Mayim Bialik: On Real Beauty

Chatting #RealBeauty with TV Superstar Mayim Bialik

By Diana Zarowin

How many actresses do you know who have a PhD in Neuroscience?! We’ve got one: Mayim Bialik. 

Best known for her childhood role in Blossom and her current role in The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik sat down with us to talk Real Beauty, motherhood, and life!

Mayim’s infectious laugh and down-to-earth personality made her so enjoyable to chat with. “I fall on the natural and hippie-dippy spectrum,” the committed vegan says. “I have to wear so much makeup for work and awards shows but I typically wear no makeup!” she adds. This is just a taste of her genuineness. Read on for more from Mayim about body perfection, #DIYbeauty, and the life lessons she teaches her sons.

Mayim Bialik: On Real Beauty

What does beauty mean to you?
Starting with the hard ones! [I think there is] an aesthetic value to things that are pleasing to the eye, and a personal value that we each have as to what we find reflects something that has larger meaning and purpose and that we interpret as beautiful.

What makes you feel beautiful?
Feeling confident and not worrying about what other people think of me seems to be an easier way to feel beautiful. It really depends on my mood of the day, though, and what’s going on in my life. I’m not very style-conscious or an adorned female in general. There are days I don’t even look in the mirror!  I don’t think a lot about it… I think about things that are beautiful and what looks beautiful to me, but I don’t focus on it for myself in general… [And, you have to remember] I don’t have the hair and makeup people with me every day! I don’t even really have a go-to beauty regimen, I’m more of a plain-Jane kind of girl.. So I don’t think about my own beauty on a daily basis.

You’re a committed vegan! Can you tell us more about that choice?
It came in stages. I was a vegetarian for many years and I made the switch to vegan after my first son was born. He was allergic to any dairy I had, through breast milk. I did cut dairy out in college for the most part [and, after doing so. had] no sinus infections. In college, I was chronically sick and on antibiotics a ton and I haven’t been on antibiotics since cutting out dairy! Most people can’t easily digest dairy, anyway. So, really, it was learning more about how our bodies process food. There are also several health and ethical ramifications. But, it came slowly. Of course, there are certain foods that I miss. But, I was raised eating kosher and learning that some people eat certain things and they don’t eat others.

How has motherhood changed how you feel about your body?
Becoming a mom is the most humbling thing you can do for your body because so many things are out of your control. [It’s] a lesson in acceptance and what your body looks like as a mom…most normal people have battle scars from babies – stretch marks, new little moles or things like that. The notion of celeb moms who go back to work after giving birth is not the experience of most women. Most normal women have [post-baby] bodies that reflect how their bodies have changed. You’re not supposed to look like a 19 year old after just having a baby! There’s this  glorification of that in our society. But, you’re not supposed to look like that. It’s important to realize that when you’re birthing a human being, it’s okay for your body to look different. It has a different purpose, and it’s not meant to please the American public anymore!

How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in Hollywood?
I think the pressure is there. I don’t know if it’s even a question of dealing with it. There are standards for what’s attractive. Anyone who’s not a size 0 or 2 has difficulty with a dress. I can’t buy dresses off the rack! We have to find someone to make it in an “enormous” non 0-2 size. There’s also this notion that everyone wears Spanx- people should remember that. Many men, as well, are being made to look more streamlined because that’s what we find more attractive. I just find a good stylist who appreciates my body, which I call a “real body.” But, it’s difficult. It’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy awards shows.

What lesson about beauty would you hope to pass on to your children?
That it is in the eye of the beholder. It’s so funny when I see the people that others find attractive. It’s so variable- there’s someone for everyone. That’s what I try and teach my boys. There’s not one thing that is absolutely attractive.

Do you have any DIY beauty secrets?
Let’s see! When I was younger and had more time before [I had] children, I’d make masks out of oatmeal and other fun things. I do so little of that now that I’m a mom. But, I do use face oil. That’s a new thing I use. But, I don’t really have a strict regimen.

What do you always have in your handbag?
My favorite hand cream is Votre Vu. It also has lipgloss attached – one less thing to lose because it’s all in one! My phone. A pen- I like fountain pens. I also use essential oils so I almost always have lavender oils with me. Dr. Hauschka lip stuff, too.

If you could give young women one piece of beauty or life advice, what would it be?
No no no please. Not beauty advice. Learn about a lot of different things, options, for your life. This is important. Basing your life on someone else’s beliefs of what you should or shouldn’t do is not as fulfilling as learning what you should and shouldn’t want. Think for yourself.

The one lesson you always remind yourself is…
The days only come one at a time. Take one day at a time. Regretting and future- casting and worrying and what will happen is rarely effective. Yes, you do need to plan ahead and think ahead. But only handle one day as a time.

You have a PhD in neuroscience! How does it feel to be an accomplished actress and have a doctorate?! What role does your education play in your career?
The thing I’m most proud of in my life, besides my kids and being a mom, is the fact that I spent a large part of my life being valued for what was in my brain, not for what I looked like or if I fit into a size 2 dress. I went to UCLA – I’m a proud Bruin! – and enjoyed my years as an academic tremendously. It made me who I am more than any nominations or awards shows. My life as an actor is one part of me, but everything about me-neuroscience is a part of everything that I think.

Any last thoughts for our readers?
There are a lot of things we can do as humans that are beautiful, even if they’re not related to physical beauty. Being kind to others, giving charity, thinking outside of yourself — these are the things that really make you beautiful. As you get older, you realize this more and more.

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