One of Hollywood’s brightest bulbs, in terms of smarts and talent, is actress Mayim Bialik. Not only is Bialik a co-star on one of the most-watched shows on TV, The Big Bang Theory, but she is also a real-life neuroscientist. The former child star made her name on Blossom and is now one of Hollywood’s best role models.
Mayim Bialik: A True Renaissance Woman
Mayim Bialik’s resume must read like an idealistic youth’s bucket list – earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience; become a famous actress, chef, and teacher; and publish a book (or two). I spoke with Bialik during a recent trip to Los Angeles. The Big Bang Theory star, who plays neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, was about to wrap season 7 of the hit CBS show.
Bialik is a true Renaissance woman, dabbling in music, acting, cooking, writing, and science. “My parents raised me to have a broad set of interests and I’m very grateful to them,” she explains. “Even though I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, they tried to make opportunities available to me.” When asked what she would most like to be remembered for, she jokes that she’d like to “bring about world peace.” Like me, you’re probably wondering how she has time to do so much and still engage in her many hobbies. She admits that she doesn’t do them all at once, but also says: “I don’t watch TV which saves a lot of time… and I don’t sleep a lot so I get a lot done early in the morning and late at night.”
Bialik’s other role is mother of two. I ask her the best advice she could give to her sons and she says it’s “to repair the world. I tell them all the time that it’s broken and it’s their job to fix it.” This seems like a tall order but she breaks it into manageable pieces by explaining that “there are opportunities every single day to be compassionate, to be kind, to hone the skills on a small scale that – when they get older and have the resources – they can use on a big scale.” And while we’re on the topic of advice, does she have any for her onscreen persona, Amy Farrah Fowler? “Don’t mix stripes and plaids,” Bialik laughs. The actress has a charming laugh, which often punctuates her quick-witted speech.
Though she plays a neuroscientist on The Big Bang Theory, Bialik doesn’t see herself going back to science anytime soon. “My fulltime job and what my contract is for is to be an actress,” she says, though she will “probably continue to teach and tutor as [her] boys get older.” As an intellectual, she has something to say about how we should get other women interested in the male-dominated science and technology fields. We must “introduce girls…younger than we typically have” to science and give them “practical hands on experience so they can see some of the fun activities that are involved in being a scientist.” She is personally involved in making science sexy as a brand ambassador with Texas Instruments and also works with DeVry University as a spokesperson for their National HerWorld Month, a program designed to provide mentorship opportunities to female high schoolers interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
She has also been involved in the writing scene, and has penned two books – Beyond the Sling, about attachment parenting, and Mayim’s Vegan Table, her 2014 cookbook. Her approaches to writing differed in that, in her own words, “for the book on parenting I was…writing the experiences of what it looked like in our house” while the cookbook is “literally presenting the recipes that I cook most often and the recipes that the non vegans in my life seem to like.” Her sons are also onboard the vegan train because “that’s all they know” and, frankly, “they’re kind of freaked out at the idea that people eat animals.” And, she explains, they’re lucky to live in L.A. with its abundance of vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Some favorites include Doomie’s Home Cookin’s “vegan comfort food” (including delicious mac and cheese and croissants) and Real Food Daily.
As far as celebrities go, Bialik is a great role model and inspiring woman. When asked about her own influences, she cites her rabbi and teacher from college as one of the most influential people of her life and credits him with “opening up [her] mind and giving [her] the knowledge to then decide how [she] wanted to live [her] life.” Bialik’s lifestyle proves she is a wholesome, conscientious person with intellect and personality to back her up; we’re certainly fans.