t agree with everything my husband is doing right now!” I naively answered a question with what I thought was humor and called myself a liberal Republican. My publicist and managers were like, “How could you say that?” The next day it came out that I was a racist, gay-hating Republican. I was fortunate to have some really powerful women stand up for me, like Chelsea Handler and Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopi said, “I’ve known Angie since she was 18, and there’s not a racist bone in her body.” But I can say now that I don’t belong to either party. 

Charlotte, North Carolina January 06, 2023: Angie Harmon

Harmon enlisted friend and stylist Chantal DePraeter to reinvent her wardrobe. Here, DePraeter pairs a Gucci blazer with a La DoubleJ dress.

On raising independent girls
I hope they never have to depend on a man for money. If they want to go to Louboutin and buy the same shoe in four colors, they won’t have to ask anybody to do that. I don’t want my daughters siphoning a little here and there off the grocery budget so they can buy something they want. 

On how Charlotte’s different
I was in Harris Teeter after a really tough day, just browsing the magazine aisle. A sweet couple came over and jokingly asked if I was looking for myself on covers. We all laughed, and I said that was a very long time ago, and I’m here raising my girls. Ten minutes later, they found me in the store and gave me a bouquet of flowers and said they hoped I had a better day. I don’t know if that would happen in L.A. or New York. In Charlotte, there’s such a level of kindness and humanity. 

On what’s next
A&E picked up Buried in Barstow, and we want to turn it into a series. Right now, we’re working out the script and series arc. That’s been a year in the making. We start our pitches to Netflix and Hulu and Peacock soon, so it’s an exciting time. Buried in Barstow ended up bringing more men to Lifetime than any other show, so it was an unseen triumph, but a triumph just as well. 

TAYLOR BOWLER is the lifestyle editor.

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