Jennifer Esposito Shows Off Her Physique in Shape

03/05/2008 at 08:30 AM EST

Jennifer Esposito Shows Off Her Physique in Shape
Jennifer Esposito in Shape
Courtesy Shape Magazine
When Jennifer Esposito was a struggling actress, she made ends meet by working as an exercise instructor in Manhattan. The Samantha Who? actress continues to keep fitness a priority – the evidence is her bikini photo shoot in April's Shape magazine.

The actress, who shares her no-fail workout plan in the magazine, says her mom has always been her biggest supporter.

"When I was 6, I told my mom I wanted to be an actress, live in New York City, and have two dogs," she says.

What advice did her mother, who was married and pregnant at 18, give? "She told me, 'You go girl! You can do whatever you set your mind to. Don't settle, and don't depend on anyone but yourself,' " Esposito tells Shape.

These days, mom is still her daughter's biggest fan – even if she doesn't understand every little nuance of showbiz.

Jennifer Esposito Shows Off Her Physique in Shape| Jennifer Esposito

Courtesy Shape Magazine

"She called me recently and said, 'You're going to win an Oscar for Samantha Who?" laughs Esposito. "I had to tell her you don't win Oscars for TV roles."

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