In January of this year wearing a blue sweatshirt with the words, "For most of history Anonymous was a woman," across her chest and a pink "pussy" hat, actress Mandy Moore, joined a reported fellow 750,000 women, men, and children at the Women's March in Downtown Los Angeles.
Though the pop "Candy" songstress turned Golden Globe nominated actress has received accolades for her current work on This Is Us on NBC, Moore took the streets as if to say, This, Is ALL of US. "What a way to celebrate the collective energy of so many people unwilling to sit idly by. One for the books," the award nominee wrote on her Instagram. Not what some would expect from a former TRL charter, but crushing career stereotypes is part of her repertoire.
Moore escaped the standard downward spiral of a young-to-fame pop princess. When critics said she was simply “too nice,” she kept working, at times typecast, but steadily building her acting career. Since her debut in role in 2001 as the voice of a Girl Bear Cub in Dr. Doolittle 2, Moore has been cast in over twenty films. She managed to keep her 2015 divorce relatively private. And steers clear of the pomp and circumstance of Hollywood. Maybe it's that angelic smile that keeps her floating above the drama, or the fact that Moore keeps her head as firmly attached to her shoulders as her feet to the ground. “At 32 years old, I feel a comfort in my own skin and a sense of determination in my choices that I thought I had all along but really I had no idea,” the actress admits. "There’s no substitute for time or the wisdom and clarity that comes with it. I’ve been working hard to quit apologizing for things I have no control over or no business apologizing for in the first place.”
Or perhaps it’s the lessons she’s kept tucked in her toolkit from her teen years in a notoriously sexist music industry. “Surround yourself with GOOD people,” she says. “I’m lucky enough to have a stable and supportive foundation when it comes to my family and friends so I’ve always attributed that as being the most critical piece of the puzzle. Beyond that, always, always, always trust your gut. When in doubt, DON’T.”
Those women include a stellar squad of empowered women who, Moore says, have “shown me that there’s so much value in learning how to say no, staying true to your vision and finding the courage to take risks.” And her mom, who sent her daughter a pillow the morning of the Globes embroidered with the phrase, “so believed she could so she did.” That she has.
At present, the low-maintenance performer's risks include making active and bold choices in her life and career, something that wasn’t always the case. “Like a lot of people,” she explains, “I allowed fear to govern my life for a period. I became exceptionally good at making myself and my needs as minuscule as possible as not to disturb other parts of my life. Once I realized that those broken patterns weren’t leading me where I wanted to go, I leaned into the pain, embraced change and started owning my power.” Whether she’s singing, acting, or marching down Broadway, the choices she’s making are her own.
The industry, and the viewers who turned out in droves to watch This Is Us last fall, are taking notice. With a radical 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a two-season renewal from the network, things are looking sweet for Moore. But she’s not taking any of it for granted. “Having a job that inspires and challenges me as much as this one does is all of the reward I could ask for. Having said that, this is a WHOLE new world to me and it’s equal parts mind-blowing and humbling. I keep reminding myself to be in the moment and that it’s ok to really appreciate it and not write it off too quickly.”
We suggest taking a similar approach to Moore and her career, wherever that particular march may take her.
Arianna Schioldager is Editor-in-Chief at Create & Cultivate. You can follow her @ariannawrotethis.