Mayim Bialik is an American actress and neuroscientist who stars on hit TV show The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Amy Farrah-Fowler. She recently featured in a SodaStream video with Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor.
In the SodaStream commercial we see the impact of the plastic bottle pollution on the environment, how do you try to reduce your own carbon footprint?
My love affair with the environment started as a teenager: I was fascinated with all animals and with marine animals in particular. Even in high school, I used canvas bags instead of paper or plastic and was ridiculed for it; it wasn’t part of our collective consciousness yet as a society to reduce and reuse yet! When the city I lived in began recycling, I cried with joy – finally! Still to this day I try, as much as I can, to reduce my own carbon footprint – I don’t consume animal products, I don’t have a lawn, I take very short showers, I read up on ways to consume less– I buy fewer things, own fewer things, and donate things I don’t need and downsize even in small ways. I’m not trying to be a goody-goody (although I have been accused of that for sure!), but being kind to the planet is critical for our health, the health of the planet, and the health of generations to come.
You’re not only an actor but also a neuroscientist! As a neuroscientist, what would be your number one tip for better health?
Eat well and drink well. What we consume is directly linked to how our bodies function – or exist in dysfunction. So many of us today are touched by health problems which we know are epidemic because of our diets like high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or struggles with weight and obesity-related conditions. Healthy eating requires a bit more planning, but healthy drinking – consuming less sugar drinks and cutting back – or cutting out! – carbonated corn syrup-laden drinks is one of the easiest things we can do to improve our health. We also categorically under-hydrate (the Neuroscientists in me is coming out!), and this has a tremendous impact on our physical and mental condition. A hydrated brain is a healthy brain – and water is really all we need!
It’s not often we see an actor who’s actually a neuroscientist – do you find it difficult to have a sensible conversation in Hollywood?
Ha, there are a lot of intelligent people in Hollywood. The Big Bang writing staff are some of my favorite smart people to hang out with, in fact. A lot of people are more ‘surface’ in Hollywood for sure, but there are also some lovely surprises
How are you similar to your character, Amy, and how are you different?
Amy and I are not so different in a lot of ways. There are things she and I are similar in, such as the way we approach thinking and our appreciation for science, but even I know not to mix stripes and plaids!
What’s next for Dr. Amy Farrah-Fowler on The Big Bang Theory?
Well if you watched the season 10 finale of TBBT I’m sure your jaw was on the floor, mine certainly was then I first read about it… I literally had no idea this proposal from Sheldon was coming. Like: none. So, if you want me to tell you what happens in the season opener of season 11…I can’t, because I don’t know! Your guess is as good as mine! Sure, I have opinions and ideas… as an actor and a writer, I could see this playing out several ways. But that’s not my job right now. My job is to wait through the summer to see what our writers decide!
You like to speak a lot, how does the temporary loss of your voice affect you and those around you?
My friends think it’s hysterical that I’ve been put on doctor’s orders to shut up; I do tend to talk a lot and now everyone gets to have quiet Mayim! My kids are a combination of angry and thrilled. They’ll probably get to watch a lot more movies while I’m on vocal rest. My voice is temporarily gone, but my body is not and I can still communicate in my own way. When I remove the ability to speak I get to see what’s really worth talking about. Turns out, I am learning to listen a lot better. And I can still glare angrily at my kids if they are being sassy!
You frequently comment on social, environmental and political issues. Do you feel that this temporary health issue compromises that?
I’ve been finding ways to communicate my outrage about the injustices in the world all my life and that won’t change now! In having to rest my voice I’ve realized that actions really do speak louder than any words. As a society, we can talk about the problems we face or we can start doing something about them.
What do you think the world will look like in 50 or 100 years if we continue to use single use plastic?
It will continue to be an environmental mess; our landfills are already taxed and this will only get worse.
How was it working with Kristian Nairn? Are you a Game of Thrones Fan?
I haven’t watched Game of Thrones – there’s a bit too much gore for me! So unlike everyone on set, I wasn’t familiar with Kristian before I got to work with him. But during the shoot I got to know him, and he is a joy to work with and a true gentleman. And yes, he seems taller and mightier in person than I can even explain!
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