Haley Overland flew to NYC (June 2011) to sit down with Jennifer Garner

By Haley Overland

Guess what?! I sat beside our favourite celebrity mom, JENNIFER GARNER, and I talked to her...!

I had about six minutes and 11 seconds alone with Jennifer. It was actually supposed to be five minutes, but I got lucky, and Jennifer was generous — even though her agent was on top of it, since CNN was interviewing her immediately after me, which was kind of cool!

Before speaking with Jennifer, I did get to stare at her for about an hour while she did a cooking demonstration with Chef Adam Kaye of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, just outside New York City, to promote fresh food, cooking with kids, and Frigidaire’s partnership with Jennifer and the Save the Children charity. You can view the fresh summer recipes they shared with us HERE — and while you’re there, commit to eating fresh and Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children Canada, AND you have a chance to win a fabulous French Door Fridge…. (Go now and commit! I did it! I’ll just wait for you here….)

Oh good, you're back! As I was saying....

From that cooking demonstration, I learned that Jennifer Garner loves fresh food: "There's nothing I like more than a farmers' market," she said. She also revealed that she grows mint outside her doorway at home -- which is great because fresh mint was an ingredient in a lot of the recipes they demonstrated. Apparently, we all need to put fresh mint in our salads! Chef Adam Kaye insists!

Jennifer also shared with Irene from Chatelaine that she has a garden of her own, which she enjoys with the family: "We have corn growing, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, squash. We’ve got all kinds of stuff. We planted them together.”


Jennifer Garner one on one

From the one-on-one interview I learned more. Before I asked my first questions, I did tell Jennifer that we LOVE HER  (not in those words, but you know...). She was very flattered. She also told me that she loves Toronto and that one of her best friends lives in London, Ontario (we're guessing that that best friend is Canadian actor Victor Garber, who played her father on the TV show Alias).

Here's the interview! Enjoy!

Can you tell us why the Save the Children charity is important to you?

Children growing up in poverty have a much higher propensity for obesity, which means that by the time they're four years old, they are a year-and-a-half behind developmentally, which means that when they start school, they're already starting back on their heels instead of running at a full tilt like every kindergartener should be. It's not a fair start, and it leads to high school dropout because you're playing catchup right from the beginning.


So I believe in what Save the Children is doing to reach kids from 0-5 and their parents, to get them started on the right foot, to make sure that their vocabulary is enriched, that they have kindergarten-readiness skills like sitting in a circle, and to get books into the parents' hands so they can get them into their kids' hands.

Once the kids are in school, Save the Children helps them catch up with literacy programs, making sure they learn about healthy eating, that they get a little bit of exercise every day. I love the program so much. I'm completely devoted to them.

How do you recommend we get our own kids involved in the charity, or in charity in general?

It's such a tricky thing to get your kids involved in charity work, and this is an ongoing dialogue I have with my friends and my husband. You don't want them to feel sorry for the people they are helping. But at the same time, you want them to be aware of what's happening in the world. You can start dipping a toe in really early. The kids have to see that the kids are people and that they're the same, and that sometimes life isn't fair, and that it's your responsibility and pleasure to help level the playing field a little bit.

You can have a lemonade stand and use the money you make to sponsor a child on, and then you can have a bit of correspondence with that child. You can see the child's picture, know what they're like. And they may be just down the road from you! The first Save the Children site that I visited was just a couple of hours away from my home in LA, and it's in rural California. Before we came in, they had one book for every three hundred children in this community. That's happening all over North America, and it's such a shame.


Moms are always looking for meal ideas, do you have any food tips or ideas for busy moms?

FAST. I'll take a chicken breast and cut it in half while the grill is heating, and I'll just quickly marinate it first -- even if it's just a second, it adds a little flavour. Lime juice is very important [for], a fresh lime, a fresh lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and, if it's for me (this is too spicy for my kids), a few chili red pepper flakes. Three minutes a side because if it's cut in half it's so fast. And while that's happening, I'll just do whatever I have handy -- even if it's noodles -- so at least I know they've got one good healthy part of the meal.

The other thing that I've been so into is keeping fresh vegetables out on the counter, cut up, while I cook. Because you know how everyone's so hungry before dinner, so I like just having it out, no pressure. Eventually, the sugar snap peas and carrots and bell peppers...they go!

What are some of your top tips for balancing motherhood and your career, charity work and life in general?

I struggle with this every day. It's a day-to-day thing. I don't think there's a some big answer for that. Every day you just look at the day, look at the week as best you can and figure out where your energy has to go that day. Today, for example, I'm here, and I'm thrilled to be here, and I know my husband's home with the kids, and he'll put them to bed today -- they're well taken care of. But then tomorrow, I'll dive right back in [to].


Your fans everywhere want to know, how do you stay looking so amazing?

Oh, really? That's so nice! Have people do your hair and make up. Have Rachel dress you, Genevieve do your makeup!

The only way to workout, as far as I'm concerned, is to do it before the kids are up. And I know it hurts, and I know it's early. I try for every day. Sometimes it's half an hour, and sometimes it's an hour -- never more than that.

Sometimes it's at six in the morning. 5:45-6:45am. I don't get it done every day, but I try to get it done every day. If I miss a couple of days in a row, then I really make an effort because, if you miss a week, then you're out.



There you have it, Gorgeouses! six minutes and 11 seconds with Jennifer Garner. Very exciting minutes, indeed. I'm sure the vegetarians among us can marinate tofu like that -- lemon, lime, yum! And I think my kids and I will try the lemonade stand idea. Love that! In the meantime, if you haven't already, and if you love Jennifer Garner like I do, please go commit to eat fresh (it only takes a minute!) and help save childrens' lives across Canada and abroad.


xo Haley-O

This article was originally published on Jul 12, 2011

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