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Mandy Moore knows who she is. By Carli Whitwell

OUR CON­VER­SA­TION with Mandy Moore take s pl ace two weeks after her boho back­yard wed­ding to mu­si­cian Tay­lor Gold­smith. We imag­ine that the ac­tress and her new hus­band have been hap­pily honey­moon­ing these past 14 days—maybe on a beach in Thai­land or at a vine­yard in Napa or, who knows, on a Dis­ney cruise (no judg­ment). Nope. As Moore ex­plains over the phone from L.A. as she runs er­rands dur­ing some down­time from shoot­ing the “I’m not cry­ing; you’re cry­ing” drama This Is Us, they’ve both been…work­ing? “We went back right after—I think it was lit­er­ally the next day,” she laughs, her voice ef­fer­ves­cent and warm and en­dear­ingly fa­mil­iar. (ICYMI: The cer­e­mony took place at their Pasadena, Calif., home, and the bride wore pink Ro­darte.)

In This Is Us, Moore, 34, plays Re­becca, the ma­tri­arch of the close-knit Pear­son fam­ily, a trio of sib­lings (played by Chrissy Metz, Ster­ling K. Brown and Justin Hart­ley) still strug­gling with the un­timely death of their dad, Jack, played by Milo Ven­timiglia and his ex­cel­lent mous­tache. The Golden Globe- and Emmy-nom­i­nated series changed our Tues­day nights for­ever—and kick­started the se­cond act of Moore’s ca­reer.

Moore hit the mu­sic scene in the late ’90s at the age of 15, a more whole­some al­ter­na­tive to the Brit­neys and Xti­nas of the world. She later tran­si­tioned into act­ing, with roles in The Princess Di­aries, Chas­ing Lib­erty and, an­other sobfest, A Walk to Re­mem­ber. But as she got older, she strug­gled to get the meatier roles her act­ing chops de­served. In fact, she was ready to walk away from the in­dus­try al­to­gether when an agent passed along the script for This Is Us in 2015. “You wait an en­tire life­time, an en­tire ca­reer for some­thing like this,” she told ELLE Aus­tralia. “You just ap­pre­ci­ate it and savour ev­ery mo­ment. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.” She has since been nom­i­nated for a Golden Globe for the role.

That same year, Moore met Gold­smith, who’s the lead singer and gui­tarist in the folk band Dawes. Their courtship (we’re call­ing it that be­cause it’s le­git old-school ro­man­tic) was straight out of a rom­com. Moore posted a photo of a Dawes al­bum on In­sta­gram, and he mes­saged his thanks via his man­ager, who passed it on to Moore’s team. They be­gan cor­re­spond­ing via email and went out for sushi, but they didn’t see each other again for six weeks be­cause he was on tour. “I com­pletely fell in love with him with­out hav­ing done any­thing more than give him a hug good night,” she says. This is Moore’s se­cond mar­riage; she and in­die rocker Ryan Adams were mar­ried for six years, and she has since re­ferred to the re­la­tion­ship as “un­healthy.”

But all that is in the past now, and Moore is hap­pily, whole­heart­edly fo­cus­ing on her next chap­ter(s). On the agenda? Mu­sic, ba­bies and, yes, she prom­ises, a hon­ey­moon. Con­grat­u­la­tions on the wed­ding! Can we have a mo­ment of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the dress? [Laughs] “I never re­ally dreamed of a tra­di­tional wed­ding or the quin­tes­sen­tial white wed­ding dress. [She eloped when she mar­ried Adams.] I knew that I wanted to make it feel ap­pro­pri­ate for the oc­ca­sion but also just a lit­tle bit left of cen­tre. I’m lucky that my job al­lows me the op­por­tu­nity to wear lots of pretty dresses all the time. Hon­estly, it’s one of my favourite parts of the job. That took the pres­sure off.” How’s mar­ried life? “We feel no dif­fer­ent. It’s fun to say ‘hus­band’ and ‘wife,’ but be­yond that, you just jump right back into the day to day.” [Laughs] And back to work too. What is it about This Is Us that res­onates with peo­ple so much? “I think the show forces us all to hold a mir­ror up to our own lives. There’s some­thing re­lat­able with ev­ery sin­gle one of these char­ac­ters and their sto­ries. They’re fal­li­ble, but they’re try­ing to be the best ver­sions of them­selves. I also just think that, in this world and at this time, peo­ple are hun­gry for this cathar­tic en­ter­tain­ment where they’re able to feel all of their emo­tions, even if it’s just for an hour a week.” This Is Us came at a time of ma­jor ca­reer re­flec­tion for you. How did you get through it? “I al­lowed my­self to have days where I felt down. I al­lowed my­self to feel the range of all my emo­tions. But at the end of the day, I re­ally just had faith that things hap­pen for a rea­son. And I re­ally be­lieved that some­thing else was go­ing to come along and that there was a sil­ver lin­ing to what I was go­ing through. Ob­vi­ously, when you go through hard­ships in life, †

pro­fes­sional and per­sonal, it makes you re­al­ize what’s worth work­ing hard for, what means some­thing to you, what you want in life, what you don’t want in life. I feel like that sort of tran­si­tional pe­riod is when you re­ally learn the most and you’re build­ing your­self up for the next peak or plateau. Dur­ing those times when I chal­lenged my­self—whether it was phys­i­cally, like hik­ing a cou­ple of times a week and con­nect­ing with na­ture, or push­ing my­self to take an act­ing class that made me re­ally un­com­fort­able—I found it pre­pared me for where I am now be­cause I pushed my­self out of my com­fort zone.” Why is it im­por­tant to you to be open about these ups and downs? “I think it’s im­por­tant to just be real. I also wouldn’t know how to share my­self and my life with peo­ple if I didn’t in­clude all of the dif­fer­ent facets and colours of my life. We get caught up in the idea of pre­sent­ing these cur­ated por­traits of our­selves [on so­cial me­dia] and our lives, but it’s just not en­tirely truth­ful. Like, our cat died un­ex­pect­edly the night be­fore we got mar­ried. We share all kinds of goofy stuff about our an­i­mals any­way, so it would feel wrong not to in­clude some sort of fit­ting tribute to her on In­sta­gram. That shit hap­pens. You’re at the emer­gency vet hos­pi­tal an hour after your re­hearsal din­ner, all dressed up. It would feel odd not to be able to share the high­est highs and low­est lows with peo­ple. And you get a sense of com­mu­nity too. I love feel­ing so con­nected to strangers.” Is life bet­ter in your 30s than it was in your 20s? “I’m go­ing to be 35, and I’m very, very com­fort­able in my skin. Things don’t bother me as much. I’ve never been a woman who buys into drama. I don’t sub­scribe to it, and I don’t have friends who sub­scribe to it. Life does seem kind of calmer—it seems a lit­tle more fig­ured out. Granted, I don’t have a fam­ily yet, so that might change when I do, but I’m def­i­nitely will­ing to em­brace that, and I’m ex­cited about it. But at this point, I’m com­fort­able in my skin, I’m com­fort­able in my body, I’m com­fort­able with the choices I’ve made in my life and what has led me to this point. I don’t have any re­grets, and I’m ex­cited about ag­ing—I’m look­ing for­ward to it. I feel like my friend­ships are deeper now than they were in my 20s. We’ve all gone through stuff to­gether. I would not go back to my 20s for any amount of money. I love where I am.” Do you ever get the itch to start singing again? “[Tay­lor and I] are mak­ing mu­sic to­gether al­ready! Once I’m done with this sea­son, dur­ing the hia­tus, there’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be full­steam-ahead time ded­i­cated to mak­ing mu­sic. In 2019, there will def­i­nitely be some mu­sic out, 1,000 per­cent. You can hold me to it!” What was the im­pe­tus for this de­ci­sion? “Def­i­nitely hav­ing this groundswell of sup­port and in­spi­ra­tion at home. There’s con­stantly mu­sic flow­ing through our house. But I can’t dis­count the show and what that has brought into my world. [Her char­ac­ter is an as­pir­ing mu­si­cian.] It’s al­lowed me to sort of re­mind peo­ple that I do love to sing, and it’s opened up my world, mu­si­cally, to an en­tirely new au­di­ence as well. It’s kind of the per­fect sym­bio­sis and syn­chronic­ity.” Are you two get­ting pres­sure to have ba­bies? How do you deal with it? “I’m re­ally ex­cited to fig­ure it out and fig­ure out the right time to just be able to with work. It’s a lit­tle tricky be­cause it’s so hard to plan… that’s not the way it works when start­ing a fam­ily. You can make plans and the uni­verse starts laugh­ing! But hope­fully sooner rather than later. I’m re­ally ex­cited about it, and we have lots of friends who al­ready have kids, so we want to join the club. It’s just a mat­ter of when. But, yes, we both can’t wait.” But hon­ey­moon first? [Laughs] “We’re go­ing to take a lit­tle time be­fore we [go on a hon­ey­moon]. It might be nice to take a beat and fig­ure out some time after I’m done with the sea­son.” ®

“I’m com­fort­able with the choices I’ve made in my life and what has led me to this point.”

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