On the UPN drama Kevin Hill, actress Michael Michele is Jessie Gray, a single mom who gives up her high-powered job to open her own law firm so she can spend more time with her child. In real life, Michele is preparing for her new role as a first-time mom, with a baby due in January. While she’s not planning to give up acting, she is excited about the major life change ahead. We talked with Michele after a long day on the set of the show.
Has your pregnancy been easy or difficult so far?
I haven’t had a lot of symptoms like morning sickness. But I was extremely tired in the first trimester—it was “give-me-a-bed-wherever-I-am-and-allow-me-to-lie-down” exhaustion. As cliché as it may sound, I believe I was able to manage it because I have been so diligent about nutrition and exercise. There was no way to function at work otherwise.
What are you doing to stay as fit and energized as possible? I began working with a trainer for the first time. I’ve been a long-distance runner for 15 years and have taken Pilates for four years, so I thought I could just continue my athleticism through my pregnancy. But I quickly realized I needed to modify my regimen with the expertise of someone with a prenatal background. I’ve been going to the gym two to four times a week, spending a lot of time on the treadmill and working with light weights to strengthen my back.
Did you change your diet as well?
I started eating smaller meals more frequently, and making sure I ate lots of vegetables and fruit as well as protein with my carbohydrates at breakfast. But I certainly am not perfect. When I want cake or chocolate chip cookies, I make them. I find I crave salt, cheese and potato chips, but, of course, those things have to be eaten in moderation. Women shouldn’t use pregnancy as an excuse to be sedentary and eat an overabundance of bad food. I think it’s a myth that one can eat whatever they want when pregnant.
Do you have a plan for getting through labor? I am not going to try to be a hero. If I need an epidural, I’m taking it. Thank God there are safe drugs we can take. Naturally, I’m worried about it because the first pregnancy is always a big question mark. But I believe in staying positive and not imagining the worst.
How has being pregnant changed your outlook or lifestyle? All of a sudden, I’m thinking about my child’s needs first. I’ve moved around from city to city, but now I will lay down roots and won’t be as willing to jump on a plane on a whim. My mother and father have been married for many years, and they were always very present in my life. I could never be an absentee mother. At first, a part of me didn’t believe that Jessie Gray would leave her big Park Avenue firm to start her own so she could scale back for her child. Now I get it.