She may have starred alongside some of the industry’s biggest stars – George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio to name just a couple – but Vera Farmiga’s off-screen life is far from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. She and her musician/woodworker husband Renn Hawkey live in Ulster County, New York with their 6-month-old son Fynn (aka “Foootakahn, Foooterstein, Foooter-Pooters, Finklebutt…”) and their two angora goats. Not only does Vera milk the goats herself, she also shears them and then spins her own yarn. How many Hollywood actresses can make that claim? The 35-year-old Departed star recently chatted to Cookie magazine about the marvels of motherhood.
Just a few months after delivering Fynn via emergency C-section at the Neugarten Family Birth Center (“The place is like a gymnasium,” Vera raves. “You can hang from the walls, bounce on a ball, labor in a tub, have a six-handed massage!”) Vera and her family packed up and headed across the country to the set of her new romantic comedy Up in the Air, co-starring George Clooney.
Though she’d have liked to have had a bit more time to bask in the glow of new motherhood, Vera says, “It was an opportunity I could not turn away from. I mean, George Clooney.”
Being on-set with a newborn presented its fair share of challenges – like squeezing her curvier figure into the film’s costumes, and pumping constantly in between shoots so that the breast milk could be couriered back to Fynn at the hotel. And then of course there was the leaking, a post-baby phenomenon that many new moms are all too familiar with.
Vera recalls her most humbling moment as a mother so far:”Breast-milk leakage while filming romantic scenes with George Clooney.”
Though she survived – she talked to Cookie on the last day of filming – she admits there were times when she questioned whether she’d be able to keep it together.
“Talk about trying to balance work and family—I was in the trenches. There were days I’d come to the set and just cry and cry and cry.”
Now Vera says she’s just looking forward living life at a slower pace for a while: “Harmonizing to Ukrainian folk songs on a family goat walk” and planning “the color scheme of my perennial garden” and perhaps learning a lesson or two from her 6-month-old son.
“When I see the way Fynn throws himself into each simple little task—eating, yelping, squeezing a fart—I think, Wow, this little guy isn’t trapped in his head; he’s operating to the hilt. And it occurs to me that this needs to be my attitude whatever I do.”