Elizabeth Banks is a chameleon on screen, going from her spotlight-stealing performances in 30 Rock to her practically unrecognizable, big-haired character, Effie, in The Hunger Games. But in real life, she's a wife, a mom and an actress who looks for the best projects to take on.
Banks is also co-producer of her latest film, Pitch Perfect, which comes out in October. In it, she plays an ex-member of an a capella group who commentates a competition. But no, we don't get to hear her sing.
Banks was unable to conceive. Her son Felix was carried by a surrogate using her egg and her husband's sperm — but she says that she's done talking about that part of her life. Now, she's more focused on being Mom.
Her secret to balancing her hefty workload (she's been in five movies released this year!) and motherhood? "Build a good village," says Banks.
Banks admits that when her son was born, she had to learn to accept assistance when it's offered and that's made a big difference. "I slowly had to come to terms with that I can’t do everything. It’s very humbling raising a child," says Banks.
"Mostly having a child brings a lot of clarity to your life... I have to have a really good reason to leave him," says Banks.
But really, she actually doesn't do much leaving Felix. Instead, her 18-month-old comes on location with her. So in choosing what she works on, Banks considers how the location will impact his quality of life. "I am now deciding to travel with an 18-month-old," says Banks.
And while she puts in long hours, she says it's not much different than other jobs. "I think a lot of parents work long hours and raise their kids. I got great advice from other actors who are parents," says Banks. "I feel very lucky in that I have a great job for being a mom in that my kids can go to my job with me."
And like most parents, Banks and husband Max Handelman are just doing their best. "There’s always a balancing act but we just make it work as much as we can," says Banks.
Banks grew up the eldest of four kids in Western Massachusetts. She was a Brownie, and later a Girl Scout, something that created many wonderful memories for her. "I did it with my sister and we were very competitive about our badges," laughs Banks, who recalls sewing on her own patches.
"I learned a ton of amazing skills. It’s a really tolerant organization and breeds great friendship and leadership skills," says Banks.
Through her involvement in Scouts, Banks learned to horseback ride and also to dive.
And her favorite Girl Scout cookie? Samoas.
Naturally, when talking about the new limited edition line of Nestle Crunch bars that were created using Girl Scout cookie flavors, Banks favors the Samoas version — called Caramel & Coconut. (Also available are Thin Mint and Peanut Butter Creme.) She suggests using the bars as a DIY sprinkle for ice cream. How? "Bang them up and sprinkle them on ice cream," says Banks. Sales of the bars support the Girl Scouts of America. Sounds decadent, right?
But since they are only here for a limited time, do as Banks says and buy them up and freeze them — that way you will have some to enjoy for a long time to come.
Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com
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