Facts About NCIS Star Pauley Perrette That Will Have You Re-Watching The Series

Pauley Perrette is an American actress who is probably best known for her portrayal of the quirky Goth forensic scientist, Abby Sciuto, on the hit CBS show NCIS. Perrette starred on the show from 2003 until 2018, opting to leave after the conclusion of the 15th season. But there is way more to this actress than the show.

Did you know that she is an animal rights and equal rights activist and is helping the homeless population in Los Angeles? Or how about that she chooses to buy her award show dresses at charity thrift stores? Keep reading to learn some more interesting facts about Pauley Perrette.

She’s Lost Count Of Her Tattoos

She's Lost Count Of Her Tattoos
CBS
CBS

As fans of NCIS know, Abby has a few very visible tattoos on the show, one being her infamous spiderweb neck tattoo and the other is a large cross on her back. While those are fake, some of Perrett’s ink did make it onto the show! Interestingly, she’s lost count of how many tattoos she has on her body but does know which one’s her favorite.

During an interview with Parade Magazine, she says, “I have the numbers 12:21. That’s my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:21, which is, ‘Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ That’s my favorite one, and I look at it every day.”

She Wanted To Be A Cop

She Wanted To Be A Cop
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for The Trevor Project
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for The Trevor Project

Ironically, Perrette wanted to be a cop growing up, as she was always interested in true crime. According to AJC, her interest peaked during the notorious Atlanta child murder cases in the early 1980s, and it never waned. Perrette went on to study sociology, psychology, and criminal science in college and even graduated with a master’s degree in criminology!

Instead of making her way into law enforcement, she headed to Hollywood. When asked if her studies helped with the NCIS role, Perrette told Wane, “[it] helped with all the big words. It also meant [I] didn’t have to fake interest in the topic. I’ve always been obsessed with crime.”

“The Abby Effect”

When She Finally Had Money She Wanted An Electric Pencil Sharpener
DAVID CROTTY/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
DAVID CROTTY/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Perrette probably never thought her character Abby was going to have such an impact on people, specifically young girls. Her influence has been dubbed “The Abby Effect,” and it references how the character inspired girls to pursue degrees in science and math. The actor has said that the results have been “enormous and overwhelming,” but in a good way!

To help students pursue their dreams, Perrette set up yearly scholarships to her alma maters, Valdosta State University in Georgia and New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Science. The actresses hope is that the yearly $7,500 will help a deserving student accomplish their dream of studying forensic science.

Long-Time LGBTQ+ Ally

Long-Time LGBTQ+ Ally
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Perrette has been a longtime supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community, attending rally’s, educating people at her church, and standing up for the community via social media. She’s even expressed her gratitude for those who bash her on social media for her views.

When asked about the hateful posts on After Ellen, Perrette said, “I’m proud of it … I’m so proud of myself because I know that I’m doing the right thing. And then I think, who would I be if they liked me? I would be someone I couldn’t, shouldn’t be around.”

She Is Very Religious

She Is Very Religious
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Perrette is very open about her faith, saying that she believes the church she attends, Hollywood United Methodist, is “what God wants Heaven to look like,” because it’s so diverse. In interviews, Perrette has mentioned that she has found comfort in her congregation, and even when she hasn’t had the time to attend in person, her faith has helped her through some tough times in her life.

Her church has also allowed Perrette to combine her faith and various activist movements she’s worked on, including LGBTQ+ rights. She was allowed to co-preach with her pastor on a sermon dedicated to civil rights to educate people on the LGBTQ+ movement.

Starring In Music Videos Was Her Big Break

Starring In Music Videos Was Her Big Break
John Shearer/Getty Images for LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER
John Shearer/Getty Images for LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER

Many actors and actresses get their big breaks on film or television, but Perrette’s breakthrough role was a bit unorthodox. She paved her way into the industry performing in music videos for top artists such as Madonna, George Michael, and Salt-n-Pepa.

But one doesn’t just fall into a Madonna music video; someone has to hire you. During an interview with Punk Globe, Perrette said she “overheard a girl say she made $3,000 doing a commercial. [Eventually, I found a] director that took a liking to me and put me in a bunch of music videos and commercials.” Would you believe she was only paid $50 for 12 hours of work?

Co-Stars And Fans Love Her

Co-Stars And Fans Love Her
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Considering Pauley Perrette was included in 352 episodes of NCIS, we think it’s safe to say that both her co-stars, producers, directors, and fans adore her. Due to her role as the quirky forensics scientist, Perrette has developed quite the fanbase and is known for being one of the most popular television actresses.

Executive producers, Frank Cardea and George Schenck told CBS News, “From day one, she has brought incredible passion and specificity to the role. Abby is a character that inspires millions of fans around the world, and all of us at NCIS are appreciative of Pauley for portraying her.”

She’s A Rocker At Heart

She's A Rocker At Heart
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Swarovski
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Swarovski

Before she got into acting and landed the role of Abby on NCIS, Perrette was the lead singer in a Los Angeles all-girl grunge band called Lo-Ball. The rock-and-roll look obviously never left the actress, as she kept the thick bangs and dark hair throughout her career.

Even if you haven’t heard of the band, you might have heard a few of their songs before. Their song “Can’t Get Me Down” is actually featured in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde. One of her songs was even featured on NCIS; it’s called “FEAR.”

She’s Speaks Up For The Homeless Population

She's Speaks Up For The Homeless Population
David Livingston/Getty Images
David Livingston/Getty Images

Perrette is a huge advocate for the homeless population. After an altercation with a homeless man back in 2015, the actress decided something had to be done about how the city of Los Angeles was dealing with the increasing homeless population and the mental health issues that can sometimes be associated with it.

CNN reported that Perrette was going far and beyond what other volunteer workers do, walking the streets to assure people they are trying to raise funding. The goal is to build affordable housing and raise mental health awareness in hopes society will take better care of its own.

She’s A Southern Girl Through And Through

She's A Southern Girl Through And Through
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Pauly Perrette was born in New Orleans, but she moved a total of 13 times growing up, so she considered her father’s home in Alabama to be her “solid home base.” She’s said that her southern roots made her interested in civil rights and activism work, being inspired by the work and words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Ironically, Perrette has said that her being in Hollywood was some freak accident! During an interview with Wane, the actress said, “I am the only person in my family that’s in the entertainment industry. And I studied sociology, psychology and criminal science in school, so this was just a complete accident.”

She Co-Owns A Bakery In New York

When She Finally Had Money She Wanted An Electric Pencil Sharpener
Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images
Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Since everyone needs a hobby, in 2011, Perrette and her friends Matthew Sandusky and Darren Greenblatt opened a bakery in New York, Donna Bell’s Bake Shop. And while Perrette’s busy schedule keeps her from working there on a regular basis, she does pop in from time to time and works behind the counter. Her co-owners says its more of a ploy to keep people interested in their shop.

The shop is actually named after Perrett’s mother and caters to anyone interested in trying some good old-fashioned southern cakes and sweets. They also make breakfast sandwiches because come on people; it is New York!

She Was The It-Girl In High School

She Was The It-Girl In High School
Marc Flores/Getty Images
Marc Flores/Getty Images

Even though her character Abby seems like the opposite of a high school it-girl, with her quirky jewelry choices, jet black hair, thick bangs, and interesting makeup choices, Perrette was! Even though she moved around a lot as a kid, she stuck around one high school.

Her senior year, she was crowned Homecoming Queen, and then, out of the entire senior class, she was voted the most easy-going and best personality. Even though Abby doesn’t “look the part,” she definitely fits the personality and easy-going bill!

Loves America’s Most Wanted

Loves America's Most Wanted
JB Lacroix/WireImage
JB Lacroix/WireImage

With her interest in criminal justice, it might come as no surprise that Pauley Perrette is a huge fan of the television show America’s Most Wanted. It wasn’t long before the actress was invited to be part of an episode. It was probably a dream come true!

In 2007, Perrette asked the producers of the show if she could post the award money, a huge $20,000 sum, for the capture of one of the show’s featured criminals. The producers decided to do a show on Perrette’s involvement, something she actually felt pretty strange about because she prefers her donations made anonymously.

She Worked As A Bar Tender With A White Mohawk

She Worked As A Bar Tender With A White Mohawk
Valerie Macon/Getty Images
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Before breaking into Hollywood, Perrette had big dreams of working in law enforcement. As we know, that didn’t work out, even though her father and some of her cousins are firefighters, and she had a way “in” to the academy if she wanted.

Instead, she worked a lot of odd jobs in New York before breaking into on-screen work. According to the actress, “Not only was I bartending in [a] club-kids scene, with a bra and combat boots and a white Mohawk, but I also wore a sandwich board on roller skates passing out flyers for Taco Bell in the Diamond District.”

She’s A Natural Blonde

She's A Natural Blonde
Fox
Fox

It might come to a surprise to fans of Abby, but Perrette’s natural hair color isn’t the signature ink black of the forensic scientist, but blonde! We know, it’s hard to imagine when the black hair gives the character so much sass and personality!

Unfortunately, in 2014 there was a scare on set. The actress had an allergic reaction to the dye the makeup artists used in her hair. She was rushed to the hospital because her face had swelled twice its size. Thankfully, she pulled through. For the rest of her time on the show, her team used black hair spray just to be safe!

Her Award Show Dresses Are From Charity Thrift Stores

Her Award Show Dresses Are From Charity Thrift Stores
Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images
Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

For award ceremonies, actresses and actors are known to dress to their nines. They typically have one of a kind pieces from the highest of high-end designers, and jewelry that cost more than most people’s rent. Well, Perrette shows her individuality and good heart by not following the crowd.

Instead, Perrette opts to shop at charity thrift stores for her award show attire. And a good thing she does. The actress always looks unique while walking the red carpet! And she does so while giving money to a good cause.

Being Abby Wasn’t “Acting”

Being Abby Wasn't
CBS
CBS

After finding success with commercial work in New York, Perrette decided to pack up her things and fly to Los Angeles to pursue bigger opportunities. As it typically goes in Hollywood, the actress landed small role after small role before finally obtaining the recurring part of Alice Cramer in Special Unit 2.

Little did Perrette know, but that role was going to help her segue into Abby on NCIS. Ironically, when she was hired, the producers didn’t have a complete story for her character, so they told her just to play herself! Considering all of her interests were the same as Abby’s, it wasn’t too difficult!

Her Name Was Used For A Skin Care Scam

Her Name Was Used For A Skin Care Scam
Steve Granitz/WireImage
Steve Granitz/WireImage

When Perrette announced she was leaving NCIS after the conclusion of the 15th season, fans were understandably heartbroken. They tried to figure out if the producers were mad at the actresses for some reason, opting to kill-off the character, or if she was shifting directions with her career to start a beauty line.

Both were false rumors, and according to Perrette’s Twitter account, shady skincare lines had been using her name to sell their products. She’s said, “It’s a fake company. It’s a scam.” Even the show bought a sample product, thinking they were supporting Perrette. Instead, they were unknowingly signing up for an $89/month subscription!

Wholeheartedly Against Proposition 8 In 2008

Wholeheartedly Against Proposition 8 In 2008
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Trevor Project
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Trevor Project

In 2008, proposition 8 in California, a state constitutional amendment that is voted on each election year, suggested the elimination of same-gender marriages. Pauley Perrette was openly against “prop 8,” stating that she and her then-partner, cameraman Michael Bosman, refused to get married until it was legal for everyone.

After the two split and Perrette being seeing British Royal Marine Thomas Arklie, she made the same statement. She and Arklie had no plans of having a wedding until same-gender marriage was legalized.

She Was Once In A Body Cast

She Was Once In A Body Cast
Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

One little unknown fact about actress Pauley Perrette is that she underwent extensive surgery when she was a little kid. The operation was on her eyes and legs, leaving the young girl in a full-body cast.

We’re kind of curious what caused her to undergo such tough surgery that left her in a body cast for weeks on end. That couldn’t have been fun for a rough and tumble kid who enjoyed running around the outdoorsy state of Alabama.

Huge Animal Rights Activist

Huge Animal Rights Activist
David Livingston/Getty Images
David Livingston/Getty Images

Considering her activist work with the homeless population and the equal rights community, it should come as no surprise that Pauley Perrette is a big advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves, animals. It looks like she has one more thing in common with her popular character Abby!

The NCIS character is known for defying the words of her superiors and protecting any animal that comes into her care. She shows love for all creatures no matter how big, or small, a character trait Perrette know doubt can get behind. The actress even has three rescued pooches!

She’s A Homebody

She's A Homebody
Ryan Miller/Getty Images
Ryan Miller/Getty Images

Ironically, even after moving around from Alabama, New York, Los Angeles, and many places in between. Perrette considers herself to be a homebody. The thing is, she doesn’t let her hermit ways paralyze her from getting out of her comfort zone.

During a Watch! photoshoot, the actress said, “There have been years of being a total recluse. Wherever I am, I just want to be back at my house, on the couch. But sometimes things that you’re scared of—like traveling—all you gotta do is do ’em, and they’re not so scary anymore.”

She Donates To 30 Different Charities

She Donates To 30 Different Charities
Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Project Angel Food
Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Considering her devoted nature towards those in need, it’s not too surprising to hear that Pauley Perrette also supports around 30 different charities. Of course, the organizations cater to human and animal-kind, per Perrette’s philanthropic soul.

During an interview with Watch!, the actress said, “I find it hard to say no. It’s endless, but it’s better than going to a club, right? Also, I love the people; they’re all there because they want to be doing something good with their time. Those are the people I want to hang out with.”

She’s A Poet And She Knows It!

She's A Poet And She Knows It!
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

According to Pauley Perrette, she’s been a poet her entire life, saying it’s a great form of self-expression. It’s also a form of art that she can either keep to herself or share with the rest of the world if she wanted to. Which she has, having shared some of her work via social media.

During a Watch! photoshoot and interview, Perrette said, “I’ve been a poet since I was young. But I also realized when I was young that nobody buys poetry and, like, hangs it on their wall. You gotta be something else, and then you can go back to it later.”

She Likes Seeking Out The Unique

She Likes Seeking Out The Unique
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Rather than go see the stereotypical sights while you’re in France, such as the Eiffel Tower, Perrette enjoys touring to the beat of her own drum. She prefers to seek out “unusual sights,” particularly different churches around the area.

During an interview with Watch! in 2010, the actress said, “I already church hopped a couple of churches around here. That’s what I would do if I had another day: Hit every church in Paris. All of them. It’s a lot of candle lighting! But especially in Paris, it’s a very peaceful place to be.”

She Used To Go Through Old Cars To See What Went Wrong

She Used To Go Through Old Cars To See What Went Wrong
BRIAN LINDENSMITH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
BRIAN LINDENSMITH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

It’s no secret that Pauley Perrette and her NCIS character Abby Sciuto are quite similar. But fans might not realize how far that similarity runs. Aside from the personality, hair, and love for animals and criminology, both the character and actress share an odd hobby from their childhoods.

During one episode of NCIS, Abby says that when she was young, she would go through old cars to try and figure out why it stopped working and see if she could fix it. Perrette has stated that she did the same thing as a child.

Perrette Suffers From A Few Phobias

Perrette Suffers From A Few Phobias
SGranitz/WireImage
SGranitz/WireImage

While Pauley Perrette might have played a genius forensic scientist on NCIS, there is one thing her character probably can’t figure out, the actresses phobias. Perrette doesn’t suffer one, but two very unique phobias: Rhabdophobia and Fournophobia.

The former is the fear of magicians or any spell caster who can potentially subject a person to bend to their will and taking away their freedom of choice. The latter is the fear of ovens, specifically conventional ovens. Ironically, Perrette isn’t scared of microwaves.

She’s Had A Continuously High Q-Score

She's Had A Continuously High Q-Score
Lester Cohen/WireImage
Lester Cohen/WireImage

A Q-score is the familiarity rating a celebrity, television show, or brand, has with its audience. In 2010, Pauley Perrette tied with the likes of Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman, scoring a solid 50 on the Q-score rating. She’s the only female to place in the top ten on the list that year!

Then, in 2018, she was still high on the list, scoring a Q-rating of 44. Even though Perrette left NCIS in 2018, she remained relevant to people who followed her from the beginning of her time as Abby in 2003.

She Watches Every Episode Of NCIS

She Watches Every Episode Of NCIS
CBS
CBS

When you read interviews with actors and actresses at movie premieres when they’re asked if they enjoy watching themselves on screen, the answer is usually a resounding “no.” Well, Pauley Perrette is a different kind of actress.

The lady who plays quirky, Gothic, forensics scientist Abby on NCIS has admitted to watching each episode of the crime show. Perrette was on the show from 2003 until 2018. And even though she is no longer part of the cast, it’d be hard for her to stop watching now that she’s invested so much time!

When She Finally Had Money She Wanted An Electric Pencil Sharpener

When She Finally Had Money She Wanted An Electric Pencil Sharpener
Donato Sardella/WireImage
Donato Sardella/WireImage

Growing up in Alabama, Perrette’s family lived a pretty humble life. Her dad was a firefighter, and her mom passed away from breast cancer. And while she had a great childhood, there was something that was missing, an electric pencil sharpener.

The item is one of those things that you don’t realize are so useful, especially after using a manual sharpener your entire life. Perrette knew this, saying that the one thing she always wanted to buy when she had money was an electric pencil sharpener. We hope she finally bought one for herself!