I’d rather be a defense attorney than a prosecutor.

I’d rather defend people and protect them. I spoke to a veteran defense attorney while researching The Defenders, and she said it’s actually easier for her to represent guilty people, because if she’s representing someone who’s guilty, all she has to do is defend the person. If she’s representing someone who’s innocent, then there’s added pressure.

I’d rather have Little Richard than Bill Cosby as my dad.

Little Richard played my uncle on Full House. He’s fabulous. I remember him being incredibly kind to me. I just remember him being super, super nice.

I’d rather be a band geek than a cheerleader.

I love music and I love drumlines. I like school bands a lot. There’s nothing wrong with cheerleading, but I’d rather be a band geek. It’s a little more interesting.

I’d rather have critical acclaim than commercial success.

But actually, I just want to do performances that move people. So I don’t know if I care to have critical acclaim either, ’cause that’s just a bunch of critics. I try to give each performance my own soul, to bring a truth to my character. Hopefully, when I bring that much truth to a character, it resonates with somebody and it sparks some kind of emotion in them. I don’t really think about the critics or the commercial success.

I’d rather tell my partner my most intimate secrets than keep anything secret.

Honesty is the best policy. I tell my partner [her musician husband, Josiah Bell] everything. He knows me inside and out—whether I’m ashamed of it or proud of it. Everyone has a past, but I try not to let that affect the way I see them; I want to get to know who they are today.

This article originally appeared in Complex's April/May 2011 issue.