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Mandy Moore: On Feeling Deeply, Living Fearlessly, and Trusting Her Intuition

People

When I headed out the door of my East Village apartment to meet Mandy Moore at the Crosby Hotel in late June, I took two important items with me: my headphones and a picture of my "aura." After reading about Moore having her aura read, I couldn't wait to talk to her about my own adventures in new-age discoveries (spoiler: she's into crystals right now), especially since my mom is an astrologer.


As for the headphones? I hate to admit it, but I listened to "Candy" on the way to the interview, relishing singing along to one of my favorite songs from my middle school era. Needless to say, though, after chatting with Moore, it's evident how far she's come since those pop ballad days. In fact, I was thoroughly impressed with how openly and unapologetically optimistic she is, as well as how intelligent she was.

As her career continues to flourish with her title role in the Golden Globe-nominated show, This is Us, Moore talked to SWAAY about what she's learned over her multi-decade show, and what's next for this inspiring female:

On What She Wish She Had Done When She Was Younger

Moore has always known one thing for certain: she was meant for the stage. She's often credited her British grandmother, who was a professional ballerina in London, for opening her eyes to the life of performance. She told Billboard magazine that her parents thought she'd outgrow the desire to be an actress or singer, like most young girls do, but she stuck with it. Her big break was delivered quite serendipitously when she was 13, when a FedEx delivery man heard her singing while she was at a studio in Orlando, Florida. He was so enthralled with her vocals that he personally delivered her unfinished demo to a friend at A&R at Epic Records. Fate was on her side - she signed with the label shortly after and her first hit song, "Candy," became my go-to pre-teen jam.

Since then, Moore has explored everything from acting in romantic comedies to even briefly running her own fashion label, Mblem, from 2005 to 2009. But while she's kept busy and unarguably built an inspiring, successful career for herself, when she looks back, she's grateful, but also sees some of the fun she missed along the way.

“I wish that I had really taken advantage of being young. I think that I said 'no' too often, whether it was being in a new city or [saying] 'Nah, I'm just going to get some sleep and not go out with my friends to see a band or explore" she says.

“I think I sometimes took my life a little too seriously, so I would tell my younger version of Mandy to just take a deep breath and enjoy how life is unfolding in front of you."

Even though she might have missed out on some beers abroad or getting lost in a new city at night, Moore's life has unfolded in many unexpectedly beautiful ways. As she's continued to explore different roles, even playing a wife and mother for the first time on This Is Us, she's aligned herself with causes and campaigns that speak to her interest, beliefs and of course, for this heartfelt powerhouse, to her soul.

On Why This Campaign Means Something to Her

While Moore wants to become a mother one day, right now she's focusing more on her career and exploring those avenues before diving diaper-first into motherhood. Because she's aware of her own timeline and the important choices she's lucky to have for her own health, she wants other women to feel empowered to make the same choices, for wherever they happen to be in their lives.

That's why she recently joined the "Her Life. Her Adventures" campaign, which is shedding much-needed attention on breaking the stereotypes on birth control, fertility and family planning. “Every woman has her own unique story. She has her own unique journey. She has her own sense of adventure, and what adventure means to her," she shares. “[This campaign] is all encompassing women's health, and specifically around family planning and birth control but the educational awareness component of this campaign really resonates with me. I think it's an important conversation worth having and highlighting. I'm super excited to use this platform that I have to continue this dialogue."

Mandy Moore

On Allowing Herself to Feel Deeply

Even for female entrepreneurs who breathe, live and devour every second of their budding businesses, being on top of your game every day is an unreasonable demand. With Moore's hectic schedule, she's learned to accept that not every day will feel sunny side up, and instead, she gives herself breathing room to feel whatever she's feeling, sans judgement. “I try to look at the bigger picture and take each day one day at a time. Also, to allow myself to feel my feelings and not get down on myself for having a bad day or feeling blue about something. It's part of the human condition," she says. “I try to remind myself to not get down on myself and that tomorrow's a new day and you're not going to live in an endless cycle of feeling down."

On Therapy and Why It's Important

Ask any famed entrepreneur and they will likely credit soul searching as a key detour on their path to profitability or funding. Not only is being self-aware an important lesson in becoming an adult, but it can help you value the sheer strength that comes from asking for help when you need it. For Moore, who has been in and out of talk therapy for more than a decade, giving herself permission to chat it out has been a pivotal routine of her continued career. “The sessions where I don't go in with something in mind, like this is something I'm going to tackle in therapy today, are usually the most beneficial sessions. Something comes to light that I had no idea I was thinking about or that was a problem or something that's so packed away or compartmentalized," she explains. “I know it's something I'll continue to do in perpetuity, in fits and spurts."

On the Female Entrepreneurs She Champions

Though Moore did run her own fashion label for a few years, she has no future plans of starting another company and instead says she's “happy being a consumer and a fan of a lot of things out there in the marketplace." That doesn't mean she's not still paying attention to the smart female entrepreneurs who are making waves in her local community, though. One of her friends owns a group of nail salons in Los Angeles called Olive and June, where Moore is a frequent, supportive customer. She's also impressed with Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, who founded WhoWhatWear, or what's now CMG Clique Media Group Inc. In fact, she calls them "total badasses."

She also continues to keep a pulse on style, commenting, “There are a lot of incredible women out there doing remarkable things and changing the machine of the fashion world."

Mandy Moore at DGA Awards

On How There Was Never a Plan B

So what would Moore be doing if she wasn't an actress? A good question, according to Moore, who says she doesn't have the skillset to do anything else. She laughed, saying she'd probably be unemployed. “I used to think I would want to go into journalism but now that I've been on the other side of it, it's a really daunting job. I don't know if I would be cut out for that. It's too high stress for me. I may have gone into the blogosphere and become a blogger," she shares.

But since she's been in the game for so long, the thought of another industry hasn't crossed her mind. “From the age of six, I knew I wanted to do this in some capacity and I always thought I would end up on Broadway. I've had a one-track mind and there's been no plan b."

On The Best Career Advice She Was Given

Over the years, everyone from mentors and fellow colleagues have given their words of wisdom, shaping her viewpoint along the way. And while Moore has admired many actors and professionals throughout her career, it was her father who made the greatest impact on her decision-making skills. “My dad has always told me, 'If there's any doubt, don't.' I try to think about that, because the few times that I've ignored my gut in life, it's gotten me into trouble or landed me in an uncomfortable position. Respect my intuition and trust that," she explains.

On Taking a Leap Of Faith

When you take that first step off the ledge into the unknown, giving up your job and sinking your savings into a business idea you're not sure will stand the test of the market, it's an exciting yet daunting experience. While Moore says there isn't a single moment that stands out as her "leap of faith" - she argues that really, all of it was risky. And that blind ambition and unparalleled courage is something she wishes she could bottle up again.

“I think back now and there's no way that if I had the fear I have at 33, I'd have the guts to do this as a 15-year-old. Not to pat myself on the back, but there's clarity and wisdom that comes with age. I can't imagine the guts I had as a kid to get on stage in front of 20,000 people. I didn't even think about it. It didn't even register. I was just like, 'Great, Cool. Where do I go? Where's my microphone?' I was hosting MTV shows. The fearlessness that came along with being a young person, I don't know if I have that same level of fearlessness now. I try to tap into it when need be," she says.

Even so, on the good and bad days, and every kind of day in-between, it's that same optimistic courage that keeps her going. “I try to have perspective and think about the bigger picture, and realize I'm really lucky to have a job that I'm passionate about 99 percent of the time. The 1 percent is okay. I'll take the good with the bad."

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.