Mandy Moore first entered public consciousness in 1999, with her insatiably catchy bubblegum-pop hit, “Candy.” (We dare you not to let the tune get stuck in your head from the sheer mention of it.) And though it seemed like Moore was destined for pop stardom—à la peers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera—she wasn’t ready to define herself, pivoting a few years later to film with ’00s classics like “A Walk to Remember” and “The Princess Diaries.”
Now, 18 years since her pop debut, Moore is surprising audiences again as Rebecca Pearson, the intense, complex mother (and grandmother) on NBC’s smash family drama, “This Is Us.” Moore’s career-redefining journey (essentially, her own version of Matthew McConaughey’s aptly nicknamed
“McConaissance” transformation) might be the reason she recently partnered with Her Life Her Adventures, a campaign encouraging women to learn about their birth control options to prepare them for whatever lies ahead.
“I’m a woman first and foremost so I am very passionate about championing and supporting one another,” says Moore via phone.
While Moore hints that motherhood is on the horizon (she recently became engaged to Dawes frontman, Taylor Goldsmith), she doesn’t see her career slowing down after starting a family. She references her “This Is Us” character, a mother of three who put her singing career on hold in the 1980s to raise children, as a testament to how expectations for women are evolving.
Women’s plans, adventures, and choices of what they want to do with their lives come in all different packages.
“Times are definitely changing and shifting,” Moore says. “There’s no right or wrong answer. Women’s plans, adventures, and choices of what they want to do with their lives come in all different shapes, forms, and packages. My character on the show had kids at 30, but I think the idea of having to completely put her career and that part of her life and who she is on the back burner and compartmentalize that isn’t necessarily a factor anymore.”
While Moore admits that she won’t know what it’s like to balance work and family until it happens, she credits working moms in her life (including her own) for proving that balance is possible.
“I feel really lucky to have a ton of incredible women that provide great examples for me of kind of doing a little bit of everything—of being moms and still being really successful working women,” Moore says. “I’m trying my best to do and have it all, but not put that pressure on myself because I know it’s overwhelming. I’m just going to take it as it comes.”
I feel the best about myself when I’m taking care of myself through respect.
As for how she predicts she’ll fare as mom, Moore noted that she’ll be discussing birth control options with her children, something she confirmed with a resounding, “Ab-so-lutely.” Another lesson Moore will likely instill in her children is body-positivity, a topic she recently made headlines for when she shut down body-shamers on Instagram who accused her of Photoshopping a picture to make herself look slimmer.
“I felt the need to be entirely transparent,” Moore says. “I know social media is not reality, but that’s where people took it. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but I felt compelled to.”
For Moore, social media and a “curated look” at people’s lives are things she’s still getting used to, considering she grew up in a time when Instagram wasn’t a reality.
I feel pretty lucky that I’ve kind of managed to make my way through the industry relatively unscathed.
“We’re humans. We struggle with body image and social media doesn’t necessarily help that,” Moore says. “I think you have to take [social media] with a grain of salt, and sometimes take a minute to detox from all of that because it is a curated look at someone’s life. It’s not necessarily reality. I’m still trying to learn those lessons as well. I’m really grateful I’m not a teenager growing up with social media nowadays because man, I’m sure it’s quite a trip.”
Moore credits the lack of social media in her childhood as the one of the reasons she was able to grow up in the entertainment industry “relatively unscathed” of body image pressures. However, despite admitting that she too was an “impressionable teenager,” Moore recognizes that her experience wasn’t the norm of other stars in her time.
I think you have to take [social media] with a grain of salt…because it is a curated look at someone’s life.
“I feel pretty lucky that I’ve kind of managed to make my way through the industry relatively unscathed,” Moore says. “No one has ever put any pressure on me to look a certain way or dress a certain way. Certainly that’s still the case these days. But as a long impressionable teenager and a young woman in the industry, I appreciated and was grateful for that. Even in the moment I could recognize like, ‘Ah this isn’t really the norm. This isn’t the same experience every young woman has.’ I always felt pretty comfortable in my skin.”
While Moore admits she experiences body insecurities like anyone else, she’s found a solution to deal with it all: respecting her physical and mental health.
“Not to say I don’t have those struggles and get down on myself sometimes, but I’m a big proponent of moderation and I feel the best about myself when I’m taking care of myself through respect,” Moore says. “Whether that’s eating healthy and trying to get exercise or taking care of my mental health, I think it all factors in.”