Ellen Pompeo: Special one-on-one interview!

Haley Overland interviews Ellen Pompeo about being motherhood, charity, fame, fitness and more

Photo by Andrew Dunlop

Hi Gorgeouses! I’ve finally finished transcribing yesterday’s interview with Ellen Pompeo, at Yorkville’s Hazelton hotel — I audio-recorded it.

In the beginning of the recording, you can hear Ellen lovingly cooing over her daughter Stella — it was so sweet, and wild to see a celebrity mom and baby in action, given that it’s my job to write about them every day. Very, very special. Enjoy the interview!

Our readers at Today’s Parent Magazine are primarily Canadian moms and dads, can you tell us about the Every Little Bottom campaign and how it’s relevant to Canadian parents in particular?

Huggies is doing this in the United States and Canada — and the numbers in Canada are 1 in 5 Canadian moms are struggling to diaper their babies, and those numbers are pretty staggering. People have a tendency not to think about diapers. We think about struggling families — we think about food, we think about health care. We don’t necessarily think about diapers. So it’s something that’s fallen through the cracks a little bit. But that’s why Huggies is stepping up and doing this. And  it’s very fixable. We can bring those numbers down dramatically. Which is why I got involved. Because the fan base of the show [Grey’s Anatomy], you know, there’s a lot of women. So if I can get them all — who can afford and have the means — to just buy one package of diapers, we can make a dent and bring those numbers down.

Moms tend to put things off, get distracted with all the stuff we have to do, can you please tell us what we as parents can do to make a difference here?

Yes. Well, Huggies has made it very easy for everyone. So, the website Everylittlebottom.com — just go right on that website, and they give you all of the tools and all of the information, suggestions, tips, anything you need to get involved in raising diaper awareness, or holding your own diaper drive…. And you can, like I said, get information about having community diaper drives, which is something nice that more rural places can do, or it can be a community based effort to bring people closer together, get to know your neighbours, introduce the kids, and that type of thing…. There are also specially-marked packages in the stores. There’s a yellow band on the package that says “Every Little Bottom.” And, for every package sold, Huggies will diaper a child.

If you think about it, there are tons of people who have lost their jobs, and the dads have lost their jobs. Even for people who haven’t lost their jobs…. Again, what people don’t think about is some people have sick children, and they have to take a leave of absence from work to take care of their kids.

I know a story of a little baby with leukemia…. And, when the parents have to take a leave of absence to care for a sick child, they really are strained. Their resources are strained, their stress limit is as its highest, and this is one thing that we can do to really help alleviate a lot of stress that a lot of moms are feeling, and a lot of babies suffer because of all this. So it’s not just about the babies, it’s about the whole family and the stress level, and making people feel proud and confident that they can support and supply what they need for their children.

Huggies has really stepped up and brought this issue to the forefront so that people can  help — because I’d never thought about it before. And so many people have kids, and all you have to do is tell us those numbers and, oh my God, what can I do to help? And Huggies has made it very simple for people to help. That website is a very resourceful place to go for tips to help.

You’re so approachable and relatable on TV. Your fans, I have to tell you, on Twitter, when I mentioned I was doing this interview — the positive energy!

Haha! Ohh, that’s nice!

They all say hi! They all want me to tell you how much they love you and support you. And I have questions from them. But, first, how did Huggies approach you? As you said it wasn’t a subject you were aware of before….

Yes, everybody’s busy. Most moms work, and dads work, and people have multiple children. And stay-at-home moms work more than anybody. So I was happy to get involved and raise awareness and bring this to people’s attention. Like I said, because I’m lucky enough to have such great fans. I thought, “I need to call on those fans now. I NEED THEM.” Hopefully, they’ll all buy a package of diapers, or two, or three. If they support me and they want to show me how much they love me, they’ll all go online and buy diapers. That’s all I want back. They can have the show for free every week, but I want people to buy these diapers, and I want to bring these numbers down. When this campaign is over — what I want from my fans — is I want that number to not be 1 in 5. I want it to be lower. And then maybe I’ll do more years of the show! [Laughter.] Tell them that! Let’s just bribe them! [Laughter.]

They’re going to love this…. So, another thing…. You do a great job of keeping your baby [1-year-old Stella] out of the public eye. And now you’re really in the public eye as a parent. Do you find it increasingly challenging to keep her out of the public eye, and is that still a goal for you?

It is. It’s challenging. It’s still a luxury challenge. I do try to keep her out, but I also have to keep her life as normal as possible. So it’s just a balancing act, like anybody else — it’s just a different balancing act. Every family, every new mother, every new dad, everyone has to balance certain things. I just have a slightly different set of circumstances to balance. And at the end of the day, it’s still — it’s a luxury problem to have. There are a lot of worse things that could be. The moms in Uganda who are HIV positive give birth to non-HIV positive children, and then they have no other choice but to breastfeed them, which then infects the children. That’s a challenge. That’s a struggle. I mean, I can’t imagine a struggle like that. So, me having to keep her away from paparazzi is at the end of the day — we still say our blessings every night.

With the long days on the Grey’s Anatomy set and this Every Little Bottom initiative and motherhood, how do you balance it all? Do you have any favourite tips you’d like to share that work for you?

Every mother balances things. And it’s my first child, and I don’t feel like I’m an authority on anything. I’m certainly nobody to be giving advice about anything. I’m certainly not perfect or better than anybody else. I mean, I don’t know, a schedule has helped me. She [baby Stella] is on a very strict schedule. And that helps me definitely, and I think it reflects in her calm behaviour. She’s very calm. She never really wants anything because all her needs are met before she knows she has them. And a schedule contributes to that. And it’s also repetition. She feels very safe and secure — everything happens at the same time every day. I mean, with the exception of planes and moving around a little bit sometimes. A schedule is pretty helpful. It’s also helpful for me for my personal life. She goes to bed at 7 o’clock, and I have my time with my husband, and we have dinner. So a schedule has helped me. But different things work  for everybody. And there’s a book called The Contented Little Baby Book…you can get it on Amazon.com.

I have to ask you…. You look fabulous, not surprisingly.

Thank you!

Do you have any tips for our busy moms — you know, for looking fabulous?

Everybody has a lot on their plate. Just because my job entails me being on television does not mean I juggle any more than any mother everywhere, in any country…. The struggles are different, but every family, father, whoever it is, struggles. So a schedule helps.

Yoga?

I do a combination of pilates and dance cardio in a hot room. It’s super hard for an hour and a half, but it’s fun because it’s dance cardio, so I’m learning dance steps and everything, and it’s really fun. And that’s my me-time. That’s what I do, I go to the gym.

Do you have any Halloween plans? AND, are your husband and daughter going to be wearing matching costumes this year?

I haven’t nailed down the costume yet. But, he’s back in New York waiting for us, and I saw this super-cute little store around the corner, and it was closed when I passed it — I passed it twice, and it was closed both times. And they had really cute Halloween costumes in the window. So I asked him to go back and check. So we don’t really have it yet. We don’t really have what the costume is yet.

You’ve still got time.

Yeah. We definitely have time, for sure.

Well, since I have a few more minutes….I have a [not-so-]secret crush on Will Ferrell [guffaw], and you worked with him [in Old School]! What was it like wor—-

OH! OH! If you met him, you would love him even more. I have to say, honestly? He is the nicest, nicest guy. He’s from California. His parents came to the set — and his parents are adorable. He’s just the super, sweet, genuine, amazing…. But, it’s kind of awkward because, when he’s just introducing his parents, I don’t think you’re supposed to crack up at him…. But, I was! He’s giving the PA [personal assistant] his breakfast order. You’re not supposed to laugh in his face, but I was constantly laughing at him. [Laughter.] He’s just FUNNY. I don’t know if you’ve seen East Bound and Down, if they have that here yet. East Bound and Down is an HBO series that he executive produces — that he also makes cameo appearances in, and I — it’s just really hilarious…. I mean, I can’t say enough about him. He’s amazing, super nice and SUPER TALL. He’s 6’5″. That movie [Old School] was — Craig Kilborn is 6’12”, Vince Vaughn is 6’7″, and Will Ferrell is 6’4″ — it’s  the tallest cast in history. And Ivan Reitman, who produced that movie, is also super tall.

Our time is almost up, so, for the fans…. They want to know: does your daughter play with Patrick Dempsey’s kids on or off the set of Grey’s Anatomy?

No. [Laughter.] His kids are older.

Anything you want to tell us about Grey’s this season. Any little bone to throw for the fans?

Sandra Oh is amazing in the first half of the season, and they should watch for her.

Thank you! Thank you for giving us such a complete interview, for answering all my questions….

Good good! You’re very welcome. Thanks for coming. Make sure you put in that I expect my fans to buy diapers. I will believe they really love me if they tell me in the next poll that the numbers are down. If we see an increase of Huggies sales, then I know they really love me. [Laughter.]

***

There you have it! After our thank yous and good byes, we left. Then, Andrew realized I forgot to get my picture!  So, we ran back, and I got my picture…. And she was so gracious.

Love!

xo Haley-O