When Kristin Chenoweth enters a room, there is no doubt that all 4’ 11” of her is there. “You know I like to talk,” laughs the 53-year-old Tony and Emmy award-winner in her telltale voice (her range can hit 30-plus notes and everything else can be chalked up to a good old-fashioned Oklahoma accent).
“I was just in the bathroom at the Critics’ Choice Awards and had a random run-in with a lovely young lady who had seen me on Broadway in Wicked many, many years ago. I was washing my hands and we started talking, and then I asked her for a hug, too—I’m not sure if we’re back to hugging, but there we were crying, talking and hugging in the bathroom!”
This spring, she’ll take her words to page with the release of her first children’s book, What Will I Do With My Love Today?—a somewhat personal take on her own experience with being adopted—followed by My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves, a collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement (Chenoweth helped compile and edit it, alongside Kathy Najimy, Linda Perry, Chely Wright and Lauren Blitzer), set to come out this May.
“If this past year taught me anything, it’s to take time and smell the roses. I’ve been lucky enough to continue to work, even in a pandemic, but spending time with those you love that you always think will understand when you don’t have time…I learned that it’s the opposite. You have to make the time for the people who are really in your core—and you have to tell them every day that you love them.”
Your book is described as “pandemic-inspired.” What was the biggest change for you during the time at home?
“Going from 180 miles per hour to negative-zero miles per hour. I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself, but it was wonderful as an artist. It gave me time to listen harder, speak less and learn more. I wrote a book, a children’s book called What Will I Do with My Love Today? I was able to sit around, make music with my fiancé, hang out and not worry about hair and makeup!”
It’s not always easy to sit down and write. What was the process like for you?
“To remember that it needed to be my authentic truth. I didn’t know the crux of the book would be about rescue and being an adopted person and how connected that can feel. The rhyming schemes were also difficult. I’m not trying to be Shakespeare, but I wanted the illustrations to match what I was trying to say about how adoption and rescue are beautiful options.”
You’re eternally youthful. Care to share the secret?
“Trying to stay positive is the biggest beauty secret. Yes, concealer helps. Yes, Chapstick helps. Yes, eyelashes help. But if you’re happy, it shows from within and it shows to the world—and that makes you beautiful and that makes you feel beautiful. That’s my biggest beauty secret.”
There has to be a couple of hacks you’ve learned during your career.
“The biggest beauty hack I know is something I always share—and I know it’s working! Every time I go to the drugstore, there’s a Nivea lip balm that comes in all different colors. I’m a pink girl, and it comes in a pink shimmer, it comes in a red, it comes in a coral. But now every time I go to get it, it’s gone! I know they’re selling them, because they do still have the regular flavor. If you just put that on, whatever color you feel, you’ll be surprised how much it brightens up your face. By the way, I’m not being paid by Nivea!”
What about wellness?
“I should do more for my wellness, to be honest, but the dragon I chase the hardest is sleep. A lot happens while you’re sleeping. You heal, your body heals when you sleep. I’m a singer and you all know I love to talk, so it’s a time for my voice to rest, too. Sleep is a beautiful, beautiful thing.”
Is there anything out of the ordinary you do for beauty?
“I do all the magic potions and lotions just like everybody else, but I will tell you this: You can spend a lot of money on moisturizer, or you can spend a very little amount of money on moisturizer. To me, just moisturize! I do love the sun, and with a little bit of the Native American DNA that I have in me, I attract the sun and I tan easily. So don’t forget to moisturize. You want to stay hydrated.”
Try to stay positive—that is the best beauty secret out there.
Solid skin-care advice, but what was the last beauty-related thing you tried for the first time?
“I just did one of those masks that you put on where just your mouth and eyes show, you keep it on for 20 minutes and you look like Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs.”
It’s awards season and you’ve been on the circuit. Have you had any good bathroom run-ins?
“At the Critics’ Choice Awards, I found a bathroom that nobody knew about. Total sneak attack. I think all the staff that was working the event that night knew about the bathroom, too. One of the young ladies, I would put her at about maybe 25 years old, it doesn’t matter, but the reason I tell the age is because she started crying when she saw me come out of the stall, saying that she had seen me on Broadway many, many years ago in the show Wicked and that I was the reason that she got into music and theater. And this is all going on while I’m washing and drying my hands. But that’s my moment…in the bathroom at the Critics’ Choice Awards. It was a beautiful moment.”
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
What are you most excited about this year?
“I’m most excited about all the art that has been created during COVID and what we are going to see. We don’t have any idea what people have been doing in their apartments or in their homes for the last two years, and I can’t wait, as an artist, to see what new composers have been. What will we see being born from their brains, what we will see on Broadway? I want to see what is going to be on television and film, and I want to be inspired. Also, I am engaged, so there’s that! That’s a big one!”