Parade Rewind with Alyssa Milano: The Future of Mistresses, Motherhood, and Who’s the Boss? Legacy
Alyssa Milano stopped by to chat with Parade about her ABC series, Mistresses, her advice to her younger self, staying in touch with her Who’s the Boss? costars, and more.
On her partnership with Febreze for their “Sleep Serenity” campaign and advice she has for working moms on how to get healthy sleep.
“I am one of those people that before I had my baby, read every book on sleep habits and how to get him to sleep through the night and then after he was born, I was so exhausted. I did all those mommy things. What every single book and doctor said to me was ‘You have to get him on a bedroom routine.’ And I thought, ‘Wow. You’re right! Kids have a bedroom routine. They take a bath, brush their teeth, maybe watch a few minutes of television and then they go to bed.’ As adults we completely lose that routine. We have a million things we’re trying to get done and there’s not enough time in the day to get them all done, so we’re trying to cram stuff in. Unfortunately, this leads to very unhealthy sleep habits.
“When I started Mistresses, I made a very conscious decision: ‘I’m going to try to have a better bedtime routine and make more time for myself.’ So Febreze coming to me with this lovely partnership was so timely because it’s stuff I’ve been really thinking about lately. There are three scents Febreze created specifically for the bedroom: there’s Moonlit Lavender, Quiet Jasmine, and Warm Milk & Honey. All those scents are proven to have different effects on the body and relaxation.”
On how she unwinds after a busy day.
“I unwind in every possible way that I can. It usually starts with after I get the baby to sleep, obviously. He goes to bed now around 8 and he’s asleep by 8:15. My husband and I will watch television together and try to have a conversation about our day and all of that. And then starts the bedtime routine: I take a bath, put on my yummy moisturizers or a mask (I try to do one once a week), I take vitamins before bedtime with a cup of tea and then I’m ready to get in bed with my delicious smelling bedroom – and that’s it. I try to unwind. I have a rule about my cell phone. I try not to look at it from an hour before bedtime on. It doesn’t always work that way, but I try.”
On her favorite thing about playing Savi on Mistresses.
“My favorite thing about playing Savi was how flawed she was. I think we all have that friend that seemingly has everything together. Their career is going really well and they’re kind of overachievers. They’re there for you; they’re best friends and they’re really loyal, but then their own personal life is completely unraveling. I felt like that was a very relatable person. I like the idea of a really good person that makes a bad decision and has to deal with the repercussions of what that means.”
On the possibility of a second season of Mistresses.
“We have not heard about a season two pickup. The only thing we have heard is that ABC extended our contract so now they have until September 30  to tell us if it’s picked up or not. All of our fingers are crossed and we’re hoping for the best. I would hate for the series to end on Savi flatlining!”
On the advice she’d give young Alyssa Milano.
“The advice I would give young Alyssa just starting out…if I knew me then, I guess it would be: ‘Lay off the hairspray!’”
On her celebrity idols as a teen.
“I don’t think I had any celebrity idols as a teenager because I had been working for such a long time in the business and it just didn’t make a lot of sense. But I worshipped my mom for sure because she was just a strong, smart beautiful woman that was a great mom and a great wife.”
On her favorite and least favorite subjects in school.
“My favorite school subjects as a kid were history and creative writing. My least favorite —I really liked science, but I wasn’t great at science. I was fascinated by all the sciences. And math because I’m dyslexic. No bueño.”
On continuing her education.
“There are so many things I’m interested in I don’t even know what I’d get a degree in. I don’t think I’d go to a traditional college now. I think I would more take online classes. I still to this day have gone to maybe 10-15 symposiums at UCLA just to get a concrete few hours of learning about a topic. I’d kind of like to code. I think that would be really fun. I love photography; I’d like to get some photography classes.”
On her favorite apps.
“My favorite app is probably Twittelator for Twitter. I love Uber. I love Square; I think Square is genius. Any of those apps that help you navigate Los Angeles traffic are awesome.”
On her favorite memory from Who’s the Boss?.
“One of my favorite memories from Who’s the Boss? was when Katherine Helmond gave me the first pieces of jewelry that her husband had ever given her for my sixteenth birthday. She said to me, ‘ I want you to have these because I don’t have a daughter, and if I did, I’d be giving her these rings.’ It was pretty special. I still have them. I actually keep them in my bag at all times.”
On keeping in touch with her Who’s the Boss? costars.
“I still speak to all of my Who’s the Boss? costars. I speak to Tony [Danza] probably the most. He checks in about once a month and asks for baby pictures of my son.”
On her two-year-old son Milo’s personality and mannerisms.
“My son has picked up a few things that I recognize that are my husband’s — like his temper! He’s definitely got my husband’s temper. It’s so funny how when you look at your child and you look at their little bodies you can dissect exactly who gave him what. He’s got my husband’s mini-me feet, which is pretty cute. Not on my husband, but very cute on my baby! Mannerisms from me – I’m afraid to say this out loud, but I think he really likes to perform.”
On letting Milo go into show business as a kid.
“I would have told you before I had the baby, ‘Absolutely not. There’s no way I’d ever let him go into this business as a child.’ But what I realized from having him is they kind of come out who they are and the most important thing you can do as a parent is to encourage that and give him opportunities to grow and do what he loves. If he should choose to act at young age, I would probably support him.”
On Milo’s love of performing.
“I just got Milo a drum kit for his second birthday. This is how much he loves to perform: he now says, ‘One more time, Mommy’ and what that means is he likes me to introduce him. I have to say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the one and only Milo.’ And then he goes like this with the drumsticks: ‘One, two, three, four’ and starts playing. He waits for the applause afterwards and goes [bows], ‘Thank you very much.’ So I kind of think he likes performing. I’m doomed! It’s retribution!”
On her biggest challenge of motherhood.
“I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many challenges! For me, I had a very hard time finding balance with work. Luckily, I had a job with Mistresses where he had his own room on the set, so if he wanted to visit he could always be there with me. But it still didn’t make it any easier in the morning when I got in the car. I think it completely goes against everything we’re built for. Just that balance thing ‑ trying to remember that you absolutely have to spend time with yourself and do the things that you love. It’s very easy to lose sight of those things and be completely obsessive about your child. Every once in awhile you have to check yourself — like tonight I’m going to a burlesque dance class…for me!”