Mayim Bialik on Getting Ready for the 2013 Emmys – Kveller
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Mayim Bialik on Getting Ready for the 2013 Emmys

As many of you know, I received my second Emmy nomination a few weeks ago for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for my work on “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s been very exciting, even–especially!?–the second time around. It means lots of interviews, lots of excitement for our show, which was also nominated, my co-nominee Jim Parsons, who was also nominated, and it’s just crazy exciting all over town.

It also means something that many women love to think about but which I famously don’t: finding a dress. And getting dressed up like a princess. And hair being styled and make-up being done and jewelry being selected and shoes and a purse and blah blah blah blah. None of that stuff thrills me. I am a tomboy, I am grumpy, I have not had a manicure in maybe 10 years, I don’t like pampering, and I hate sitting in one place for more than five minutes.


I don’t disdain women (or celebrities) who love that stuff, it’s just so not my cup of tea. And I am socially anxious so all of this attention on me by hair and make-up and media and stylists and publicists and managers and agents and lawyers is really hard for me. I’m not saying, “Oh, poor me. My life is sooo hard,” but I am a real person under all that you see on the red carpet, and I am entitled to have my grumpy misanthropic experience of the universe free from judgment I’d say. Thank you.


I have this awesome stylist and her name is Alison M. Kahn. I wrote about her last year because two years ago when I attended the Emmys, I wrote a series of posts for Kveller about how the stylist I was using didn’t understand modest dressing, could barely find me a dress, I ended up having to buy one myself at the last minute, and it turned out okay but was super stressful.

Then Ali came into my life, and we became a great team. She totally gets me. She loves the tznius (modesty) limitations because it makes a challenge for her, and she is fun to be around. She has a normal body-type so I don’t always feel like I am in the presence of a model, she has unusual funky taste, she is a total artist/genius at what she does, and I never dread her coming over like I dreaded all stylists before her. She helped get us a bordeaux-colored gown from Pamela Rolland last year that was lovely, and she even helped get a mezuzah designed that I wore to the ceremony which was amazing.

Onto this year. This year Ali wants another name designer to do my dress. Um… OK. I couldn’t name one if I tried, but I have to trust her. I do trust her. I think. I mean, I can’t micromanage everything. That’s what I had kids for, right? We get to micromanage their meals and their clothing choices and toothpaste choices and write theses about how they ought to comb their hair… But I need to let this Hollywood dress stuff be handled by the professionals.

Ali says she will not let me go out there on Emmy night (which falls during Sukkot this year, an Intermediate Day, not a yom tov, thank goodness!) without me feeling fantastic. She wants me to love what I wear and she says I will. I just need to trust her. And I do.

It’s stressful, though, just because I know I am going to be juggling work, Sukkot, my kids, the dress, and the tons of press events leading up to the Emmys which also require Ali to find me dresses and accessories for them. I know it will be fun when all is said and done, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the dress for the main event. I want to be comfortable. I want to make a statement, and I am grateful that now that she and I are in a groove and enough people in the media know I am a modest dresser, it’s not this huge deal to have a long sleeved dress made that doesn’t show my knees or the innermost recesses of my cleavage. That’s a relief that I’m not such a novelty anymore. People are starting to get me.

Little by little, it gets easier. My quirks are not overlooked, but they are worked in. And I have surrounded myself with a team of young, bright women who manage my career (and a rockstar Modern Orthodox male lawyer) and who help my quirks be highlighted without them impeding the progress they work so hard to see happen. There’s a Yiddish saying, “A bisl und a bisl, macht a fulle shill.” It means: A little and a little make a full dish.

So yeah. In all arenas, slowly but surely, it will all come together. A little bit at a time. I don’t think with the year I’ve had that I could handle more than a little bit at a time anyway. So it’s all working out nicely.

Onward to the Emmys!

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