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Debbie Allen Shares How She’s Celebrating Grandparents Day Without Letting Pain Get In the Way


Debbie Allen isn’t letting anything stop her from enjoying quality time with her precious grandbaby — especially any pesky aches and pains.

The Fame and Grey’s Anatomy actress and dancer has teamed up with the topical pain relief experts at Aspercreme ($9.98, Amazon) to encourage grandmas and grandpas everywhere to feel the same with their own little ones.

“Being a grandparent is the most joyous thing I could ever wish for anyone,” Allen tells Woman’s World. “There’s nothing more delightful than being looked at from those children’s eyes with pure love and curiosity — and also running around, taking them places, explaining things.” Which is exactly where Aspercreme comes in handy. Allen says about her granddaughter, Shiloh, “She’s a handful!”

She explains that her family took precautions to quarantine as soon as the pandemic hit to make sure they would all still feel comfortable seeing each other. And although Allen is lucky enough to spend every weekend with Shiloh, she is extra excited to use Grandparent’s Day (September 13) to “reset the bar” on what being a grandparent really means.

“We aren’t these frail, crickety old people somewhere in a corner,” she says. Along with Aspercreme, Allen wants grandparents to show off just how fun and active their lives are with their grandkids by using the hashtag #LoveIsGrand on social media leading up to the holiday this weekend. It’s not just a great way to shed that old stereotype, but the company will also be donating $1 for every photo shared to a non-profit organization that supports aging adults, up to $50,000.

Allen already shared her own adorable snap with Shiloh saying, “We swim, bike ride, run around together, and Aspercreme helps make it easy! Help show what today’s grandparents really look like by sharing your photos using #LoveIsGrand.”

When she’s not staying active with Shiloh, Allen is already back on set with her Grey’s Anatomy cast mates — although things do look a little different for the actors this year, of course.

“We’re going through our whole COVID-19 protocols,” Allen, who is also an executive producer on the series, tells us. “It’s actually adding a day to the shooting schedule and shortening the day a little bit because you have to give people time to have breaks. We just have to make sure everybody feels safe.”

Aside from the new schedule, Allen doesn’t spill any details on what the next season will include. All she gives away is that she’s excited about the stories they’re going to tell. “I think people are going to love it,” she adds.

As if working on set and running around with her grandbaby weren’t enough, the 70-year-old recently showed off another one of her many talents while directing the upcoming Dolly Parton Christmas musical, Christmas on the Square, which is set to air this fall on Netflix. “It’s a wonderful Christmas movie,” Allen says. “Christine Baranski is brilliant, Jenifer Lewis is a hoot — I had a great time working on this project.”

The musical was also a family affair with her daughter, Vivian, getting a small role and even Shiloh making her on-screen debut. That is, when Parton wasn’t trying to keep the toddler all to herself. “Dolly Parton tried to steal my baby!” Allen says with a laugh. “I said, ‘Stop it!’ Every time I looked up she was taking her to her trailer.”

Allen explained that although she and Parton have known each other for years, this was their first time really working together. “I don’t know anyone else like her, walking around in those high, high heels,” Allen says with a laugh. “She needs some Aspercreme! I’m going to send her some.”

While we wait to see what’s in store for the film and new season of Grey’s Anatomy, Allen reiterates to grandparents, “September 13! Everyone chime in with those pictures!”

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