Though she's only been back living in the Chicago area for just under a year, South Side native Jenny McCarthy has packed a lot into those 11 months.
In that time, she's broken up with her (now ex-)Bear beau Brian Urlacher, secured a daily column at the Chicago Sun-Times, launched a weekly talk show, hosted a separate reality show and also stayed active at the helm of her controversial-to-some autism organization Generation Rescue.
On Tuesday, McCarthy will host Generation Rescue's sixth-annual Rescue Our Angels benefit at Studio Paris, an event that will honor the fundraiser's founders, the Chicago-based Doyle family.
While McCarthy, a graduate of Mother McAuley High, said that although passion is one thing that is consistent among autism activists nationwide, she senses a special kinship among those working on the issue in Chicago.
"I always describe Chicago as a city where we all feel we went to the same high school," she told HuffPost. "We stick up for each other and everyone has each others' backs in Chicago."
While McCarthy first entered the limelight as Playboy's Playmate of the Year in the '90s, she gained additional exposure during her stint as the host of the popular MTV dating game show "Singled Out." Could a reboot be in the works? She said that she and Chris Hardwick are both "game" for it and added that her former cohost may open up the "Dating Pool" once again during a possible reunion on her VH1 show.
"Chris and I would probably both jump at the chance to do it. I would love nothing more," McCarthy said.
HuffPost recently asked McCarthy to take on our My Chicago questionnaire.
Where in the city do you live and how long have you lived there? Currently in Geneva. I grew up on the South Side near Midway, right down the street from the airport. I moved to LA in 1993 and moved back last May.
What is your age? What is your occupation? 40. Model, author, activist and talk show host.
What was your first job in Chicago? My very first paying job was that I worked for Dove. Now everyone knows Dove because it is a national brand and you can find Dove bars and chocolate everywhere, but it wasn't when I started. It was at this little ice cream shop on Pulaski. I got the job when I was 15 with a worker's permit to wash dishes and I gained 20 pounds when I worked there. It was really great jumping into the service industry because I got to move up to waitress to work with people, wanting them to just be happy. I then moved on to a Polish grocery store where I worked for six years called 7-9-11. They were well known for their Polish sausage.
Which Chicago "celebrity" -- living or dead, real or fictional -- would you have over for dinner? What would you talk about? Probably the mayor, to discuss the inner workings of what's going on in Chicago and to see if there is anything I can do in the city since I have a public name to help out.
What is your favorite “last call” bar? I usually always hit up the Paris Club, and then usually to my apartment downtown.
Where is your favorite place to grab brunch? I love The Lobby at the Peninsula. I love the decadence of it all.
What are your go-to spots when you have visitors in town? That's a really good question because I always have that issue, even with my son who didn't grow up here. I like to take him downtown, usually to Michigan Avenue with all the shops, then to the beach and the Sears Tower still. And then Giordano's, my favorite pizza joint, because you just have to have it.
What is the last cultural event you saw in the city? What'd you think? I am so busy and I'm in the suburbs, but I did watch the Geneva Swedish Day parade. It was really sweet.
If you had to have your last Chicago meal for some tragic reason, where and what would it be? Definitely Giordano's. I grew up on Giordano's and I just love it. I'd have the sausage and onion on thin crust.
Cubs or Sox? Sox for sure. When you move away from the city, you can say both, but once you're back in it, you have to stick to the side you lived on.
Wicker Park, 1993 or Wicker Park, 2013? I don't know about Wicker Park today, so that's a hard one. If I had to guess, I'd have to say 1993 because wasn't everything better back in the day?
Chicago-style hot dog, Chicago-style pizza or Chicago-style politics? For sure pizza, no doubt. I do like a good hot dog at the games, but for the most part, the pizza's my weekly vice.
What advice would you give to a new Chicago transplant? That you really have to get downtown and explore everything we have to offer. It's such a beautiful city with the architecture and the fact that we have a beach next to all these high-rises. It's stunning. Also our food, to me, is some of the best food in the country. To explore both the beauty and the foodies, if you will.
What do you miss the most when you're not in Chicago? I miss the people. Really, the sensibility everybody has here is very conversational and approachable like there's just a sense that we're all in it together. Whereas, maybe in LA, they're not. Everyone is very separate and guarded, whereas in Chicago it feels like the goal is to have a good family and to do the best for your family. Elsewhere, I noticed people at just too in it for themselves and their career or their looks, things like that. In Chicago, we're really in it for some depth, some heart and soul.
If you could change just one thing about our fair city what would it be? If the bars would stay open until 6 a.m., that would be great.
Describe Chicago in one word. Real. Everybody's real.
In 1951's "Chicago: City on the Make," Nelson Algren wrote: "Once you've come to be a part of this particular patch, you'll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real." Through My Chicago, HuffPost is discussing what, to this day, makes the patch we call home so lovely and so broken with some of the city's most compelling characters.