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Girl Talk, 11.03.01 ...

OK, we admit it -- all of us could use a friend like Lane Kim.

She's loyal and loving, frank and funny. She tells you truth, that yes, your outfit is lame, but she does it without opening your tear ducts. And despite her clean-cut, ultra-preppy look and soft voice, she's actually into alterna-rock. Bush, anyone?

Too bad that Lane is just a fictional character played by newcomer Keiko Agena on the hit WB mother-daughter sitcom Girlmore Girls. Keiko is Rory Gilmore's (played by Alexis Bledel) trusted sidekick on the show. Luckily, in real life, Keiko is very bit as witty and caring as the girl she plays on the small screen, but maybe just a little more wild.

"I'm a very social person and I'm polite in real life. I'm definitely not a rock-the-boat kind of person, but I definitely wasn't that well-behaved when I was younger and my mother wasn't that strict," she says. "I think I'm becoming more like Lane as time goes by."

Sure, she may want you to think that. But we couldn't imagine Lane zooming around on a motorcycle!

"I have yellow and black Suzuki GX-500 motorcycle," she tells us, "and so many people have been advising me for my own good not to ride it, so I'm kind of considering selling it."

Keiko, a Hawaii native, was born and raised in Honolulu. She made her debut on Felicity as activist college student Leila Foster, who inspired Felicity to hold a demonstration at the student health center. You might have also seen her on ER, Sister, Sister or Beverly Hills, 90210.

But while we may just now be getting to know Keiko, she's had her feet firmly planted on stage since childhood. That's because at age 10, she snagged a role in the play "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." She was promptly bitten by the acting bug and decided to stick with it. Her mom took her to auditions and helped her remember her lines in local theater productions. After one year of college at Washington State, she moved to Los Angeles to try her luck in front of the camera -- and after guest roles on several major shows, she ended up on Gilmore Girls.

Good news, right? Not exactly. Come show time, things didn't start out too well for Keiko.

"It was so bad, it was horrible," she says of her very first day on the set. "My first scene was with Alexis and we were shooting the pilot, we were in Toronto, and we were nervous. It was raining, cold, and we had to walk and talk at the same time. We had to time out our dialogue and we ended a little too fast or a little too soon. We did it like 22 times. And then we didn't end up using it!"

Thank goodness Keiko has her own circle of friends to lean on when times get tough.

"Before this character, I was a real tom-boy and hung out mostly with guys," she says. "And now I'm starting to develop these good girlfriends, and I think it's great. One of my favorite things to do is to go out with a friend of mine, and we go out and we have tea or we go out and we have sushi, which is an indulgence of mine."

And when she's not working or catching up with her pals, Keiko likes to kick back at home with her two cats, Ben and Seth. And no, they're not named after Mr. Affleck and Mr. Green! "People always tease me about their names," Keiko admits.

More Gilmore Girls News ...