Disney's "Planes" might as well have been Teri Hatcher's life story. Or a version of it, anyway.

As the voice of Dottie the forklift in the upcoming "Cars" spinoff, the "Desperate Housewives" star plays the role of the concerned friend who tries to talk Dusty the Crophopper (Dane Cook) out of competing in a prestigious international racing competition. In many ways, however, she relates more to Dusty's point of view than to that of her own character.

"I think I'm a kind of a person who works hard at whatever I do, literally from being a waitress to being on television," Hatcher told me. "I always try to give 110 percent to whatever it is I'm doing. And I'm also not afraid and actually invite the opportunities to push myself into something that feels a little uncomfortable and scary, and try to learn something new. It's when I feel the most alive."

Still, when she first started out in Hollywood Hatcher's dreams of becoming an actress weren't always met with unvarnished optimism from those around her.

"My father would not pay for me to study anything but engineering or math in college," she said. "Like, he was from that Depression era where he felt like 'you're gonna learn a science and that's gonna be a guaranteed job and that's what you need to do because that's what's safe.'"

To hear what else Hatcher had to say, click on the video above for the full interview.

"Planes" hits theaters on Friday.