Soleil Moon Frye: Happy Chaos Reigns

Remember the catchphrase Soleil Moon Frye made famous—“Punky Power!”? The former child star has changed her mantra to “Mommy Power!,” the theme for her new book, “Happy Chaos,” in which Frye relishes the insanity of parenthood. Read the edited version of our interview with her below.

Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
soleil moon frye is still a kid at heart image
Photograph: Meeno

More: I take it—based on the title of your book—the mood at your house is happy chaos?
Soleil Moon Frye: Completely. It is all about embracing the chaos. If you saw my house right now with the kids screaming, running and jumping, you would almost find it hysterical.

More: Most people don’t associate the words happy and chaos.
SMF: I am all about the happy chaos. For a long time I would look at parents who made it seem so easy and think, How do they do it? I mean, they really looked like they had the parenting thing down, whereas I was struggling. I would change my baby on the floor and scrub marker off of the wall?

More: What inspired you to write Happy Chaos?
SMF: I had so many questions when I became a mom. When I started using social media to write about my experience and got so many responses from others who were experiencing the same messiness and craziness I was, I felt much better, knowing I was not in this universe alone.

More: Questions such as?
SMF: What was I doing right? What was I doing wrong? I also had questions on “How can I do my best?” But I can tell you, the days of taking 45 minutes to get ready are long gone. Now it is more like ten.

More: A whole ten minutes?
SMF: Let me put it this way—in the middle of summer I was wearing Santa Claus pajama pants to the supermarket.

More: You seem so lighthearted when it comes to the parenting thing, but have you ever had a moment where you just lost it? 
SMF: Oh yeah! I have had many imperfect parenting moments. It is human to be flawed.

More: Do fans have a hard time seeing you as a mom, since some people still think of you as the adorable Punky Brewster?
SMF: That role is so close to my heart. I love it when people come up to me with fond memories of Punky because she is still such a part of me. What I think has been so nice for me, people have grown up with me as I have with them.

More: Do you still talk to your former co-star George Gaynes?
SMF: No. I haven’t spoken to George in forever.

More: What was it like to be a child star?
SMF: I was 100 percent a kid. My mom always encouraged me to be a kid. I went to summer camp, I would ride my bike in the neighborhood and use pogo sticks and scooters when I was on set. The lot was my playground. I had a great sense of childhood and family.

More: How did you manage to avoid the dark side of Hollywood?
SMF: So often we see the negative and tragic stories. We don’t think of all of the amazing stories and the people who went on to become great successes. Ron Howard is such an inspiration. I just bumped into Kellie Martin with her beautiful daughter and Fred Savage who is an incredible director and dad. I also love my good friend Melissa Joan Hart. These people are all so grounded, real and fantastic.

More: How does it make you feel to see other former child stars experience drugs, rehab, eating disorders and alcohol abuse?
SMF: I think it's sad, and I feel terrible when people are forced to deal with an emotional roller coaster ride.

More: Speaking of which, you use a photograph of you and Charlie Sheen in your book. How did it make you feel to see him spiral out of control?
SMF: I try not to focus on the negative, plus I am one who is protective of her friends. I hope people like him stay strong and make it through.

More: You also went public when you had a breast reduction. Why share something so personal?
SMF: I felt I could help so many people and inspire them. I had horrible back pain, other back issues, plus additional struggles I went through.

First Published August 15, 2011

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