Celeb Chop-Up

Chop-Up: ABC's 'Designated Survivor' star Italia Ricci sits on the random/hot seat

Italia Ricci once starred as a synchronized swimmer and rock climber. (Photo: Rogers&Cowan)

Italia Ricci once starred as a synchronized swimmer and rock climber. (Photo: Brent Weber)

Italia Ricci plays right hand woman to President Tom Kirkman (Keifer Sutherland) on ABC’s hit series Designated Survivor, but growing up her roots were much less white collar.

“I was in to rock climbing and synchronized swimming,” Ricci said. “I was very good! I always swam above my age group and I got into rock climbing in high school. I was second in all of Ontario for women.”

We caught up with Ricci to chop-it-up about everything from her beast mode on land and water to her lack of punctuality hatred to under which circumstances she’d choose to be called “Rigatoni.”

Jason Jordan: I always like to gauge the sports backgrounds and experiences of all of my guests on the Celeb Chop-Up; what sports did you try coming up in Canada?

Italia Ricci: I was a synchronized swimmer. I was very good! I was pretty young, but I always swam above my age group because I was really into it.

JJ: Confident you’re my first synchronized swimmer! Everyone had a shining moment, tell me about yours in the pool.

IR: Well, you know what, my shining moment probably was in rock climbing. Once I got out of synchro I got into rock climbing in high school. I was second in all of Ontario for women.

JJ: That’s impressive! First rock climber too, by the way.

IR: (Laughs) Yeah, I’m not that coordinated so running and throwing doesn’t really work. I prefer things like rock climbing.

JJ: Gotcha. Let’s take it random; when you see a yellow traffic light what’s the first thing that pops into your head?

IR: I hope I get through…

JJ: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

IR: People being late.

JJ: What competition based reality show would you absolutely win?

IR: Ooh I don’t know… Something like Celebrity House Cleaning or something like that. I’m very OCD so I like lists and highlighting and things like that.

JJ: President Obama’s Secret Service code name is Renegade; if you were President what would you pick your code name to be?

IR: I feel like it would be Rigatoni. I love pasta!

JJ: Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds?

IR: Invisible, then I could just hear what people are thinking because, at some point, they’ll tell someone. Half the time I don’t even care what people are thinking so I wouldn’t want to hear it in my head.

JJ: What was your worst pre-fame job?

IR: I actually enjoyed all of my jobs for different reasons. Well, maybe retail. I hated that.

JJ: How would you use a rewind button in life?

IR: I don’t think I would’ve used it yet. I would use it to spend time with people that I can’t spend time with anymore.

JJ: Let’s hop into the DeLorean Time Machine (Back To The Future), which era would you want to drop in on?

IR: I would love to go back to the 1950s. Everything was cleaner and neater and simpler. You could have a nice clean ponytail, a nice strawberry milkshake, drive-ins, make-out point, no pressure! (Laughs)

JJ: What’s the most overused slang word or phrase out right now?

IR: Yeah, I still don’t understand fleek. I think I’m just too old.

JJ: If you would 100 percent get away with it which crime would you commit?

IR: Hmm, abduction… I’ve got a really cute niece.

JJ: If you could go back and get the truth about one past mystery which would you choose?

IR: The disappearance of Natalie Wood! What happened!

JJ: Who would you never want to meet in a dark alley?

IR: A murderer. Maybe Dexter.

JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?

IR: Friends… You know what I fast forward them all; I don’t have any patience.

JJ: What random fact can you tell me right now?

IR: The inventor of the Big Mac died recently and he ate a Big Mac a week for a decade! He was 98! I’m gonna have a Big Mac in his honor all week.

JJ: If you could be any pro athlete for 72 hours who would you choose to be?

IR: Michael Phelps or any competitive swimmer that could eat 3,000 calories a day!

JJ: OK, we’ve got one more episode before the winter finale of Designated Survivor; what can we expect?

IR: You can expect not to breathing for most of the episode! There is so much that’s going to happen that people will be surprised about and there will be blood.

JJ: Whoa! Well, we’ll be watching.

IR: Thanks so much! These random questions were a lot of fun.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY