Cynthia Nixon on Being an Older Mom, Reinvention and Living with Rosacea

Cynthia Nixon has conquered the small screen, the big screen and the Great White Way. Now the award-winning actress is tackling her latest challenge, only this time it’s personal. Read an edited version of our interview with her below

Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
cynnthia nixon image
Photograph: Steven Sebring

More: I must congratulate you. Last year you became a mom again.
Cynthia Nixon: I did. I have a very cute 15-month-old. He is walking, starting to talk and he is just really adorable.

More: Were you completely at ease with Max since you had experience in diaper duty before?
CN: Yeah, but I am a person who was never intimidated by motherhood the first time out. Every kid is different and every kid presents new challenges, but the hardest part is when they are really young and you are sleep deprived. I will say, the more you do it, the more familiar it gets.

More: What are the benefits of being an older mom?
CN: One of the benefits is you might be further along in your life and in your career. When you are younger, you are struggling to spend time with your children while trying to get ahead in your career. I think whether or not you have gotten to where you want to be in your career, as an older mom you know work will be there tomorrow, next week and even next year. Remember, your children are only going to be kids once.

More: Sounds like Cynthia and Miranda, the character you played on Sex and the City, have nothing in common in the mom department.
CN: Not much. I always knew I wanted children, while Miranda was very ambivalent about it from the beginning. I don’t think Miranda feels like it came naturally to her, whereas I feel it was so natural for me.

More: Do your two older ones like having a baby brother?
CN: They do, particularly the nine-year-old. They love playing with him all of the time.

More: Because the Sex and the City TV series and both movies are still such a huge success on the airwaves, how did you reinvent yourself and get people past seeing you as Miranda Hobbes?
CN: I do what any actor does, when you have a role that you are very identified with—you take as many roles that contrast with that one you are known for as possible.

More: You really went all out for your latest role on Broadway [in Wit, a drama about a cancer patient] by shaving your head. What was your family’s reaction when they saw mommy without hair?
CN: They were pretty intrigued. They loved to touch my head when it was completely bare. Now that I have some very soft growth they have fun playing with it.

More: What is the most extreme thing you have done for a role?
CN: Shave my head (laughs).

More: You have now decided to go public and tell your fans about a skin condition you have been suffering from. 
CN: It is called rosacea, and since this National Rosacea Month was in April I am trying to spread awareness. Rosacea is a skin condition that affects 16 million Americans, and that is the boat that I was in. In my thirties my skin would get very red. I would have these breakouts that I thought were acne. When I was younger, I would do acne treatments such as scrubs and astringents to try and get my face clean. When I tried that here, it only made it worse.

More: So how did you figure out it wasn’t acne?
CN: About four years ago I was at my dermatologist to get a mole that looked suspicious checked out. While I was there the doctor said, “Oh, and by the way, you have rosacea.” She started to tell me what it was, and then she went over the dos and don'ts and listing all of the things I should be avoiding. Of course those were the things I was doing, and making the rosacea worse. I would even get flare-ups.  

More: Being a very popular actor in New York and Hollywood, where looks and glam rule, were you freaked out by the diagnosis?
CN: Yeah. I thought it was acne. I was a child actor, and it plagued me in the early part of my career. Before I knew I had rosacea I started thinking, “Oh, it's back again. Even though I am past 30 and I thought these days were behind me, they aren't.”

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