Kristen Bell is simply looking to have a good time -- and to encourage others to do the same.
The actress, who was directed by husband Dax Shepard in the newly-released film "CHiPS," wants those around her to always enjoy themselves because, after all, "we're on Earth for, like, a minute, so shouldn't it be fun?"
At least that's how she put it when I caught up with her last week, and it's clear that she practices what she preaches. As she let her adorable daughters, Lincoln, 3, and Delta, 2, climb all over her, Bell recounted to me a recent occasion during which Pinterest inspired her to make rainbow grilled cheese with her girls (It's a thing -- I checked). Instead of using artificial coloring, though, the star of "The Good Place" took it one step further by creating her own natural dyes out of beets and purple cabbage. Talk about making life fun!
Of course, both Bell and Shepard have an affinity for a good time, which is something that Bell told me her husband made sure was apparent on the set of "CHiPS." In fact, she said that Shepard's "sexiest moment" during filming was his weekly reminder to the entire cast and crew to have fun.
"I was just, like, melting," she said of the moments.
Check out my full, candid conversation with Kristen Bell below, where we talk about being environmentally conscious, why you'll "always" see her and Dax Shepard kissing, "Bad Moms 2" and why she's "all over the map" as a mom.
See photos of Kristen Bell:
You're working with Tide on a campaign that benefits the World Wildlife Fund and its conservation efforts. Has this cause always meant something to you?
World Wildlife Fund was actually the first ever non-profit I was exposed to. For Christmas one year, my parents sponsored a whale named Iris [in my name], and I would get pictures whenever her tale surfaced. I felt such ownership and responsibility over Iris' wellbeing because we had donated $100 for the year. They do such great work with environmental issues, and they're just a great organization. I like the partnership with Tide so much because I always have a ton of respect for big businesses that step up and support things like this, but also make challenges to people to be better. If we're not getting challenged to be better, then the world is going into the toilet.
With the #CleanPledge, we're basically acknowledging that we all care about clean clothes -- we're not a transient society -- but we also care about a clean environment. As a mom, I really need to prioritize both, because I want to leave them with Earth! You don't want to sacrifice the efficacy, though, and having Tide really work to make a plant-based detergent and [encourage us to] wash in cold water, which has an impact even just on your own electricity bill, really helps. Everything about Tide purclean has been thought through for the modern day environmentalist, yet it's available everywhere. I just appreciated being able to partner with products that can reach a real household and have a real impact.
It's a little change that pretty much everybody can make.
It's always about the small things! It's the same way I feel about fashion: I love when I find a boutique brand, but I can't call my sister in Michigan and go, "Oh my, gosh! Try this blouse," because she's going to be like, "Where can I get that?" But, if it's available everywhere, it's actually going to make a huge impact. For everyone who takes the #CleanPledge, they're going to donate five dollars to the WWF, which is going to make a lot of money. If you're challenged by the right people to evolve, then everything gets better.
What other things do you do in your household that are environmentally friendly?
We're really conscious about water, because we live in California. With water in the sink, if it doesn't have too much soap in it, we try to throw it onto the plants outside. Sometimes, to be honest, if the girls are just splashing around in the bath, and there's not that much soap in it, I'll throw it outside. When we're doing dishes -- if we're in a particularly dry season -- I'll have a big bowl underneath and put that outside.
It's mainly recycling the water, but we try to be conscientious with the toddlers and talk to them [about the environment] in the same we way talk to them about slamming doors. [We'll say,] "We worked very hard to make the money to build those doors, so you don't have the right to slam them." So, we also say, "We work very hard to provide electricity to this house, and it's not free, so we don't leave the lights on."
That's such a smart way to encourage them to be aware of these things early in their lives.
Anything that I can do, particularly with plastics and waste, is helpful. Like, we save our toilet paper tubes and make silly crafts out of them. We make our own playdough, and it's so fun! I also just started making dyes, because I had seen this thing on Pinterest about rainbow grilled cheese, and I got so excited. [Laughs] I was like, "They're going to love it." And then I was a bit hesitant about artificial coloring, because it's supposed to be not super great for the kids, so I just looked it up and -- as you can find anything on the internet -- [I found out that if] you boil a purple cabbage, there's your purple! Add a little baking soda, there's your blue! Open a can of beets, there's your red! Orange is cheese, and then BOOM! there's your rainbow grilled cheese. [Laughs]
Okay, that is a seriously amazing mom moment right there.
Right?! And it was not stressful. Sometimes when you see mom moments, you get stressed out because you're like, "I don't have two hours to prep for this activity." We reuse everything in our house. Actually, our house is a trash house. [Laughs]
Switching gears a bit, "CHiPS" is coming out in theaters now. What is the feeling like right before one of your movies comes out?
Normally, I'm pretty calm, but I'm more excited and nervous for this one because it's my partner's baby. I saw him from the moment he decided to take this on to the few months he was writing it to the few months he was prepping it to shooting it, and I'm just so happy for him. He worships Hal Needham, who used to direct all of Burt Reynolds' movies, so he loves action, and he's a very, very good director. I'm just excited that people will finally get to see a little sliver of his brain!
Did you feel like you had to establish a different dynamic on set than you have at home?
We're always kissing no matter where we are. [Laughs] PDA is going to happen, special treatment is going to happen and everyone is just going to have to get hip to it, you know what I mean? [Smiles] It's funny, the only disagreement we had the whole time was when I wore this bathing suit in the movie - I play this vapid, rude, estranged wife -- and I wanted to unzip my bathing suit more to give her a really aggressive boob job and have her be a Beverly Hills housewife, and he wanted me to zip it up. He was like, "It's pulling focus!"
Well, I guess whatever the director says, goes...
Well, I had to ask! I get them once in my life, because I was breastfeeding! Let me have big boobs -- big, beautiful balloons.
See photos of Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard together:
I recently talked to Kathryn Hahn about "Bad Moms 2," and she told me that we get to meet your characters' moms in it. Can you confirm that?
Yes I can. [Slyly smiles]
What else can we expect?
So, whereas the first one dealt with the stresses of the school system and other moms, this deals with the stress of the holidays. And that involves in-laws and, well, your mother.
Do you have a real life group of moms that you have your girls' nights with?
I mean, I have girlfriends who have kids, but I don't really subscribe to one style of mom group, you know? Sometimes I feel like I'm a badass mom, other times I feel like I'm a super nerdy mom, other times I feel like I'm an organic mom, and sometimes I'm the "F-ck it, let's put the kids on the motorcycle" mom. So, I'm all over the map. [Laughs]
Part of being a mother in the public eye is that people pick apart everything you do as a parent. Do you worry about what people say about your parenting, or do you ignore it?
That's your problem -- not mine -- if someone is doing that! I always believe that if you're talking poorly about someone, to me it says more about you than the other person. I'm not here to pick apart anything that anybody else is doing; I'm here to support good ideas that I think bring more happiness or health to people and not challenge anyone's belief system and encourage people to follow their instincts.
Your show "The Good Place" is one of the rare new broadcast shows that has really been embraced by viewers
That makes me so happy.
It's true, though! So many of these shows just don't survive anymore. What has the first year been like?
I mean, first of all, getting a call from Mike Schur to get involved in one of his projects was just a thrill, and I thought he had dialed the wrong number. I love that job, I love Mike, I love working with Ted. Everyone on the show is so kind, and there's just a standard of conduct that makes it an incredibly easy job. I love that it's funny, but that's kind of a given with Mike Schur's writing team. I love that it's about something; I love that it explores these ethical conundrums. We do live on Earth together, and we do share this place, so we've got to figure out how to get along. I enjoy that job so, so much.
Going back to "CHiPS" for a second, I'm curious if watching Dax direct instilled you with any desire to get into directing yourself at all.
I'm not ready! It takes so much decisiveness and calmness and an incredible demeanor to get through a film shoot as a director. Really, his sexiest moment to me was once a week on "CHiPS," he would gather everybody together -- from PAs to lead actors -- and he would say, "Guys, it's Monday morning again. We're here to have fun. If you're not having fun, let me know, so I can see how I can help. If you prefer to leave, godspeed -- there's the door! Best of luck. We're here to have fun, so let's have a great day." And I was just, like, melting!
And that's so unusual in the workplace, yet it's such a necessary reminder!
Yeah, but you hear about really good workplace conduct, where they let people leave to pick their kids up or they encourage meditation -- there is a proven response to that! You have a happier work community with happier humans, and we're on Earth for, like, a minute, so shouldn't it be fun? It's about spreading joy, always.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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