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Sarah Michelle Gellar Talks Unplugging, Knowing Your Worth and What She *Really* Thinks About the ’90s Fashion Comeback

Plus, the 'Buffy' star shares how she's participating in the Global Day of Unplugging on March 1st!

Sarah Michelle Gellar has been one of our tough-gal icons for over 25 years. As the title character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she served up the perfect mix of sunniness and strength, inspiring countless young women over the course of seven action-packed, quip-filled seasons. Her roles in movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2 and The Grudge further solidified her status as one of the ultimate scream queens of the late ’90s and early ’00s.

While her resume is filled with butt-kicking roles, offscreen Gellar is refreshingly down to earth. Now a mom of two, she’s been married to her fellow actor and sometimes costar Freddie Prinze Jr. since 2002, and devotes much of her time to causes close to her heart. The actress and producer, who most recently starred in the Paramount+ series Wolf Pack, has just partnered with USCellular to encourage people to participate in the Global Day of Unplugging on March 1, in an effort to promote a more mindful relationship with technology.

Gellar spoke to FIRST for Women about how she finds contentment in the everyday, introducing her kids to Buffy and how she really feels about ’90s fashion making a comeback.

Staying grounded

Gellar has been working since childhood, and got her start appearing in commercials in the ’80s. As a teenager, she had a two-year run on All My Children, and when she was cast as Buffy, she was just 17. Now 46, she’s managed to stay grounded while many others would’ve succumbed to the pitfalls of early fame.

“I always look at my life like there are two sides: There’s Sarah Michelle Gellar and then there’s Sarah Prinze,” she says. “It’s important to me to not be defined by my work, and be able to have conversations that are interesting to people who don’t do what I do.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar in 2024
Sarah Michelle Gellar in 2024John Russo

She’s also taken the lessons of her strong signature character to heart. “As women, we’re climbing the mountain. It’s a slow and steady climb, but we’re doing it,” she says. “I never want it to be women versus men or young women versus older women. We need to be able to connect and know our own worth.”

A more casual key to staying chill is “just taking some time to stop. We live our lives so go-go-go, and it exhausts us both physically and emotionally.” Gellar’s favorite way to hit pause is sinking into a warm bath. “When I get into the bath, I’m relaxing, I’m decompressing. You can’t ask me complicated questions after that!” she says.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cannes in 2023
Sarah Michelle Gellar at the Canneseries International Festival in France in 2023Arnold Jerocki/WireImage/Getty

Keeping a happy family

When it comes to being Sarah Prinze, the actress says the key to her long-lasting marriage is simple: “We put the work in. You have to be willing to spend the time and take in those moments, even when we’re busy and it’s easy to let things slide.” Such advice applies to just about any couple, celebrity or not.

Gellar also feels it’s key to set boundaries with her kids, and keep them from getting caught up in the whirlwind of social media. “We have rules in our house, like at dinner, there are no devices at the table. That is the time where we connect and talk,” she says.

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar in 2023
Sarah Michelle Gellar with her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., in 2023Jerod Harris/Getty for Knott’s Scary Farm

Another bonding activity Gellar and her family have had in recent years? Introducing her kids to her work. “We watched Buffy during the pandemic, which was fun,” she says, though she had to tread carefully around some of the show’s darker moments in later seasons. “We skipped a lot of season six because my kids were still little,” she’s quick to add. As for her movies, “I don’t really need my 14-year-old daughter watching Cruel Intentions, although she’s probably snuck it and not told me,” she says with a laugh.

Related: Best 90s Teen Movies, Ranked: Throwbacks Sure To Make You Laugh, Cry and Swoon!

Sarah Michelle Gellar and her daughter, Charlotte Grace Prinze, in 2022
Sarah Michelle Gellar and her daughter, Charlotte Grace Prinze, in 2022Phillip Faraone/Getty for Netflix

Embracing nostalgia

Gellar was a preeminent teen icon of the ’90s, and her Buffy fashions (leather pants, anyone?) remain fan favorites to this day. Asked how she feels about ’90s looks being back in style, she shares, “I thought it was funny when my daughter was like, ‘Do you own any chokers?’ And I was like, ‘No, I threw them all out.'”

She continues, “At least the good parts of the fashion are coming back. And ’90s fashion was still way better than ’80s fashion, so I think we’re doing okay!”

Related: Catch Up With the Cast of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ — See the Stars Then and Now!

Sarah Michelle Gellar in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' 1998
Sarah Michelle Gellar rocking a very ’90s look in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1998) Hulton Archive/Getty

Finding inspiration

As a role model to so many, where does Gellar herself find inspiration? “I get inspired every day, whether it’s another actor or a person doing selfless work or the way my kids look at the world,” she says. “I always remember when my kids were little, we’d be walking trying to get to school and they’d see a snail and stop and want to look at it and you’re like, ‘No, we have to go,’ and then it’s like, ‘No, stop. That’s really cool.’ It’s those moments.”

While Sarah Michelle Gellar may be known for slaying vampires, that doesn’t mean she can’t stop and smell the roses, and we can’t help but want to follow her joyful lead.

Read on for more FIRST interviews with your favorite actresses!

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‘Fire Country’ Star Diane Farr Talks Playing the Hottest Firefighting Grandma on TV

Tabyana Ali Talks ‘General Hospital’ and Whether Trina & Spencer Are the Next Luke & Laura

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