Tony-and Emmy-winning actress, singer, and author Kristin Chenoweth is as bright a light as they come, but in the past few years, coping with a life-altering injury and losing her best friend threatened to snuff it out. Here, she catches up with Woman’s World to share how positivity, family, and faith have kept her light shining.
Do you remember when?
Were you to look up the word “joy” in the dictionary, it’s very likely you’d find a photo of Kristin Chenoweth next to it. It’s no secret that the 4’1” dynamo radiates a palpable and infectious cheer and spunk, but as the Oklahoma native admits, the past few years have tested her sunny disposition.
“This time has been one of the hardest in my life,” Kristin shares with Woman’s World. “From my home in New York City across from a hospital, I’ve experienced things that have been so scary and heartbreaking. I had a big loss too — my best friend passed away and I went into a deep funk. I didn’t get out of bed for a week. When someone young dies, you just find yourself asking, Why? ”
Kristin is no stranger to that question, having sustained a life-changing injury to her head and neck after an accident on a set in 2012. “I live with neck pain and have Ménière’s disease [a disorder of the inner ear that can lead to dizzy spells and hearing loss],” she says. “Sometimes I can’t do what I’m supposed to do or want to do because of it, and for years, I’d ask, ‘Why me, God?’”
Kristin says that everything changed when her mother gave her an unexpected answer. “She said, ‘Why not you? Everybody has pain and yours has to be this, so learn about it and figure out how to deal with it.’”
Coping has been a mixture of acceptance, education, and following God’s guidance. “I listen harder now,” the 53-year-old says. “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so it’s important that we listen. Especially as women: We’re more powerful than we know!”
Discover Kristin’s tricks to live a life full of joy, health, and peace.
Embrace exactly who you are.
“If you’re struggling with your confidence, try not to compare yourself to others,” Kristin advises. “Be yourself all the way, all the time, and then some. God made us each very special. When I was growing up, my mom bought me a poster of a mouse in a tutu and it said, ‘Beauty is what beauty does.’ I never knew what it meant, but I know now: It means when you feel beautiful in who you are, you can do anything!”
Find joy with furry friends.
“I happen to be a dog lover, but I love all animals,” says Kristin, who has a special bond with her rescue pup, Thunder. “I always say ‘dog’ is ‘God’ spelled backward. If I’m ugly, pretty, happy, sad, Thunder gives me unconditional love. I can get down about the state of things, but I look at that dog and she can make me laugh again. She even kisses my tears when I cry. I love her to death.”
Find peace by hand.
“I took a page from Dolly Parton’s book and bedazzle everything!” Kristin says of one of her favorite ways to relax. “I love sports, and I’m really good at decorating sports hats. You should see my Oklahoma City Thunder hat! I bedazzled the crap out of it. I do it single-handedly, each crystal by itself, so I don’t use a machine. That’s one of the things that brings me peace and joy every time I do it.”
Take time for you.
“I have to have alone time to pray,” Kristin says of her daily to-do’s. “A lot of people are into transcendental meditation. I say, whatever it takes. Some people read. As long as you’re quieting your mind.
“How do I do that? I have to sometimes be alone. I’m engaged, and I have a core group of people who I adore, but sometimes you just have to take a 10-minute break and go, ‘God, thank You. I’m sorry I haven’t been grateful. Forgive me. Help me hear You.’ If I’m quiet, that’s when I hear God.”
Love your fellow female friends.
“I feel like we’re on this Earth to build one another up, especially as women,” Kristin says. “I’m an editor of this new book, My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves, which features essays from women like Carol Burnett, Debra Messing, and Chely Wright, who is also an editor, about the first time they stood up for themselves. I’m so proud of it. We have to empower one another and stay strong because together, we’re unstoppable.”
Reach out to lift each other up.
“In my darkest times, I’ll just randomly FaceTime friends or text them and say, ‘Thinking of you today and I love you. I just want you to know,’” Kristin shares. “It takes me out of myself so I can help somebody else. If you’re down, just reach out and send someone a little bit of your love and you won’t believe the love you get in return. It’s not even for us to know how that can change somebody — it just turns your day around.”
Don’t miss Kristin’s new books!
With two books out this spring — one, a series of essays about defining moments in women’s lives called My Moment (Buy on Amazon for Kindle, $14.99), and another, a children’s book titled What Will I Do with My Love Today? (Buy from Amazon, $14.20) featuring her pup, Thunder — Kristin is more excited than ever. “When I started writing the kids’ book, the question I had in mind was, How can I use my love to help others? and it became the story!”
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.