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Getting used to winging it on screen

Allie Hartwick grew up in East Aurora and studied in Toronto before landing a job as the CW star for Channel 23. Hartwick, who said she's star-struck working with the same people she grew up watching on local television news, is a lifelong student of dance.

At age 25, she always wanted to be an actress -- until she found it was more fun being herself. Catch her act mornings at 8 on CW-23 WNLO, where she is a co-host of "Winging It Buffalo Style."

>People Talk: What does the CW star do?

Allie Hartwick: In the past the CW star did promotions for the station. We had Lydia, and she was awesome. When they hired me, they had the show in mind, and doing promotions in a different way.

>PT: When did you realize you wanted to be in the public eye?

AH: I always wanted to be an actress. I was living in Toronto, and just moved back to Buffalo. I was an English major.

>PT: Plus you dance.

AH: Save one or two years that I was injured, I've danced consistently since I was 5. I was working with a company in Toronto, so I have made some money, but mostly it's been a hobby.

>PT: You must be naturally graceful.

AH: I have to turn it on, usually when I first meet someone, or when I'm on the show. But I also can be very gawky and awkward. I fall a lot at very odd times. Sadly, one of my more klutzy moments was on camera recently when I was rowing with the West Side Rowing Club. I ended up launching myself into the water. You'd think someone who knows their body so well would be able to maneuver themselves.

>PT: Did you get back in the scull?

AH: Yes. I don't like to quit anything. To a fault I will not give up. Even as a kid, I would have anxiety and panic about giving up an activity or sport, and because of that I played many sports in high school. Oddly enough, I did mostly individual sports. Maybe it's something with attention.

>PT: Tell me a secret about Toronto.

AH: My name is written on a sidewalk block on Bathurst Street. I scratched my name with a popsicle stick. Last time I saw it was 2007. It's my legacy.

>PT: Where did you grow up?

AH: East Aurora. It's an amazing place, and I respect it so much now. But there's a time that every teenager in East Aurora goes through -- from about 13 to when you can start driving -- when it's tough because so many things are geared to younger kids. At the time I was so bored. Now I love the Roycroft. I like sitting in Hamlin Park.

>PT: What would people be surprised to find out about you?

AH: I have little to no confidence. It's something I've worked on forever. They say when you have a fear of something, go for it 100 percent. I was a very shy kid growing up. To this day, I do not like making phone calls. I get that prickly feeling on my neck. I get terrified.

>PT: Do you watch yourself on TV?

AH: I'm also very critical. I will review every show. I'll go back and watch old dance videos. It's an effort for me to pick myself apart. I think I need to be better at letting the world be as the world is. I need to change the way I move my hands because they are so awkward. I need to work on my pronunciation of M's and N's. I need to laugh at myself less.

>PT: Do you like the way you laugh?

AH: No. I hate it. It's awful. Nervous laughter is the worse. I sound like Krusty the Clown.

>PT: Where would you go all the time if you could?

AH: London, England. I'd go there for weekend trips, just for an overnight. I'd be there every day if I could. I dream about London every day. I'll be eating mashed potatoes, and they'll be in the shape of England.

>PT: When was your last adventure in Buffalo?

AH: I did Brian Moorman's Sprint Triathlon. I loved it -- a very short swim, a short bike ride and a 5K. It's an easy way to get started in triathlons. I never did one before, and I'm kind of addicted.

>PT: Are you on all the time?

AH: More than I'd like to be, yeah. I don't know if that's a good thing. It's not a trait that I've learned. It's not something that I put on. I know people must think I'm over the top and bubbly, and that I'm trying to be perky. Every day I'm usually very happy about things.

>PT: You've had a tough couple of years with the loss of your mom to cancer and your dad [Patrick J., killed while on a humanitarian trip] to the earthquake in Haiti. How do you keep their memory alive?

AH: In unexpected ways. I'll find myself saying a phrase that my mother used to say all the time. She would always tell me to "hush abush." My father and I had a very interesting relationship, and I've learned so much more from him now than I ever would have allowed myself to listen to before. His dedication to trying to do everything that's out there is very much a part of me.

e-mail: jkwiatkowski@buffnews.com