Star Moms—Elaine Cassidy

The actress's Irish eyes are smiling about having a baby


Our August/September 2009 cover model, Irish actress Elaine Cassidy, played Abby on CBS’s Harper’s Island this past spring. Married to actor/producer Stephen Lord, Cassidy also appeared in the music video for Coldplay’s song, “The Scientist,” as well as the feature film The Others (2001) and U.K. television shows “Fingersmith” and “Uncle Adolf.” The couple are expecting their first child in early fall. We interviewed Cassidy after our cover photo shoot.

Q: You look amazing. How are you feeling? A: Amazing! I feel kind of guilty because I haven’t had much sickness or anything at all. A couple weeks ago I had to lie in bed for a half-hour because I ate too much pizza and felt kind of queasy, but I can’t really blame the pregnancy for that. It should be a time you can enjoy, so I’m glad I have been able to.

Q: Have you had any cravings? A: I seem to want foods from my childhood: fresh orange juice – and it has to be fresh – eggs, cheese, yogurt. And Irish breakfast, which is sausage, eggs, rashers, mushrooms, black and white pudding, grilled tomatoes and hash browns.

Q: Black and white pudding? A: It’s a kind of blood pudding. Rashers is bacon.

Q: What about aversions? A: It’s weird: I can smell things I never smelled before—the other day I woke up and could smell my neighbor’s toast and laundry. Candles are too intense right now.

Q: How’s your prenatal diet? A: I normally eat really healthy food, but I find it tougher to eat the foods I usually look forward to, such as fish and vegetables; it’s just taking more of an effort. I’m much more drawn to dairy and meat. I still enjoy fruit and I take a prenatal vitamin.

Q: Are you exercising? A: I have been trying to get my walks in every day. It’s so much easier in Los Angeles than in Ireland and England, where it’s more likely to rain.

Q: How did it feel to pose for our cover? A: It felt really special, because it’s not just me posing. The baby and I did this together. It’s a kind of keepsake that we will be able to tell the baby about. I’m hopeless when it comes to taking photos. We took some amazing pictures on our honeymoon and I did something to the camera and they all got deleted. So it’s nice to have this.

Q: What do you like/dislike about being pregnant? A: Talk to me in two months; I’ll probably be saying “Enough already,” but I like that you can indulge a bit more, and I love sleeping.

Q: Have you always wanted kids? A: When I was younger, like 10 years old, I was freaked out by the idea of having a child. It was strange, when I didn’t need to bother thinking about that. But, it seemed like what people expected you to do, and I thought, “No, I don’t want that responsibility.” Then my sisters started having children, and my broodiness came out. I could see that they survived it and I could see how much fun it is. Hard work, too—God, the sleep deprivation is a form of torture. And I realized there was no way I could go through life and not have a child. But in my business you can’t really plan for taking time out, and it’s daunting: What if people forget about me? You just have to give over control and trust that it will all be OK. And I am excited and glad; I never took for granted that I would be able to have a baby.

Q: Will you take lots of time off? A: That’s something I’m going to think about, I am not sure what my mind will be—I might just say, all I want is to stay with this beautiful bundle; but if the right job came along, I might come back sooner.

Q: You seem to be drawn toward roles in thrillers, such as Harper’s Island, Felicia’s Journey, Uncle Adolf. A: I like to play characters that are very far away from my own personality. I do get drawn to the dark side because my life is very happy, there’s no drama in my real life. Last year, I did a romantic comedy called Little White Lies that was fun; it’s nice to not be typecast, and to be able to switch around. Period pieces can be great, but also restrictive. Harper’s was interesting because it starts out casual and gets more intense.

Q: You’ve played pregnant women in your movies, specifically Felicia’s Journey—how does this relate to what you’ve played, or seen, in movies? A: I have played pregnant women since then, too. In Uncle Adolf, I played Hitler’s half-niece. The thing is neither character gets to have the baby, so I never had to go into labor for the roles, so I’ll be doing my research now.

Q: Your husband, Stephen, seems very excited about all aspects of your pregnancy. What kind of father do you think he’ll be? A: I think he’ll be amazing. We both know it’s a big responsibility, but I also know we’ll have fun being parents. But we’ve been watching Supernanny and we are well aware that simple things suddenly get very complicated. And Stephen really is excited; he wants it to happen tomorrow. He has been so supportive. He’s great with our nieces and nephews; he loves to laugh, and you can tell he does not feel left out. He’s also loved the alteration in my body. During that early stage when you just feel like you are putting on weight, he was just great with the reassurance. For me he’s the best.

Q: Are you scared of the delivery part? A: Not really, but maybe that will come later. I just keep thinking—it’s been going on since the beginning of time so I see it as a challenge and one I have to get through. I’m interested to see how I cope. It’s almost like when you take on a job, if you look at the whole picture, it could freak you out, so you just go scene by scene—it makes it doable.

Q: What are your plans for the baby’s birth? A: Well, I’m not quite sure where I’ll be—here in L.A., or in Ireland, London or Manchester. The thing about the States is that the services here are unbelievable. They really take good care of you. I’ve heard the pros and cons about epidurals and gas, but since it’s my first time, I want to stay flexible and open to what works at the time. My sister didn’t get an epidural, and the day after she had the baby she looked like she could pop on down to the shops. I will try to breastfeed. When the midwife I saw in England explained that right after the baby’s born they put him on your tummy and let him crawl up to get the milk – I mean, how can you deny that? I’ve just got to do what’s best.