Lauren Holly: The Momterview

With a huge range of film (Any Given Sunday, Dumb and Dumber) and television (Picket Fences, NCIS) roles to her credit, actress Lauren Holly has enjoyed an extremely successful and varied career to date.

A busy single mom who has made Toronto home with her three boys Azer (13, short for Alexander), Henry (12) and George (11), she currently stars on CTV’s Motive, and has recently partnered with Le Chateau for a fashion collection appropriately named Lauren’s Closet.

Lauren recently took the time to chat with me for This Mom Loves, opening up about not only her work, but parenting in the age of social media and video games as well as aging in Hollywood.

While researching for our interview, the first website I came across labelled you as an American Canadian. Is that how you would identify yourself now?

Yeah, I think that’s pretty good! I’m not a Canadian citizen but I’m a permanent resident and I’ve definitely made Canada my home. But I’m red, white and blue USA too!

{Note: when spelling Azer’s name for me, Lauren pronounced the letter “zee”, which I told her means she’s definitely still more American than Canadian. Though many of my Canadian students do the same thing!}

Why did you choose Toronto for you and your sons?

To be honest, I was living in Los Angeles and I was on NCIS, and I did not want to raise the boys in L.A. I don’t know that it’s the best place for me to raise kids. I wanted them to have a different upbringing, but I wanted to keep working. I picked Toronto kind of by a fluke, because I grew up in upstate New York about two hours away, I have family there, and I thought okay, it’s close to my family, and it’s a city where lots happens. I didn’t want it to be Manhattan because of things that had happened with 9/11, so I thought I’m just going to try it and see, and I ended up loving it.

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

You’ve joined with Le Chateau for a gorgeous clothing collection called Lauren’s Closet. Could you explain how that partnership came about?

Such a fluke and it was so great! I was cast in a movie called After the Ball, and Le Chateau was designing the wardrobe. Having not lived here for very long, I wasn’t completely aware of Le Chateau, and when I went to my first fitting, I loved the way the clothes were fitting me. I became aware of the brand, and I got close to the owners of the company through the making of the movie, and I used to tease them and say “You should rename yourselves Lauren’s Closet because I’m spending all my money!” It just sort of happened. I think it was because they loved the way I discovered them as an adult woman, and I think there were things about me that they felt were representative of their brand and what they wanted to get out there. It’s been great. I’m really excited about my spring collection that’s out now.

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau
I love when you join the ladies on THE SOCIAL {Lauren will be back co-hosting in April} because you’re able to dish about the celebrity lifestyle without actually throwing anyone under the bus.
I’d never want to do that, it’s bad karma!
For sure! What do you think our readers might be interested or surprised to learn about Hollywood and celebrity life? 
I think the truth is that Hollywood tends to be like high school. There are the cool kids and all those different classes and even the bullies. The Hollywood star system is a little like a high school!
Lauren surprises Traci, Cynthia, Lainey and Melissa with handbags from Lauren’s Closet.
You’re on the CTV show Motive {a crime drama where the victim and killer are revealed moments into each episode; she plays Medical Examiner Dr. Betty Rogers}which films in Vancouver. Do you have a certain schedule for flying in and out to be on set? 
From September to February my life is a little bit ridiculous! An episode takes either seven or eight business days to film. Of those eight business days, I typically am busy four of them. I have a travel day, two shooting days, and a travel day. Usually two nights I’m gone, sometimes three nights, and then I’m home for four. I wanted to disrupt my boys as little as possible, so I go back and forth. The deal with my boys is that during the season each of them comes with me once alone, and we do one trip where all three come with me at once. It works out pretty well, actually. I have a tremendous manny – yes, I have a male nanny for the boys, and he’s awesome, and he stays at the house when I travel, and the boys seem to think it’s kind of fun because I’m here, but then they get a couple of nights when it’s “guy night”. The only frustrating thing is that trying to schedule things is a joke because I never know which days I’m going, every episode it changes, so that’s hard to do, but their teachers have been super understanding and get that if I happen to be away on a parent/teacher night they’ll make alternate arrangements.
Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau
You’ve done so much on the big screen and the small screen. At this point in your career, do you have a preference? 
People ask me that, and I really don’t. There are so many pros and cons to the two of them. With the small screen, if you’re on a show that’s successful and it stays on, it really becomes like a second family. You work together so much and get so close to your cast and crew, it’s almost like home. It becomes very easy. But then again to do a movie is really fun because you get to go and play a character for a short period of time, and maybe you don’t love playing that character, but it’s great for that small amount of time. They really both have positives and negatives.
A fan on Twitter, Franzi, wants to know what character you’ve played that has influenced your life the most.
I have two of them, for two different reasons. One is that in Picket Fences I played a character named Max. That influenced my professional life the most because I realized fully the relationship between the writer and the actor. That was an amazing experience because David E. Kelley wrote for me. He saw things that I could do, and then he would write those things for me, what I did well. It was really an incredible experience for me as an actor, and really fun.
Personally, I’d say probably when I did Dragon and played Linda Lee. That affected me spiritually. It was an emotional experience for me. My younger brother died suddenly right before we began filming, and so they postponed and waited for me to get it together, and when I was in Asia it was very healing. My co-star, Jason Scott Lee, was really a healing person. It’s hard to explain, but he opened my eyes to all of that, and it was really something to be in Asia going through my grieving process. That affected me a lot, and getting close to the Lee family, and having the horrible tragedy with Brandon Lee. It was just a very emotional and enlightening experience, that movie.
Lauren and her boys; photo by Babak

I know this next question gets asked a lot, but I really am curious about your perspective on women and aging in Hollywood.

Listen, it’s difficult. But it’s differently difficult for me living in Canada because the Canadian mentality is different than the L.A. mentality. It’s so competitive, your physical body, in Los Angeles, and I don’t really feel the same pressures living here which I very much appreciate. It’s funny because I’m working so much right now, more than I did five years ago, which is kind of interesting to me. I feel like there’s this little space you go through where you’re a little too young to play the full-on mother of adult children, or whatever, and you go through these phases. My biggest problem about aging is matching what’s going on in my head with what’s going on on the outside! That’s really my struggle. Inside, I feel like I’m 20, and I see my reflection and think “What the hell? Who is that?” or I don’t understand why I would be cast a certain way or opposite a certain person and then I see myself and I realize “Oh yeah, I guess that does work”, so I don’t know when that gets married. That’s what the bigger struggle is.

Your boys are 13, 12 and 11. Do you think being a teen or tween is harder now than it used to be?

One hundred percent. The struggles I have! First of all you have things like social media. I’m thankful I have boys, I think it might be easier for boys than it is for girls as it’s not as important to them, but even so my oldest one goes through phases where there are different bands he likes, or symbols, and he wants to post pictures on Instagram. I’m thinking it looks really harsh, and you can’t do that because these things that you put out there aren’t just for right now, when you’re in eighth grade and think it’s really fun for a month, but when you’re 48 and you’re up for a big promotion…

That’s what’s frightening. I was able to go through and make my own mistakes totally in private, in my small town with my 10 friends knowing, and it’s completely different now. That’s kind of hard for them to understand, that there’s a bigger picture. Also, all of the things that being online opens up. I hate the fact that they’re so much more knowledgeable about sex, about violence, all that stuff than I was at their age. They’ve all seen images and I think it’s such a shame. I’ve tried to be as protective as possible, but at some point it’s just too easy for them to have access, or to have a friend with access, and I hate that. When it comes to sex, I think it’s the unknown that made it more special, so I worry about that a little bit. I feel like parents now, we’re the first parents to go through this, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. It’s going to be hard.

Then the next thing is the video games! It’s the biggest fight in my house. It’s an absolute constant thing. Number one, they all want to play games that are rated M, they all have violence, guns, whatever, I can’t stand them. In my house, my boys claim that I’m the only mother in the world who doesn’t allow these games. They get so addicted to them, and I see complete behaviour changes. I’ve tried to do the thing where during the school week, there’s none, and on the weekends, you have this limited amount of time. Also, living in Canada, we go through a lot of days when it’s not nice to play outside. Who wants to go play in grey, cold slush? There’s nothing to do, so they want the games. Even their schoolwork now is done on various “clouds” electronically, and I think they’re doing their homework but then they click over and they’re on a game, and you can’t tell unless you’re sitting right next to them. I just know that a lot of moms are like me, and this is what we talk about. Unless you’re sheltered and live on some island where all the kids have the exact same rules, nothing matters when they leave the house. It’s very difficult.

{I shared with Lauren that I already worry about this with my girls, who are nine and seven, and she warned me that “It’s just going to get worse and worse. Wait until they’re 12 and 10!”  Gee, thanks! I guess that’s what I get for going off script!}

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

What do you think is your biggest strength as a mom?

I think that I’m good at talking to them. Conversation is big in my house, and I learn a lot about them and I feel like from the fact that I talk so much to them, they feel they can come to me about stuff. I’m hoping that continues. Even with my oldest, his friends are starting to call me, which has been very gratifying. They have my cell phone number, and they call me to check in, and say “What are you guys doing this weekend? Can I see Azer?” and I like that it’s open and not unusual.

How would you finish the sentence “This Mom Loves”…?

I love cuddling with my boys. I love cozy blankets, big couch, watching a movie. Sometimes it gets me through the week!

Thanks for the chat, Lauren! You can catch Lauren on CTV’s Motive, follow her onTwitter, or check out her website to learn more.

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