TheTot Interview: Being Mama: Laura Prepon
Laura recently did an interview with baby-products company TheTot on working through early motherhood, staying true to herself and why spicy food and breast milk don’t mix.
You’ll know her as Alex, the raven-haired, cool-as-ice inmate of Litchfield Penitentiary on Orange Is the New Black– and Donna, That ’70s Show’s teen pioneer of second-wave feminism – but due to the private nature of the actress, director and best-selling author, you might not be so familiar with Laura Prepon’s role as mother.
In July 2017, on the same day OITNB went into production on season six, Laura gave birth to her daughter (it’s no accident that Alex is missing, under mysterious circumstances, for the first three episodes). She returned to work six weeks later and, soon after, gave her five million Instagram followers a first glimpse at baby Ella in a sweet snap captioned with: “Visit from my little one on set while directing this episode of #OITNB.”
“It’s not easy,” says Laura, answering the inevitable question of how she juggles motherhood and working life. “I was just recently talking to another mother who is in my industry with two kids and I asked her this same question. I always love talking to other moms to see what tricks they have that I can apply! But, it’s a tough one. She didn’t have an answer, either.”
For Laura, family always comes first. “From the get-go, if I’m considering a project, the first thing I do is ask myself, how will this affect my family? It’s not easy,” she reiterates. Many days see her leaving for work before sunrise and returning after Ella has gone to sleep. “You constantly have to ask yourself, is this worth it? I absolutely love my job and my family is everything to me… it’s a very tough question that I don’t have the answer to. I just know my daughter would be proud of me and I try to set a good example and make work fun.”
Laura’s career started in modelling. At 15, she dropped out of school and moved, alone, from her hometown of Watchung, New Jersey, to work in Milan, London, Paris and Brazil. At 17 she returned to the US, started acting and within a year had booked That ’70s Show and moved to LA. Crediting her independence to growing up as the youngest of five in a house with no rules or routines, when reflecting on her childhood, the words “freedom, eccentric, unorthodox” come to mind. Her parents’ advice was, “Be true to yourself. Never try to fit into any mold”, and through embracing her individuality, Laura wields a powerful onscreen presence.