Yup, that’s me and WILLOW from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (looove)! For How I Met Your Mother fans, that’s me and LILY! And for American Pie fans, that’s me and the famous utterer of “This one time! At band camp!” Of course, I did say the famous band-camp phrase to Alyson (who could resist?), and she said I did it “really well, actually.” Yess!
I went to NYC earlier this week to meet with Alyson, who’s mom to two-year-old (“–two-and-a-quarter. She’ll correct you!”) Satyana, to talk, among other things, about her new Good Girlfriend Guide ebook with Head and Shoulders (for whom she’s a brand ambassador), which is a collection of “girlfriend” tips on everything from makeup, fitness, making time for friends and more. Alyson was a really interesting interview. And I wish I could convey how she glowed when we talked about Buffy the Vampire Slayer…. Checkit!
How do you feel about your new ebook, and what do you hope moms will get out of it?
I’m really excited. Who doesn’t need all the girlfriend advice you can get — from movie tips, beauty tips, to relationship tips, to the mommy tips, especially motherhood? It’s such a club. I never realized that until I became a mom. We all go through the same things. It’s such a unified experience. The other day, I was at home with my daughter in the yard, and I heard this baby screaming that hunger scream, and three seconds later a mom and a dad with baby in the stroller were running down the street. So, clearly, they were out on a walk and the baby got hungry or needed a change. And I know exactly how they feel, that panic — “Oh my gosh, my baby needs something and I just don’t have it right now, we walked too far and we’re booking it down the street!” So it’s such a unified experience, and I will take any tips anyone can give me, and I’ll gladly give any tips anyone wants.
How has motherhood changed your beauty routine?
Well, I’ve had to consolidate it to under two minutes! So it definitely has to be a lot quicker, or nonexistent. If I have the choice between makeup and hair, I’m definitely going to choose hair: big sunglasses, hair in the face and it’s fine. You can get away with not having makeup on, but when my hair looks bad I just don’t feel good — that’s why Head and Shoulders is a great thing. The 2-in-1’s are really easy, like when my daughter’s knocking on the shower door and I don’t have much time, I can wash and condition all at the same time. And if I have two minutes more, on those luxury days when she’s playing with her toys instead of knocking at the door [chuckles], I’ll do the shampoo and conditioner separately.
How do you stay looking so youthful and gorgeous?
Oh, that’s sweet! I’m sure good genes play a part, and clearly not being a sun lover — because of the pale skin. I think it helps that I’m young at heart too.
Do you have any tips on fitting stuff like girlfriends, time with your husband, fitness, etc., into your demanding schedule (mothering, the ebook and working on the set of How I Met Your Mother)?
All of it seems to have gone out the window. I really do need to prioritize. Obviously [Satyana’s] the main priority. But it’s important to set aside a date night or girlfriend stuff. It’s always good to multitask. So if I’m at the salon getting my haircut, I’ll arrange it with a friend so we can do it together. I haven’t convinced any of my girlfriends to workout with me. But if that could happen, it would be awesome because we could just gab on the machines. But I don’t workout that much. When I do, I try to fit it in to my daughter’s napping schedule — otherwise I feel guilty because I don’t want to take that time away from her day. If she would get into cardio, that would be really productive!
Do people ask you to say, “This one time at band camp” all the time?
Absolutely! So I try to always get them to say it. I liked the way you said it!
Are you going to send your daughter to band camp one day?
I don’t think so. I mean, obviously, if she wants to go, I’ll support it. But I’ll have to warn her about her mother’s past to make sure she’s not traumatized!
So many of our readers know you and love you as Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Did playing the role of Willow at that time in your life shape who you are now?
Oh, absolutely. I am so blessed to have had that experience. It was such an amazing show. And to get to do all of the things I got to do was such a gift as an actor. It was such a well-written, good show that I’ll always treasure. And, of course, I met my husband [Alexis Denisof] on that show. So I have a lot of gratitude for that experience.
We all do…. What’s the working environment like on the set of How I Met Your Mother? Does your daughter come to work with you, and has she met Neil Patrick Harris’s twins?
Yes, I bring her to work as often as I can. There’s a nursery set up and I ordered this indoor playground, and she loves the slide. You can actually expand the playground, so this season I’m going to add a rock-climbing wall because she loved it at this indoor playground we went to recently. And she’s met [Neil Patrick Harris’s] twins once because they’re too small to really come to work. But Coby [Smulder’s] daughter Shaelyn is seven weeks younger than Saty, so they’ll have a playdate on set. If one is coming, we try to make sure the other is coming, too.
As you can probably tell, I loved interviewing Alyson. It was definitely like talking to a good girlfriend! So it makes sense that she’s got a Good Girlfriend Guide ebook. But the guide isn’t done yet. Alyson wants you to go to the Head & Shoulders for Women Facebook fan page to share your tips for a chance to get published in the guide AND to win a VIP trip to LA for the ebook launch.
Look out for Alyson in the forthcoming American Pie sequel American Pie Reunion (woohoo!) — the former band camper Michelle Flaherty is a mom now, and the kids are wreaking havoc on her marriage…. Alyson will also be stuffing her tops with a pillow soon, as her character Lily on How I Met Your Mother experiences the joys of pregnancy.
Stay tuned, too, for more questions from my interview this Fall in Today’s Parent Magazine!