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Why Hollywood won't cast Jamie-Lynn Sigler anymore

In the early days of her acting career, Jamie-Lynn Sigler landed a supporting role on The Sopranos, never expecting this show would change her entire life. Playing Meadow Soprano, Tony Soprano's sassy teenage daughter, Sigler held her own against a much more experienced cast that included James Gandolfini and Edie Falco. Over a decade since its finale, The Sopranos is still regarded as one of the best TV shows of all time, and Meadow's relationship with Tony was one of the narratives that made the show so compelling. She was aware of her father's criminal activities and involvement with the mob, but her feelings about his double life were conflicted and constantly shifting between resentment and begrudging acceptance. 

Although The Sopranos put Sigler on the map and established her as a serious actress, the rest of her career hasn't been quite as exciting. So where has she been lately, and why has she basically stayed out of the spotlight since The Sopranos? Well, she's made a few missteps, but she's also faced some serious challenges that have kept Hollywood from casting her.

Sigler hasn't been the same since The Sopranos

There's no doubt that The Sopranos was the high point of Sigler's career. The show enjoyed unprecedented success and ushered in a whole new era of TV. It's easy to assume that any of the regular Sopranos cast members would have no problem landing high-profile roles after the series ended. But hey, acting is a tough business, and being part of an award-winning cast doesn't guarantee you'll always have big projects lined up in the future. 

For Sigler, it seems like The Sopranos was basically lightning in a bottle, as she hasn't been a part of anything like it since the series ended. The finale aired 12 years ago (sparking plenty of controversy and fan theories that would be debated for years to come), but nothing that Sigler has worked on afterwards has achieved the same kind of critical acclaim. She did have a recurring role as herself on Entourage shortly after The Sopranos ended, but she only appeared on the show for two seasons. She also popped up in episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Ugly Betty, and CSI: Cyber, but it's not like any of those performances have stuck in the pop culture consciousness. But in fairness, being part of another show like The Sopranos would be difficult to repeat. After all, it set a new standard for everything that followed.

Sigler's album wasn't a hit

In 2001, Sigler decided she wanted to branch out a bit and see if music might be a viable career path. So she released her debut album, Here to Heaven ... and it quickly became clear that it would also be her last album. The problem wasn't her voice — Sigler has appeared in plenty of musicals, including the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast — but the album just wasn't a hit. Considering that the first song was named "Bada Bing," it almost came across as a gimmick. It's ultimately remembered as just another Britney Spears knock-off from the early 2000s. 

Looking back, Sigler wasn't too proud of it, either, and she has no problem admitting the whole thing was basically a mess. "I was part of it — but I hated every moment of it," Sigler told Vegas magazine. "I was faking it the whole time." After that experience, Sigler probably realized that she was better off sticking to acting.

Sigler is juggling film and family

In 2013, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and her fiancé, MLB player Cutter Dykstra, welcomed their first child, a boy named Beau. Then in 2016, Sigler and Dykstra tied the knot, and two years after that, their second son, Jack, was born. In other words, Sigler has a whole lot on her plate, balancing her acting career with her family life.

Since The Sopranos ended, Sigler has worked on several smaller projects, like the Hallmark Christmas flick The Christmas Note, the rom-com Divorce Initiation, and indie movies like Anatomy of the Tide. She's also recently had turns in TV shows like Magnum P.I. and Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy

However, Sigler puts her kids first and foremost, and that's probably affected which projects she takes and when. After all, for Sigler, her role as a mom is more important than any character she could play on-screen. When talking about her sons in an essay for Shondaland, Sigler wrote, "I am there for [my sons] each and every day."

Sigler is opening up about MS

In 2016, Sigler revealed that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 20 years old. She thought that if she ever revealed she was dealing with this condition, she would sacrifice her future in Hollywood because no one would want to take a chance on working with her again. Unfortunately, some of her worst fears turned out to be true. Sigler has admitted that since making the brave choice to speak up about her diagnosis, she's had a hard time finding work. 

"While that's out of much of our control as actors, it's definitely gotten super quiet for me since I came public with my MS," Sigler wrote in a personal essay. It's a shame that Sigler has had to put up with this extra obstacle. She knew it was a risk when she decided to share her story, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. But Sigler is keeping her chin up. "To be honest, I can handle all this," she wrote. "I handle it well, actually. I have my moments of feeling just plain devastated, sure, but I am lucky."

MS can be a challenge on set

Although Sigler says that her condition is basically stable, and that she's actually been feeling stronger recently, MS can cause some pretty serious physical symptoms. Luckily for Sigler, her symptoms aren't debilitating, but living with MS will always come with challenges. Sigler says that she can't really run or jump anymore, and she hasn't been able to walk in high heels for over a decade. Sadly, she also says that she has a slight limp.

Sigler has acknowledged that having MS does limit the kinds of roles she can accept. "I'll only pull out [of a job] if it's [a] physical [role]," she told Glamour. "I'm not going to play a detective or a superhero, but I'm human, and I want to tell stories." She doesn't want MS to totally dictate what she can and can't do, but she knows that sometimes, turning down certain roles is just a smarter decision. 

Sigler is an activist now

Sigler has clearly faced her own fair share of challenges, but she knows that she's also been privileged in some ways. She says that she's never had to worry about paying for her MS treatments, but she's aware that many other people are not so lucky. She's also concerned for the people who feel the way she did for so many years — afraid to tell the truth about their condition for fear of being treated differently.

Now, Sigler dedicates more of her time to advocating for people with MS. She worked with Tecfidera on their "Re-Imagine Myself" program, which provided a platform for people living with MS to share their stories and connect with each other. "I would love to see more attention paid to MS and stem cell research to give people hope for the future," she told Glamour. "Most people are diagnosed between 20 and 40, and these are young people just starting their lives or in the middle of their careers." Hopefully, Sigler can use her influence to make life a little easier for people who are suffering.

Sigler is focusing on her passion projects

So, if Sigler hasn't been acting in a whole lot of prestige projects lately, then what else has she been up to? Well, she has other hobbies and interests, and lately, she's gotten into podcasting. Sigler currently hosts the podcast Mama Said with her friend Jenna Parris. The two of them talk about everything from managing their kids' screen time to their most embarrassing moments as parents. It's a funny and lighthearted show, and they want their listeners to know it's okay to feel overwhelmed and confused as a mom. Sigler will be the first to admit that she can't see herself doing any other job besides acting, saying, "It's a hard thing to shut off when it's all you've ever done." Of course, if she ever does want to retire, it sounds like she'll be just fine with her work behind a microphone. 

Sigler has dealt with some mediocre reviews

Sigler obviously struck gold with The Sopranos, but over the years, she's also appeared in some films that turned out to be real duds. In fact, her most recent movies didn't exactly earn rave reviews. In 2017, she played Melissa in the movie Justice, a Western about a small town torn apart by a corrupt mayor and a mysterious murder. The premise could've been interesting enough, but the film relied on old clichés and thin characters, leading to a disappointing reception.

That same year, Sigler had a role as Lulu Rolfe in the film Gangster Land. This 2017 film tells the story of Al Capone through the eyes of his second-in-command, Jack McGurn. But unlike The Sopranos, this mafia flick fell flat. The genre was familiar territory for Sigler, but it wasn't her best work. And unfortunately, it's not always easy for an actor to land better roles after they appear in a string of flops. 

Sigler hasn't had any major TV roles recently

Sigler's last recurring role in television was on the series Guys With Kids, which premiered back in 2012. The show followed three fathers — Nick, Chris, and Gary — who still feel like they're basically kids themselves. Sigler played Nick's wife, Emily. With Jimmy Fallon at the helm as one of the co-creators, it seemed like the series had some potential, but it ended up missing the mark.

The whole idea of comedy centered on clueless dads who weren't quite ready for fatherhood was a little overdone, and the series didn't last long. It received rotten reviews, and the show ended up getting cancelled after one season. Overall, it was offering up standard, fluffy sitcom fare, and that just wasn't enough to earn a second season. After it ended, Sigler became a parent herself, and it seems like she hasn't been able to fully commit to another series since. 

Sigler isn't chasing success

In 2019, Sigler opened up about struggling with anxiety as a teenager, saying that when started her acting career as a high school student, she was constantly worrying about being liked. Similar to any other teenager, she always felt like she had to win the approval of others. But as time went on, she began to feel less and less self-conscious. 

Sigler says that she used to feel like she had to be an accomplished actress in order to earn love and attention from other people. Now, she realizes that she has plenty of people in her life who will always care about her, no matter what direction her career goes in. Writing about her sons, she said, "They have shown me that I don't need anything, good or bad, working or not, disease or no disease, to be deserving of love." 

She also says that she doesn't feel like she needs success to "survive." So while some actors might be constantly seeking the biggest roles in the biggest films or TV shows possible, Sigler is a little more laid back. She's cool with herself as a person and doesn't need the validation of fans or Hollywood. While she wouldn't say no to another huge role, it's not like she needs it to feel good about herself, so she doesn't always have to chase the limelight.

Sigler does have some new films coming up

Yes, Jamie-Lynn Sigler has been laying kind of low for a while, but it looks like she might be getting ready to shake things up once again. She recently finished working on her new film, Mob Town, and a release date should be announced shortly. She also has another film coming up, a horror movie called Hunting Season, which is currently in pre-production. And in April, she even signed with a new agency and switched up her representation. Perhaps this means she's thinking seriously about her next steps and staying busy in 2020.

It's been a little over 20 years since The Sopranos premiered, and maybe this fact has gotten Sigler motivated to find roles where her strengths can really shine through. It would be tough to top The Sopranos, but Sigler definitely isn't thinking about retiring just yet. If she's ready to step up her acting commitments, we may be seeing a lot more of her soon enough.