While Mayim Bialik was fulfilling her iconic role as Amy Farah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory,” the fact that she was a neuroscientist in real life was not a factor in being cast in that role. Although creator and executive producer, Bill Prady, said he figured if they made her character the same profession as she was in real life—if things were wrong she could fix them. While acting and science are very different industries she found that a lot of the same issues come up no matter what profession you are in. There are always ego issues to get around, and competition, but also a lot of joy and celebration with your coworkers.
As a young girl she enjoyed being in school plays and informed her parents she thought she could be trying out for professional roles although she confesses that at age eleven, she really had no idea what that actually entailed when she was only eleven years old! When she ended up having her own television show at age 14 it was a surprise…and even today she describes her career as “accidental.”
She is very grateful for her parent’s patience with her and for also the opportunities that life has brought to her. When she found herself in an adult world at such a young age she learned to be very organized and very efficient with her time. She feels it also taught her to prioritize, as well as, learning a lot of lessons about who to trust, which she feel has served her well as an adult. She noted that when she goes to an audition she never thinks she is for certain going to get that role! As a matter of fact, she said she was shocked when she got cast to play the young Bette Midler in “Beaches” because she was the only girl at the auditions who wasn’t a redhead!
At present her experience in having to navigate the dual worlds of acting and neuroscience is a twofold experience many women all around the world are having to learn. She is grateful she had a lot of resources and support to navigate within them both. She finds it painful that many women simply don’t have those resources and support. The decision to have children in graduate school and be home to raise them rather than enter the workforce was a difficult one, and one that was not considered very popular. But she does not regret making because it absolutely was the right decision for her and her family.
When asked when she feels most empowered, she declares it was when her second son was born successfully at home in under three hours! That was truly the most empowered she ever felt. In general she feels empowered when she is in her own home cleaning and organizing and making her space feel the way she wants it to feel.
In her private life she has a few very close friends but the closest relationships are with her kids, her boyfriend, and a small group of women who follow a similar spiritual path. Just being alive is what keeps her interested and inspired.
When asked about what role self-care plays in her life, she confesses she is terrible at self-care, but is trying to be better at that. She explained that she is always doing for other people, especially her kids. She’s learned to use guided meditations in the past few years. and also found that getting off the news and social media in the last several years has also helped tremendously. For her, self-care really means going to therapy every single week and being accountable for her behavior.
Her recently launched ‘Bialik Breakdown’ podcast came about because she and her boyfriend, Jonathan Cohen realized that their own mental health was being challenged in ways they had not anticipated when
COVID and quarantine became a part of our lives. They also realized that so many people did not have the resources to learn about mental health or to understand some of the challenges that might be coming up with everything going on in the world.
In the podcast they talk to experts in the field as well as public people who are experts in their own mental health journeys. The idea is not to show people how to be cured of everything that ails them, but to open up a conversation about the ways that we can all improve our mental wellness. They ask every guest what they would like the audience to know and, overwhelmingly, people want to tell our audience that they are not alone. That whatever they are struggling with, there is help but it is clear that individuals have to work hard to get it and will find that it’s worth it.
As the author of ‘Girling Up’ and ‘Boying Up’ she explained that the books enabled her to bring her insights as a neuroscientist to tackle puberty, not only from an endocrinological perspective, but from a psychological and sociological perspective as well. She basically wrote the book that she wished she had as a teenager and then followed it up with one about the male experience with input from some very smart men in her life. Her advise is to “Trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to take your time to make decisions about things that don’t feel right. Blaze your own trail.”
The recipe she recommends we try first in her book ‘Mayim’s Vegan Table’ is her mom’s banana bread recipe, which she explained can be made entirely fat-free and sugar-free, and canals be gluten-free if you want. She sometimes adds chocolate chips because they make everything better.
In addition to her new host role for Jeopardy! we learned about her first written and directed film ‘As Sick As They Made Us’ and that season two of “Call Me Kat” on Fox is coming very soon. She is very excited about bringing more laughter to television.