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Exclusive: Cecily Strong Says Being on 'SNL' Was 'Always a Dream of Mine': 'It's Important to Do Things That Scare You'

May 22 2024, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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Cecily Strong is an example of someone who took a giant leap and it paid off. Case in point: when she debuted as a featured player on Saturday Night Live on September 15, 2012, and since then, her life has never been the same.

"Being part of SNL is like nothing else. It was always a dream of mine, so to get that accomplishment is amazing. Being an actor is not an easy job — you don't have a lot of stability and aging is a little scarier, so it's great to always have it in my pocket that I accomplished something I'm so proud of. I can always look back and watch it," the 40-year-old, who partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to give senior shelter dogs a special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a walk down the orange carpet at the Garfield premiere on May 19 — exclusively tells Morning Honey.

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"I think it's important to do things that scare you. It scared me to audition for SNL. It's scary to adopt a dog for the first time. It was scary to agree to host the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but I was like, 'When am I ever going to have dinner next to Michelle Obama again?' Just challenge yourself to do things that scare you — and you might surprise yourself with how you step up!" she adds.

Source: @cecilystrong/instagram

The star exited 'SNL' in 2022.

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After leaving the comedy show in 2022, the star, who spent 11 years on the series, has been keeping busy. "I'm looking forward to surprising myself with what comes next!" she teases. "I have a couple projects that are sort of in the beginning stages that I'm really excited about — movie, TV, theater. I've been enjoying getting to do theater again. I don't have any plans to write a book again, but who knows what could happen!"

The brunette beauty admits she was "spoiled" by being on SNL because she got to do "something different each week."

"I'm not very patient!" she quips. "It's great for impatient people to do a weekly show and get to play all these characters," she notes. "I always want to get the chance to play a bunch of characters and do a bunch of different things, so that's the goal, I think. I had so much fun on SNL."

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Source: @cecilystrong/instagram

Cecily Strong loves her dog, Lucy.

When Strong isn't working, she can typically be found hanging out with her dog Lucy, whom she adopted 10 years ago.

"I have a senior dog now, so this partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to shine the spotlight on aging pets spoke to me. Instead of feeling anxious about our dogs aging, which I certainly do, I liked the idea of celebrating them as they get another year older. My dog has more personality now than when I adopted her over 10 years ago," she quips. "It's nice that there is this national campaign for all of us who are senior dog parents. We can celebrate them aging rather than fear it! We can give them a wonderful life as they age."

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Strong first got Lucy in Los Angeles, where they instantly connected. "I was living in New York, and I had an agent at the time whose client was a New York dog trainer. I was like, 'Yes, I can own a dog in New York.' It was just the push I needed. I had been in contact with Best Friends Animal Society, and I watched their show Dogtown. I was obsessed. During a trip to L.A., I looked at their adoptable dogs beforehand, and I saw a couple, but I always wanted a little black dog," she recalls.

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Source: michael simon

Cecily Strong at the 'Garfield' premiere in Los Angeles, Calif.

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"I was like, 'Is that weird to have a type?' They told me, 'No, just like types of humans, you can have types of dogs.' I went to Best Friends and I looked at these little black dogs, but I wasn't sure. I was about to leave, and they said, 'Hold on, this dog just came from the L.A. County Shelter and we think she's exactly what you're looking for. Lucy walked in with poop on her feet, but she was so cute! I knew right away, and she came and sat on my lap. I was like, 'This is my dog,'" she adds.

Now that Strong lives with her fiancé, Jack, Lucy "almost likes him more than me," she quips. "Somehow I get pretty jealous!"

However, Lucy and the comedian are "big snugglers," especially when Jack is out of town.

"Lucy takes the other spot in the bed," she says. "She loves pillows. We take a lot of naps together. Last summer I got a pool and I've never gotten her in the water before, but she waded in the pool for the first time, which was very exciting. She might try swimming at 11!"

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Source: michael simon

The comedian is passionate about adopting a dog.

Since Strong, who voices security guard Marge in Garfield, is so passionate about pups, she was also able to walk the orange carpet at the Garfield premiere on May 19 with a few dogs to illustrate how senior pets can still “strut” their stuff and live bolder lives even as they age.

"There's no better way to do a carpet than with three dogs!" she quips. "I'm not the biggest red carpet fan, but they were very sweet dogs. There were three dogs — Wilfred, Cody and Jasmine — but only two — Wilfred and Cody — are available for adoption currently through Vanderpump Dogs in L.A. It was delightful to walk them down."

To encourage people to consider opening their homes and hearts to senior pets, Hill's Pet Nutrition will donate up to $100,000 to PetSmart Charities to cover a portion of the adoption fees for every pet adopted at PetSmart Adoption Centers from May 20-26.

Clearly, Strong is happy, and she has Lucy to thank for being by her side. "She's taught me how to take care of something else. On a bad day, I come home to a little dog that unconditionally loves you so much. There's no better therapy. She's been the best friend and my family for a long time. I was out in L.A. living by myself for a long time, and it was just me and Lucy. She's taken care of me, too," she concludes.


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