If you're looking for an interview where Tatyana Ali opines over her six years playing Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, go watch Nick-at-Nite. It's all about the present and the future for the 29-year-old Long Island, New York, cutie. Both have been looking bright since the admitted "dork” graduated with honors from Harvard. On the film front, the Young & the Restless star is fighting for her life in the double-crossing crime drama Hotel California (costarring Tyson Beckford), and musically, she's prepping her sophomore effort, The Light.

And the résumé continues. Aside from Hazrah Entertainment, the production company she started with her sister, there's also the surrogate work for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. As you nonvoting dropouts can see, Ms. Ali is far removed from knee-highs and on-screen kisses with Tevin Campbell. So, please, save the Bel-Air rhetoric for a reunion special. Can't wait? OK, we'll throw you a bone. "Look, that show changed my life,” Tatyana says of her experience. "It used to freak me out watching the show, but I look at it now and say, ‘That shit was funny.'” There, are you happy? Now get educated.

It's very rare to see a child actor flee from Hollyweird to get a higher education. Those "don't do drugs” campaigns must have seeped in.
College was my opportunity to be around my peers, which you don't get to do when you're a child actor. And I wanted to be normal and see what else was out there, see what else I was good at. And there are some other things that I'm good at.

Such as?
I'm good at the sciences, I love learning about plants. You know, I'm a dork…it's cool. I've come to terms with that and I dig it a little.