From cooking fresh Italian meals with husband Gabriele Corcos and their two young daughters Evelyn, 7, and Giulia, 3, to making “me time” a priority and not being ashamed to ask for help, Debi Mazar is one celeb mom to learn from! Debi – a regular on the popular TV series Entourage – sat down with Celebrity Baby Scoop and dished about parenting two “strong characters,” play dates with her close friend Madonna, her stint on DWTS and what it’s really like to be an actress, along with her best tips for us busy moms.
CBS: Have you ever had a frazzled mom moment?
DM: “Honestly, I have a frazzled mom moment everyday!! I have 2 daughters with strong characters. Today’s drama was dressing warm in the morning. I chose a school with a uniform for this reason (well for many reasons – education being the first, but I needed less drama in the morning when it came to dressing). Now, she doesn’t like undershirts. I yelled a lot this morning, which made me cry. I felt awful about it. I tried to contain myself, but I want her to be warm, not get sick. I needed to win this one. It is hard to see their faces sad from me being the disciplinarian, but it is part of learning for them and for me! My kids force me to learn patience and I am a better, and more evolved person because of it. And they will understand one day. This is all textbook. There is not family that is drama-less. If there is one, I assure you there will be problems down the road. Communication is essential.”
CBS: You have been in 5 of Madonna‘s music videos including Papa Don’t Preach and Justify My Love. Are you and Madonna friends? What is it like working with the Queen of Pop? Will you be working with her in the future? Have your kids had play dates together?
DM: “I don’t define my relationships to the press, but I will tell you (as it has been documented) that Madonna and I have been friends for almost 3 decades – dear friends. Our children have had play dates and we will always be friends. Will we work together again? I hope so! We are both creative minds and enjoy each other’s company immensely.”
CBS: How do you manage your busy career with your family life? What is your best advice for busy working mothers?
DM: “I manage by having a very present husband. We are a team and I feel blessed. Doing it alone is difficult. I’d advise people who are overwhelmed and unsure of how to navigate taking care of little ones to ask friends and family for more support. Rely on community. I call friends all the time who have kids older than me for advice. I also ask friends to babysit so I can get a break. Or to please drop off a lasagna or some prepared food when I’ve had a long day. Or if I’m sick and I need help, I have friends sleep over to help me in those moments when I need it. That’s what friends are for…..’the village.’
I think it is important for moms to get a good night’s sleep so they have coping skills. Drink less, try to workout more, drink less caffeine. At night when kids are sleeping, cooking and preparing food for the week ahead is the way our grandparents and parents used to do it. We do it and it is a lifesaver. Even school hot lunches are full of salt and weird oils. My older daughter gets hot lunch at school. It kills me, but there is only so much you can do. We make up for it by making sure she has a great breakfast and dinner. We always eat dinner as a family together. I think that is important as well. So many families don’t eat together.”
CBS: You have a recurring role in the popular TV show Entourage and tape your cooking show? Do you ever get a day off?
DM: “I am a fabulous character on a show about men. We go back to work in Feb ’10. I hope for good scenes in the upcoming season. In terms of schedule, I am never off. When I shoot, I am at work. When I learn my lines, I’m at home but working. When I’m not working, I’m looking for work…which is even harder than working. Being an actor is awful for that. Always a roller coaster ride – up and down, never consistent. Currently, I am filming The Castle and I’m up for a lead in a sitcom. Also, possibly taking my cooking show to network. We’re in talks to shoot in Italy! And also in talks for my own talk show which is one thing I’d love to do!”
CBS: You were on the ninth season of Dancing With the Stars, partnered with super hunky Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Tell us a little bit about the behind-the-scenes of that show. Are we imagining the sexual tension between the stars and the professional dancers? Just good choreography?
DM: “Had a blast on DWTS! I did it to brand my cooking show, my upcoming cookbook and my olive cremes & body scrub that I have developed with the olives from my property in Florence, Italy. The amount of press I received was amazing to bring attention to the brand. Dancing with Maks was fun. We had no sexual chemistry, which was probably problematic for my choreography in general. He was going through a difficult breakup and ultimately I ended up being his big sister. He is a beautiful man but he is a purist for ballroom and I am purist for particular genres such as salsa and samba. To me, DWTS isn’t as much a dancing show, but more of a popularity contest. I mean, geez, I know I wasn’t the best dancer, but we certainly were not the worst! Had we had more time, I would have rocked it. I was just starting to feel comfortable and we had worked out all the original kinks from me never having had any formal dance training. I think all of the dancers develop a special bond with their partners, but it is strictly professional. The celebs can’t walk after the 6 hour training – no time for socializing after!”
CBS: You and your husband Gabriele Corcos host a very successful internet show focused on Tuscan cuisine called Under The Tuscan Gun. Tell us about the show. How did it begin? Is your husband a professional Italian chef?
DM: “Our show began by me being on location shooting a Jackie Chan movie in Toronto and my husband having too much time on his hands while I was gone. He sat down to write me a love letter. It turned into a book of sorts. He called it “The Tuscan Cookbook For The Pregnant Male.” My book agent at the time said that men would never buy the book (I didn’t agree- it was fabulous) so we shelved it. A year later I said, ‘let’s film a recipe from the book and share it with people for the hell of it. You’re so cute in the kitchen and I think people would enjoy having another take on Italian food as they know it. That was the beginning….that was almost 3 yrs ago. He wasn’t a professional chef – neither am I. He has a natural gift in the kitchen that I found appealing and together we are fun to watch. I am a better cook now because of him.”
CBS: You and Gabriele have two daughters, Evelyn Maria, 7, and Giulia Isabel, 3. Do they like helping in the kitchen?
DM: “My daughters are serious about cooking in the kitchen. They enjoy the process from the beginning stages: growing our herbs, picking them, shopping at the market. They love to learn new things: chopping, baking, helping cleanup. These are qualities that I am proud to brag about. I think it is important to establish a healthy attitude about the kitchen and about what we put into our bodies from an early age. My husband says ‘if your child knows how to work a Nintendo, he or she can chop an onion.’”
CBS: What is your best advice for moms who don’t feel they have enough time or energy to make healthy meals for their family throughout the week. Do you have any time-saving tips for busy moms?
DM: “I think moms have to take the time to make sure they do the best they can to nourish their families. It can be as simple as making a batch of soup or sauces, and then freeze them for the days you don’t have the time. It is just as easy to give fresh fruit or a healthy snack as it is to pop a bag of crackers or chips into the lunch box. Giving some attention to cooking on any level is crucial to a child’s health. It isn’t about spending money on the best health food store things. It’s about getting creative at home and making sure little ones get protein, greens, roughage and fruit. Start from early on and they will develop taste buds for things with less salt and sugar.”
CBS: Do you regularly make time for yourself? Do you think it’s important for moms to participate in some level of self-care?
DM: “The idea of taking a bubble bath is a luxury for me. “Me time” saves me from feeling beat down. I try to have an hour in my day somewhere just to read a chapter in a book or magazine, or to pluck my eyebrows and do a face mask. Even if it is just getting a manicure or having a date with your man in the afternoon when kids are in school. Sex is a wonderful fix!”View Slideshow »»