“Insane shakes”, daily walks along the beach with Billy, Dancing with the Stars and living life in Hollywood as a Christian Celebrity Wife and Mom.
I was absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to have a Q&A chat with Chynna Phillips (pronounced CHI-NA, not SHE-NA).
She is just as humble and sweet as I had imagined her to be — honest with a dynamic and graceful personality.
Grab your coffee or tea and join me in my intimate Q&A with Chynna Phillips as we dive into personal stories about being raised in and now life as a busy mom in Hollywood.
Joining the most buzzed about show on TV, singer, songwriter, actress, mother and wife, Chynna Phillips, dusted off her dancing shoes on this season’s DANCING WITH THE STARS with partner Tony Dovolani.
Born to musicians John and Michelle Phillips of famed 60’s group The Mamas and The Papas, Chynna has had music in her DNA for life. Rising to fame when she and childhood friends Carnie & Wendy Wilson formed the trio, Wilson Phillips, the beautiful Chynna became an instant megastar in her own right, when their self-titled debut album went on to sell ten million copies worldwide, go 5x multi-platinum, and chart three #1 singles.
In 1992, Billboard declared them the best selling female group of all time, breaking the record previously set by Motown’s The Supremes, and received countless Grammy and AMA nods and a win at the Billboard Music Awards (for songs Hold On, Release Me, and Impulsive, written by Phillips).
After much music success, Phillips decided to take some time off to start a family (she has 3 children), and devote herself to Christianity.
Merging her passions for strong values, faith, and music, Chynna returned to music a few years back and teamed up with singer/songwriter Vaughan Penn to form the Christian pop duo Chynna & Vaughan.
In 2011, Chynna announced that she and Wilson Phillips would be reuniting again to celebrate their 20 years together as a musical group. Watch out for their new album DEDICATED debuting in early 2012!
Thank you Chynna for taking the time to chat with me.
As a busy work from home mom, I always love and appreciate chatting and learning from other mothers. Especially from a very busy celebrity mom like you!
I can’t imagine your hectic schedule.
What is a typical day like for you? What about when you’re home with your family? What’s an average day like with your family.
I usually wake up around 6:45 or 7 AM. I wish I could say that I take time to pray and meditate to get the day started, but that went by the wayside about 12 years ago.
I wake up the kids, get them ready for school, and make breakfast including what we laughingly refer to as their “insane shake” – organic blueberries, organic raspberries, agave, rice milk, pumpkin seeds and chia seed (also called running food).
Then, I drive them to school and head immediately over to my exercise class. Usually mid-morning I’ll meet up with Billy for a walk on the beach with the dogs, and then home to focus on my music for the better part of the afternoon. Hopefully I’ll break out the guitar and write a chorus or two by the time I have to leave to pick up the kids.
Once I’ve shuttled them around to every after school activity possible to fit in an afternoon, it’s home for dinner prep (while they do their homework).
Then it’s the night time routine: shower, pajamas, reading, reminding them to take Jesus into their hearts and then lights out.
Somewhere between 3 PM and 9 PM one of us will probably have a meltdown.
By 9 o’clock, the night is over, I’m completely drained and depleted.
I crash, knowing I’m doing it all over again in 10 hours.
Carol: Phew! That got me tired just hearing all that!
Supermom is definitely an understatement for you. And yum! I’ve got to try making that Insane Shake one day!
As a Christian Celebrity Mom, I’m sure you are faced with many tough choices and scenario’s.
What do you usually do to keep your faith and spiritual relationship strong?
We go to church every Sunday. It’s an important routine.
I read scripture as much as possible and Billy and I pray together which has proven to be a very healing part of our marriage.
We make it a point to hang out with friends of the same faith.
It’s important to have a network of people who share similar values, who you can trust and open up to each other about the trails and tribulations of marriage, and the highs and lows of life.
Carol: I’m inspired. I can’t agree with you more on choosing friends that have the same moral beliefs and similar values you do. And yes, a family that prays together stays together. I strongly believe that.
You look amazing! Do you have any natural beauty tips you can share?
Get 10 hours of sleep each night.
Use a mask – any mask – once per week on your face. Never pop a zit.
And stay away from too much sugar, dairy, white flour, and anything processed.
Carol: Wonderful tips! I need to work on the sleep (and cutting sugar) part.
As I’m sure most moms do. Darn those pastries!
Any advice for busy moms on the go to fit fitness into their day-to-day schedule?
If your day is anything like mine, I feel like I spend a million hours a day in my car.
I like to build in my exercise while I drive: squeeze your butt and flex your legs while you’re shuttling the kids around town.
It sounds hilarious, but you can get a great workout while you’re driving (…and I wonder why people call me the queen of multitasking… HA!).
Carol: Okay, now that is great advice! Butt and leg flexes on the go!
Doing a lot of travelling away from home, what do you usually tell your children before you leave and how do they cope?
I’m honest with the kids.
They understand – as much as kids can – that Mommy’s job requires her to sometimes be away from home.
If it’s an extended trip, we pull out the white-board calendar that hangs in our kitchen, and I’ll mark an “X” each day that I have to be away from home.
Each night, just before bed, the kids erase the day’s “X”, knowing I’m one “X” closer to coming home.
It’s a concrete way for them to understand when my work away from home will be finished.
I also make sure that I touch base with them every day.
I think it’s very important for children – to anchor the day with a phone call, even if they can’t see you physically.
Growing up, I wasn’t close to my father: we’d touch base by phone a couple of times a year, and yet, I can remember those calls to this day.
I feel as if I can so vividly remember 2 phone conversations a year with my dad, then hopefully my kids will keep some of what we say in their hearts as they grow up, as well.
Carol: Love that ‘X’ whiteboard idea! I agree that children do not forget the simplest of things, especially when it means a little more to them.
How do you cope when you’re away from your children for long periods of time?
Beyond talking on the phone, I write e-mails to my eldest daughter (12).
My two youngest don’t have e-mail, yet, so we rely on voice conversation, but I feel as though I am able to connect on a deeper level with my pre-teen writing letters.
I’ll draft a letter on a flight and send it when I land – solid letters… half pagers or a full page.
I know she takes the time to read it, and it makes me feel good to know that she knows it’s coming from my heart. Even if she deletes it after she’s read it (which I hope she doesn’t!), I pray the words will stick with her.
She knows she’s on my mind and that I’m taking the time to connect with her in a way that we both can share.
My career has been beyond blessed, but I will say, being away from my children for long stretches of time is one of the hardest things about my job.
It’s hard to cope, no matter what I do.
Carol: I guess this is something that will never change for us Mothers.
I think that’s a very special thing you’re doing writing to your pre-teen. Letters from Mom are something that should and will be cherished for a lifetime. She can look back at them with such fond memories years and years down the road. Perhaps even share with her daughter one day.
Let’s talk dance! You definitely have the dancing bone in your body. You did great on DWTS! How was it like training for DWTS? And how did you like working with Tony Dovolani?
Next to childbirth, training for DWTS was one of the most challenging, exhausting, and painful experiences of my life – BUT – next to childbirth it was one of the most exhilarating and inspiring experience, and something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
Tony is the creme de la creme.
He’s an amazing teacher, a two-time world champ.
He was always positive, funny, and encouraging.
I was truly blessed being matched with him!
Awesome! Taking up dance classes with my hubby is on my to-do list.
Speaking of hubby, you and William Baldwin have been married for 16 years.
You were also close to divorce at one point.
As you know, Hollywood marriages don’t really have a good marriage success rate. What is keeping your marriage going after all these years and why did you decide to work things out instead of calling it quits?
Billy and I are best friends and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
We adore one another and have no secrets. I feel as though we’re connected in a way that is very beautiful and special.
He’s known me since I was a young girl (I met him when I was 23! … I can’t even believe it, when I think about it).
He understands my heart in a way not many on the planet do. He gets my history and my family dynamics (which are both intricate and bizarre).
It would take a special human being to be able to understand my chemistry and my fabric the way he does.
He gets me.
He loves me for the good, bad, and the ugly and I do the same with him.
I was in a bad spot that year. All relationships have their ups and downs… unfortunately the press caught wind of one of our downs.
I’d lost sight of the forest through the trees. It happens to us all.m
I definitely agree with you on that. Relationships are a working progress; always has its shares of ups and downs. No relationship is perfect.
You and Billy sound like you have a great foundation built on trust and love. I love that you said that he “gets you”.
What advice do you have for couples that are going through difficulties?
Try to stick with it. If you’ve made it this far together, keep going.
Marriage is a ride – there’s no sense getting off the ride at the half-way mark, just because you’re not sure what’s around the next corner.
Carol: What great advice. I applaud you for all that you have accomplished despite the trials and tribulations you have faced in your life and in your marriage.
What is your main focus in life now?
My main focus is serving Jesus while making a conscious effort to slow down and appreciate the beauty and the blessings in my life.
One of my worst faults is that I tend to take things for granted… and I move so quickly through life.
I’ve realized that I really need to focus on trying to slow my life down.
DWTS was like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and to be honest, I’m not sure that I’ve fully come down from it yet.
I think a couple more walks on beach, a few more intimate dinners with Billy, and a few more laughs with kids and I’ll be back on track again.
That sounds just lovely. I think we all need to learn not to take things for granted, appreciate what we have in our lives and enjoy the simple pleasures.
Prior to singing, you also did some acting. Would this be something you would ever consider revisiting?
Any actors or actresses that you would love to work with?
Chynna: I haven’t been in the industry since 1995, so for me, I’m looking forward to getting my feet wet again. I’d be grateful for anything that might come my way. I’m humbled and grateful to start from square one and build up my reputation and credibility as an actress, and if that takes 5 years or 20 years, I’m ready and I’m in no rush.
I’d love to work with Matthew Fox.
I think he’s fantastic.l
Carol: Matthew Fox is an amazing and talented actor and a very respectable man. Admirable choice.
When I think of 90’s music, Wilson Phillips always comes to mind. How was it like reuniting with Carnie and Wendy Wilson and singing together again?
Carnie and Wendy are like sisters. Singing harmony with them is an indescribable feeling.
We are so happy to be reunited and we look forward to our next album DEDICATED (comprised of all Mamas & Papas and Beach Boys classics). It’s due out in early 2012.
Carol: Can’t wait to hear that album! I love the music of Mama’s and Papa’s and The Beach Boys. And I absolutely love the way you all harmonize and sound together.
I also loved seeing your special guest appearance on Bridesmaids.
That movie was hilarious. Did you catch a lot of laughs on set?
It was one night of work but Kristin Wiig really ingratiated herself to us.
That woman is beyond incredible and a true inspiration – so funny and smart. She spoke to us through most of the night. Actually, to be honest, I think it was me who talked her ear off.
After all is said and done, kicking back for some R&R is a must.
What do you do for relaxation?
I exercise: I break a sweat.
I like to take sun baths (with lots of SPF!). My favorite thing to do is sit with my little dog, Pokey.
I call her my therapist: I sit and tell her all of my troubles. She looks at me like i’m crazy (with that same look you have reading this!), but I know she’s listening (she can’t help it) and she’s not going to tell anybody (beyond our doctor-patient confidentiality, there’s the whole “only understanding 7 words” aspect of it all).
Carol:Pokey sounds like one fantastic listener. 🙂 Exercise definitely has it’s relaxing benefits along with its health benefits.
You’ve been surrounded by Hollywood since forever! Being the daughter of Mama’s and Papa’s John and Michelle Phillips, how was life growing up with celebrity parents?
Definitely not as glamorous as one might think, that’s for sure.
Carol: I bet.
You have such great style. How would you describe your fashion style? What do you feel best and most sexy in?
I love classic lines and simple clothing, and I wear clothes that fit (I think that’s very important!).
I feel most sexy when I’m lolling around the house in a pair of jeans, and a little tank top, and no shoes.
Carol: Yes! Proper fitting clothes is definitely a must.
I love how simplistic your fashion sense is. But then again, you would look fab in whatever you’re wearing!
And lastly… your advice for busy mom’s?
Chynna: There’s no advice for us.
I say just let yourself have that nervous breakdown (because you know that’s going to happen anyway). 🙂
Thank you so much to Chynna for taking the time to answer my questions and for being so candidly honest with me. Wishing you, Billy and your family all the best on your journey.
If you aren’t following Chynna yet on Twitter or Facebook, make sure you do!
Tweet with her here: @ChynnaPhillips and join her on FB.
Credits: Chynna Phillips, Vanessa King, Much & House PR.