People 30 July 2017
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."
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."
4 Min Read
Sometimes the person you have to stand up to is you! There I was, rewatching the Miss Universe 2019 competition. Which I do for inspiration from time to time. (No, seriously!) There is something about seeing women on stage, in full-on glam mode, and speaking with confident assuredness that really lights my fire!
I have seen this Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa win this crown so many times before, but something about this particular viewing, her delivery or her words, touched something inside me a little differently. At that moment, I truly believed, with complete conviction, that she lives what she speaks.
The announcement was made, the audience cheered, and the crown was awarded. The light was dazzling,, she looked stunning, almost blessed. The judges made the right call with 2019's queen.
Reflecting On Myself
Suddenly, the YouTube video ended. And I was left looking at a black screen. In the darkness of that screen, I saw my reflection and I began assessing what I saw, asking myself, "What have I been doing with my life?" It may seem like an overly dramatic question, but at that moment, I had to ask myself seriously… What have you done? The fact that I couldn't come up with a solid, confident answer gave my inner-cynic license to quickly spiral into self-criticism.
This went on for quite some time, until I got up. I stood up and walked to my mirror to have some serious one-on-one "Queen Talk." I needed to get out of that self-critical mindset, and I know that physical movement is something that help disrupt a way of thinking. I needed to remind myself of who I really was. The negative feelings I was experiencing at that moment were not reality.
Here are a few reminders for whenever you need some Queen Talk!
1.) Comparison is truly the thief of joy.
This saying feels like a cliché. That is, until it's applicable to you. At that moment, this "cliché, becomes self-evident. Comparing myself to someone on a stage with years of experience in an area I know nothing about is not only unfair but straight-up mean. A part of my comparison comes from me wondering, "Would I have the ability, if put in that position, to perform at such a level?" The answer is totally and without question, yes. I excel in the field I work in now, and I know that if I put that same energy towards something else, with practice, I could do just as well. No joy can come from comparing yourself to someone in a completely different field!
2.) Never forget the blessings that have been bestowed upon you.
Every single day, I am blessed to have the opportunity to wake up with all ten fingers and toes and choose to create the kind of life I want to live. There is so much power in that alone, but sometimes it's easy to take it for granted. Let us not forget those who are unable to make that same decision every day of their lives.
3.) Appreciate how far you have come!
I've been very intentional for some time to be kinder and gentler to myself. I need to realize that I am human. Being human means that I will not know everything, and I will continue to make mistakes.But I must let go of the need to always be right. I feel empowered when I can see the growth that I've made, regardless of the mistakes that may come in the future. I don't react to every little thing that bothers me, because I have learned boundaries when it comes to dealing with others and myself. I truly value my time and my energy, and, for that, I am proud.
4.) You Can Be Who You Want To Be
If you can see it in your mind, you can achieve it in reality. I saw myself when I looked at the women on stage, when she smiled, the way she talked, her elegant walk. For a moment, in my self-criticism spiral, I forgot that we are all connected. Debasish Mridha has said "I may not know you, but I don't see any difference between you and me. I see myself in you; we are one." I will not sit in the mentality of lack, there is more than enough opportunity and good fortune to go around for everyone. Her win was not a loss for me, but it can be a nudge from the universe for me to go ahead and dream big!
This Queen Talk was not easy. There may have been some tissues and tears involved but giving myself an honest yet compassionate talk is sometimes what I need to bring myself out of some bad head space. In these moments of doubt, you truly need to be your own best friend.When times get rough, criticism won't always come from outside sources. How you speak about yourself internally is crucial to how you see and feel about yourself. As Beyoncé once sang, "I've got Me, Myself, and I." We must put forth every effort to be there for ourselves. I look forward to more Queen Talks when some negative emotions arise. I am grateful for the person I am today, but I am excited to see the women I become.