Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) has teamed up with Kellogg’s Special K to help Canada ring in the New Year by eliminating resolutions (which she feels has a negative connotation, because they’re just so darned hard to keep!) and making “revolutions” instead. The gorgeous and charming movie star dropped by our Tribute offices to give advice on how to be positive and your most fabulous by declaring a New Year’s Revolution! She also verified a follow up to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and revealed why it’s taken her this long to say yes to a sequel.
Tell us how you got involved with Kellogg’s New Year’s Revolution?
It appeals to me. It’s a very organic fit because I tend to be very goal oriented without being punitive about it. I don’t get mad at myself if I haven’t lost those 10 pounds or I haven’t achieved the goal of doing a musical this year. I just say, “This is what I would like to do” and then I make a little plan and set about doing it. And I try to make attainable goals. For example, we say resolutions. You know, we write a list and we say, “I’m going to go to the gym more or I’m going to spend more time with my family.” Well the truth of the matter is, I don’t like going to the gym. (Laughing) I just don’t. I know I’m not going to do it. So I find that resolution list crumpled up at the bottom of my purse mid-January like the rest of us. I read a statistic that only about 23 per cent of Canadians have ever kept a resolution and I’m not in there. (Laughing) The word resolution has a negative connotation. So at Kellogg’s we’re using the word revolution because it’s about a new cycle of happiness. That’s why this really appeals to me because it’s about making a bold statement with a hashtag #2015Revolution and setting about making a change. So if you want to get fit, my revolution is to sing more because last year I did a musical and I got fit naturally singing and dancing. I thought that’s the way to do it. Just make a bold statement and then achieve it.
What’s the funniest resolution you’ve ever heard of?
A man told me that he was going to grow a beard. That was his plan. He was going to grow a beard by late February. He’s a very light skinned guy and he had just barely peach fuzz. I thought, you know as a Greek girl, I could do better than that. (Laughs)
(Laughing) I read you were a vegetarian but people talked you out of it.
I was a vegetarian for 11 years and during the making of My Big Fat Greek Wedding on the set I smelled bacon everyday, because they have food cooking. John Corbett and I were both vegetarians and by the end of it I had taken a bite of that bacon and then it was a slippery slope to lobster. (laughs)
Would you ever make a resolution to be a vegetarian again?
I would make a revolution to eat healthy. For example (shows inside of purse), for protein I have [Kellogg’s Special K] snack bars in my bag. Every day I start the day thinking I’m going to eat healthier today and then by the end of the day, you’re just going to crave something and it’s not necessarily good for you. I find if I’m eating every two hours it just gives me more energy during the day.
If only 23 per cent are successful at resolutions, there are a lot of people who are unsuccessful. Are there any more tips you have?
Yes, 41 per cent of women say they feel they have achieved their goals with motivation. What I’m going to do with my revolutions this year is I’m going to tell my girlfriends what I want to do. That way we can cheer each other on. We took my dog Manny to the vet and the vet said, “Okay, your dog is very round. You are loving your dog with food. Manny needs to lose six pounds.” We called it the Manny six pound challenge and we were throwing a ball in the backyard and Manny was running for it and we were all applauding for him and Manny was all excited in doing it. My friend Renée said, “You know I’d lose six pounds too if you all cheered for me.” Again, that’s what appeals to me about the revolution is tell somebody. It’s okay to declare yourself. If you go online #2015Revolution, go on Twitter or Facebook you could be entered to win $1000. There’s some motivation for you!
That’s a great motivation. Are there more men or women who make resolutions?
I think it’s equal. Actually Kellogg’s is for everybody as we know and I think we all make resolutions. The poll has shown that both genders break them so this is a revolution for everyone.
It’s taking the right steps to live your dream.
Yes. If I say my revolution is I’m going to spend more time with my daughter, well, I have to make a plan. So I ask my representatives that they don’t set any meetings for me Friday afternoons because she gets out at 2:30 from school. This way I can pick her up and spend the afternoon with her. It’s about making a goal and then setting a plan.
How did you find time to fit in working on this revolution with all your TV and film work?
You know what I do? I have a day planner. I write everything down and then I cross it off and it’s so satisfying to cross it off. That’s what works for me. Write it down. Cross it off.
Are you naturally an organized person?
I’ve become more and more organized through the years. Of course, I have days where we’re just at the mall or at Disneyland and I forget about everything that I’ve set out to do but I’m not punitive about it. I don’t get mad at myself. I just go, “That was not a good day, didn’t drink water, ate a corndog.” And I wake up the next day and just start a whole new day with a positive attitude. The studies have shown that a positive attitude will definitely help us achieve our goal. That’s a no brainer but that speaks to me because I do notice that, I think maybe just as a Winnipegger, we have a really “can do” attitude in Winnipeg. Like I am going to pull my car out of that ditch in February. (Laughing). I think I was born with that and that my parents raised me to be positive. It’s not like I told myself, “I am going to write a movie that is going to become the biggest romantic comedy in history.” I didn’t do that. I wrote a movie because I wanted to play a role. It’s about setting small goals and seeing what happens.
Speaking of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it was such a huge hit, would you ever consider doing a sequel?
We are doing a sequel!
That’s great! I love that movie.
Thank you. I wanted to do a sequel but at the end of the movie years ago when I wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding I wrote that my character is a mom and I was not a mom and it was a really difficult journey for me to become a parent. My husband and I went through a process that was very difficult. Eventually the best thing in the word happened and we met our daughter by adoption. Now I’m so grateful that I couldn’t have a biological child because I got to meet my real daughter. Now that I’m a mom, why I wanted to do the sequel is because I thought, “Now I do want to explore, in the screenplay, what my character Toula is feeling about motherhood.” That’s why I decided to do the sequel. Couldn’t do it before. Couldn’t write about motherhood when I wasn’t experiencing it. I also wrote a book called Instant Mom and all the proceeds get donated to get kids adopted. My daughter sits on my lap at the computer and chooses where the money goes.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m playing the egg donor that became Casey Wilson on Marry Me. It’s coming up in January. And I get to be on Law & Order: SVU too. I’m a schlumpy lawyer on SVU. I love it. I asked the costume department to give me shoes that are half a size too big because I shuffle around in them and big suits. If it’s not polyester, we’re like “Nope, not for my character.” It’s really fun.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I would like to ask people to go to Twitter and Facebook to declare their revolution: Twitter and Facebook #2015Revolution and then also if they have more questions they can go on specialk.ca.