Broadway vet Megan Hilty, star of the TV hit Smash, nominated for a Tony Award for Noises Off, and most recently seen in the movie Rules Don’t Apply, used to think having children wasn’t in her future. Now she’s expecting her second, a son, and answering to ‘Mom’ has become her favorite thing.
On the day of our photo shoot, aside from parenting daughter Viola, 2, working, and being pregnant, Megan Hilty is living amidst packing boxes. She and her musician-actor hubby, Brian Gallagher, are moving the family from Manhattan to Los Angeles before baby number two arrives. Yet Hilty isn’t ruffled. “We make it work, like any parents. Everybody’s just trying to make it work!” she says over a bowl of granola at a bustling New York City breakfast spot. Hilty, 35, was happy to talk about expecting a son before running off—in heels, and over cobblestones, no less!—to pose for our cover. Yeah, she’s that amazing.
How is pregnancy treating you?
“I didn’t have morning sickness either time—knock on wood. Before I had Viola, I thought it was going to be weird to feel a baby moving in my belly. But I love it—even the kicking and punching. Near the end of my last pregnancy, my mom said, ‘You’ll miss her when she’s not in your tummy anymore.’ She was so right.”
Will you work straight through all nine months?
“Yes! I did during Viola’s pregnancy and am doing the same now. I was on a world tour with Brian while expecting Viola, and at every concert we dedicated a song to her and filmed it. Now she can see all the amazing places she went to before being born. We’re hoping to do the same for my son while on tour for my new album, A Merry Little Christmas.”
Are you stressed about moving while pregnant?
“There’s so much happening right now that I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m pregnant!’ You almost forget when there are so many other things going on. It’s funny—with my daughter, I got pregnant in Los Angeles, and we moved to New York. Now we’re doing the opposite with our son.”
What’s inspired you to move to the West Coast?
“I was out there filming my TV Land pilot for The First Wives Club, and we decided it was time to invest in something and put down roots. The baby will be in our room for about a year, and then he and Viola will share a bedroom.”
Do you have a birth plan?
“I hope to do some of the same things I did last time. For instance, it was important to me when Viola was born that they didn’t wash her immediately. I read that the mucus that babies are covered in is really good for their skin, so I wanted it to seep in and not be scrubbed off.”
Will you have music playing during the birth?
“I didn’t last time, but I sang the Rocky theme song between pushes! My doula said, ‘Make sure that you have a good story to tell afterward.’ And we did. It was a beautiful September day, and when it was time to deliver, Brian and I walked to the hospital through Central Park.”
Did you always plan on having two kids?
“We didn’t. To be honest, separately, neither Brian nor I ever thought we were going to have children. I had this idea from childhood that there wasn’t room for parenting and my career, and I chose my career. Thankfully, I was totally wrong.”
What changed your mind?
“Once I met Brian everything changed. It was, ‘Uh-oh, I can’t be away from this person.’ We got married, and immediately it was, ‘Where’s the baby?’ We decided to try and were lucky enough to have Vi. Then we started thinking about how much we love our siblings, and we wanted her to have that."
How are you staying fit?
“I work well with a trainer. That kind of accountability is good for me. I like Pilates, plus Tabata, which is super intense for short amounts of time. With my first pregnancy, I put myself last and then had to do a lot of work to reverse it. I starred in Noises Off, on Broadway, about a year after I gave birth, and I had to run around onstage in my underwear. There’s nothing forgiving about that. I thought, ‘I’m either the craziest person in the world, or the smartest.’ Accepting that role was a major incentive to get to the gym.”
Any parenting pet peeves?
“With Viola, when I took her to classes, a lot of moms and sitters would be on their phones the whole time. That’s not me. I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that adults are totally disengaged.”
So, no broadcasting live from the park?
“I don’t post many photos of my daughter on social. I don’t judge other people for it, but I feel they’re her images to choose what to do with. I’ll e-mail pictures to family, which forces me to engage with them instead of hoping they like my post.”
What’s the bigger thrill: parenting or performing?
I never thought there would be anything better than what I do for a living. Getting applause is awesome, but nothing compares to when I’m playing with my daughter and she’s happy. That’s just the best.”
Megan Hilty's Pregnancy Playlist
Hilty put these on repeat when she was expecting Viola, hoping they’d calm her daughter after she was born. “It absolutely worked!” she says. “Now we’re doing the same for our son.”
1. “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
Says Hilty: “Recently, Viola started singing along."
2. “Goodnight My Someone” from The Music Man
Says Hilty: “I sing this one at bedtime.”
3. "Count Your Blessings" from White Christmas
Says Hilty: “It reminds me to be grateful for what I have.”
4. “Smile” by Nat King Cole
Says Hilty: “It’s a sweet, simple song."
5. "Someone to Watch Over Me” by Ella Fitzgerald
Says Hilty: “It’s never too soon for a child hear that voice.”