Modern Family actor Julie Bowen talks about her "no Google-ing yourself" rule and how she got motherhood advice from her character, Claire.
Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with Neutrogena’s “See What’s Possible” campaign?
Julie Bowen: Neutrogena told me about the idea and I thought it was so fantastic. I think that it’s high time the beauty industry got behind this idea of attainable goals, and encouraging girls and young women to feel positive from the inside-out. Not just showing them glossy pictures of people and saying “try this.”
Who are some of your own role models?
JB: Well, I just finished reading Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes. I was so inspired by her sharing her insecurities and her fears and what she did to combat all of that. And I really understand it as a working mom. It’s easy to say: “I don’t have time to have fun.” I thought she was a great example of what we can all aspire to.
Modern Family was recently picked up for it’s eighth season. Congratulations! How much do you relate to your character, Claire?
JB: I relate to her a lot. It’s funny now that my own kids are almost nine, seven and seven—and the seven year olds were in my belly during the pilot. So now I have to kind of reach back and remember, I’ve been through some of this. It’s been really helpful to have “fake kids” because they go through phases and stages and nothing lasts forever. That’s a really good thing for me to have learned before I actually got there with my own children.
You’ve been working in this industry for over 20 years, what have you learned about being in the public eye?
JB: I do what I can to feel good about myself. On the physical side I exercise, I wear sunscreen. Otherwise I leave it alone. I have a rule: no self-Googling. Because you will find something you don’t like. It’s so easy to go negative on yourself like that. There’s nothing I can do about an ugly photo or an unflattering picture or someone’s opinion in the comment section. And that is what’s changed more than anything over the last 20 years. Everybody gets to put their opinion out there. If you get too involved or invested in it or don’t have enough of a sense of humour about it (which I don’t, I don’t have enough of a sense of humour about it) don’t look!
That’s good to know about yourself. You’re like, “nope, can’t deal with it.”
JB: I know! Raising kids in that culture, too, is challenging. It wasn’t a culture that existed when I was growing up and here it is, it surrounds my kids. I mean my kids know how to Google themselves. I have to just say: “Listen, you’re going to see people online are mean. The online community is mean.” If you invest in it and you get your self-worth and your value from how people see you online, you’re dead. If you use the Internet for its intended purpose: research and time wasting, that’s totally fine. But it can’t set your goals for you; you have to set them for yourself.
What’s your off-set beauty routine like?
JB: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. In Southern California we’re always outside. So it’s a lot of hats and sunscreen. And I obviously slather it on my kids, too. I think it’s really important that they learn early. I also love the rapid wrinkle repair line. I did not care for Retinol in the olden days, because it was really irritating. But the rapid wrinkle repair line—you don’t feel it, you just sort of feel brighter and smoother.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF 30, $30, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Has your beauty routine changed since you’ve gotten older?
JB: I’d have to say less makeup, not more. I also think I’m just a little more comfortable in my own skin as I’ve gotten older. I look back at pictures or times where I remember feeling very insecure or when I didn’t like my body or whatever was going on with my hair at the time and think—you were young, you were beautiful what are you complaining about? I try and remember that there is going to be a time where I’m going to think back to this moment and think the same thing. I’m healthy, I exercise, I throw on a lot of sunscreen and I try to take care of my skin and that’s what I can do. I can’t focus on every little tiny thing that is not good.
Do you have a beauty indulgence?
JB: I love baths. Otherwise, I like to set little goals for myself and those become my indulgences. Right now I’m trying to learn how to play the piano. I’m not very good at all, but it’s good for me to sit down and the kids are like “but mom, but mom, but mom” and I’m like, no I’m going to sit here for 20 minutes and practice this song. And it’s just for me—it’s not for anyone else. And those are my indulgences. I’m not super fantastic at indulging at things that require me to sit down and do nothing. I like doing something for myself I feel good about.
Your red carpet style has such a range, do you have any style rules?
JB: I don’t have any rules. I have a really great stylist, Tara Swennen, who I love and fight with in equal measure. She pushes me. I don’t have any hard and fast rules, at all. As long as it feels good. I won’t wear stuff where I have to suck my gut in. I’m not interested. I like a dress with some structure. I like something that’s doing all the work for me. Like something where there’s a nice hidden corset, sign me up.
Kim Cattrall talks aging and beauty
Five minutes with Kristine Stweart of Twitter
Five minutes with Canadian beauty brand NudeStix