By Gina Roberts-Grey
“Gossip Girl’s” Lily Humphrey is an emotional mess. Actress Kelly Rutherford, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different from the unhappy, ungrounded character she portrays.
This Girl’s Got it Together
Kelly, 42, has a very specific definition of beauty: “It’s both tranquility and vitality,” she says. “One of the things I think is quite beautiful is being comfortable with who you are, and knowing yourself, your own style and sense of purpose. People can be extraordinarily beautiful by being who they are.” And to Kelly, these aren’t just words or mantras – she lives by them. “I’m comfortable in my own skin,” she says. In fact, Kelly says she wishes beauty was rated by inner wellness of external features. “It would be nice if society shifted its focus off of what’s on the outside to natural beauty – judging beauty by health and well-being.”
Happiness and living a fulfilled life is high on Kelly’s list of ways to stay healthy. This single mom to Hermes, 4, and Helena, 1 ½, credits her own mom with helping her learn how to strike a balance between family and career to achieve happiness. “My mother always worked full time and was such a great, nurturing example and an amazing role model,” she says. “As a kid, I never felt like I took a backseat to her job.”
Following in her mom’s footsteps has helped Kelly find a great rhythm for her life. “I dedicated my youth to my career; that’s when I felt it was the time to do it,” she says. “I waited to have my kids, and being a mom is something I really wanted in my life. Now that they’re little, it’s really important for me to be with them, so I’ve made them the priority.”
So instead of pursuing other projects when “Gossip Girl” goes on hiatus, Kelly takes advantage of the time off with her kids. “As [my children] become more independent or go off to college and don’t want mom hanging around all the time, then I can shift some of the priority back to me,” she says. When she’s filming the show, Kelly often takes her son to work with her (her daughter is still too young to tag along). “I think it’s good for him because he gets to see what his mom does during the day,” she says. It also helps Kelly blend both of her worlds.
Swearing Off Gossip
Kelly knows that many women stress out about their appearance, and says that through the years, she’s had plenty of insecure moments herself… “There were times when I wanted to be super skinny or have thick, curly, wavy hair,” she says. And don’t get her started on her feet. “I have huge feet – they’re size 10. And I outgrew my mother in sixth grade, so I could never wear her cool ‘grown-up’ shoes.” When she was younger, if she could have changed one thing about her life, Kelly would have controlled the passing of time. But she wouldn’t send the hands of the clock spinning in the direction you might assume.
“When I was in my 20s and 30s, I wanted to be older and more sophisticated. I wanted to be 40,” she says. “I loved to read magazines about women in their 40s and 50s because I wanted to know the secrets of women who were older and wiser and had been through ‘life.’ I wanted to know about all the personal discoveries they made.” Now that she’s finally in her 40s, Kelly’s having the time of her life making her own personal discoveries. Not to mention learning to love everything about herself – yes, even the size of her feet. “Instead of things I don’t like, I focus on my good traits and talents,” she says. “I obsess about my vitality and health, because the more we focus on our purpose, the happier we are.”
Kelly is also busy setting a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy example for her kids. She maintains a balanced diet and a commitment to daily exercise, and she’s careful to avoid gossiping with friends or dishing negativity when her kids are within earshot. Kids pattern their actions after their parents’ actions, including what we say when we think they’re not paying attention,” she says. “If they see their mom as a beautiful, strong, loving, nurturing woman, they’re going to grow up with a good image of themselves and of women in general.”
Most important, Kelly is teaching her kids to love who they are. ” If we love ourselves and teach our kids to value and respect a person’s inner beauty, then we’re doing the right thing.”