The always curious and opportunistic Sarah Eve Fulghum (freelance writer and blog editor for AFullCup.com), talked with Melissa Joan Hart, a Fit Bottomed Mama we practically grew up with—Clarissa Explains It All, anybody? Melissa is currently starring in her ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey (with Joey Lawrence, whoa!), is a busy mom of two boys, and is also working on fantastic promotions with Beech-Nut and Kellogg’s to help children in need and promote healthy eating too. Here is Sarah’s interview with the busy mom (and if you prefer to listen rather than read, click here for audio)!
Interview with Melissa Joan Hart
- FBM: On your show, Melissa & Joey, there’s often a healthy and delicious meal being cooked or eaten in the kitchen. How important do you think it is to portray healthy eating habits on TV?
- MJH: Well, that’s interesting that you noticed that because that’s actually a big thing for Joey [Lawrence]. He is a cook. He likes to cook. I’m lucky enough that my husband is from the South and a great cook, and I don’t cook that often. I think that’s part of growing up on the set. There are certain things I never learned for myself, how to dress myself, how to do my own hair, makeup or how to cook. Those were done. I came to set showered, in my pajamas, pretty much, and someone would make me look good and someone would feed me. So those are the things that I never really learned, but Joey somehow has a real knack for it, and he loves to make sure that when he’s doing this on the show, he’s always got a full meal worked out. He spends a lot of time with the prop people on the meals that they make, and it’s really nice to see. I think it is nice. I think it is interesting that you caught that because, obviously, it’s not really something we meant for the audience to notice. It’s more meant for Joey to have an easy time with it when we’re shooting, so he doesn’t have to mess with the prop too much. But yes, it is great. I think it’s great to show that on television.
- It’s a difficult time right now. I’m actually working with Beech-Nut on their Jar for a Jar program. If you go on Beech-Nut’s Facebook page, you’ll see a virtual jar where you can click on it and send virtual jars to friends, then Beech-Nut will send the actual jars to “Feed the Children” to distribute throughout the country. Also, I’ve been working with Kellogg’s on their “Share Your Breakfast” program because there’s a big problem in the country right now where one in four children are waking up hungry, and that’s unacceptable in this country.But then you’ve also got, of course, the child obesity rate. So on the one hand, you’ve got that and on the other hand, you’ve got the highest poverty level in children since the Depression. So a lot of these kids are waking up with empty bellies, and it’s kind of mind-boggling to think one in four children in our country is waking up hungry. So it’s a really nice thing to focus on doing food right.It’s always amazing to me. Like I can go and get a salad at the commissary at our work, and I’ll get a salad and a bowl of chili, I’ll go get a bottle of water and out of the whole thing it’s $6, but $4 of that is my bottle of water. So it can be reasonable to eat healthy. It can be economical, if you go to the farmer’s market and whatnot. So I think it is good to show that sort of side of things as well. However, it’s not the main focus of the show. Obviously, it’s just sort of a side thing and that would actually be a really good question for Joey.
- FBM: So do you guys eat what he cooks?
- MJH: A lot of times we’re afraid of prop food because sometimes it’s just sitting there all day.
- FBM: Speaking of healthy living, you look great! How do you stay in such great shape?
- MJH: Oh gosh. I’ve been having a hard time with it recently, to be honest. During the show you might see me put on a few. Also, I think I went through a little bout of depression while I was working on the show just because I wasn’t with my kids as much as I wanted to be. And I try getting up and going to the gym, although I wouldn’t try as hard as I could—it’s tough. But I also ride my bike to work and stuff like that. I try to stay active. I don’t like to go to the gym so much. I get very bored, so I’m really trying to mix it up. So, right now, this summer I’ve been on a goalie program—since we’re done with the show and I kind of have my time to myself, I’ve been mixing it up with Spinning, yoga, Zumba, and then some weights and gym time with my husband and friends. So it’s been a nice little summer. I’ve gotten in really good shape in the last few weeks. But while I was in the show it was really, really difficult to balance being away from my family and working. Whenever my family was around, I didn’t want to be going to the gym and whenever they weren’t around, I was just too tired to leave the house, so it was work. So you’ll see that a little bit on the show, I think.
- FBM: Thanks for answering my questions and good luck with everything!
- MJH: Sure! Thank you.
Hilarious when she talks about not learning to cook or dress herself because that was done for her on set—I have the same problem, but without the excuse of showbiz! But in all seriousness, isn’t it reassuring to know that even the celebs struggle with fitting in workouts? Cheers to MJH’s honesty! —Erin