Mayim Bialik is banking on herself to thrive in Hollywood as a lead.
The “Big Bang Theory” alum and real-life neuroscientist, who joined the series in 2010 as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in the season three finale, knew her entire life that she wanted to become an actress.
However, Bialik’s life path would throw her curveballs, and some seven years after breaking out as an actress in the 1988 musical drama “Beaches,” at the age of 12, Bialik removed herself from the Hollywood eye simply because she wanted to have “an experience of being appreciated for what was inside and not just sort of what I could offer people.”
“I was 19 when I left the industry and I was away for 12 years,” the 44-year-old actress told reporters on Wednesday during a virtual panel for FOX’s Winter Press Tour. “I got my degree and I had my two sons and I taught neuroscience for about five years after getting my degree. And the God’s honest truth is I was running out of health insurance and I went back to acting so that I could literally just get enough insurance to cover my toddler and my infant. And I had never seen the ‘Big Bang Theory.'”
Bialik, speaking to promote her new four-camera sitcom “Call Me Kat” due out in 2021, said the series is a means for her to fully encompass herself in a role that shows a woman who is “owning all of herself.”
The show, written by Darlene Hunt, centers on a 39-year-old Cat Café owner who struggles every day against society and her mother to prove that one can’t have everything, and still be happy.
“What we’ve created is a woman who includes everyone in her world because that’s what makes her world interesting and colorful,” Bialik, who is an executive producer alongside Hunt and “Big Bang Theory” counterpart Jim Parsons, said on the panel about the series’ style of breaking the fourth wall.
She continued: “And sometimes those are people that exist and sometimes they’re people that don’t exist, and sometimes it’s people who exist in different ways than they actually exist so that it fits better [for] her worldview. But we really see that we’re including the audience. They’re in on her jokes. They’re in on her experiences because that’s how she views the world. Everyone’s a part of it.”
“Call Me Kat” is loosely based on the BBC program “Miranda,” and the Phoebe Waller-Bridge Emmy-winning show “Fleabag,” and while Parsons understands the comparisons, he believes the distinctions between the programs will set it apart.
“I feel like until you see the other show, it is on paper easier to make these comparisons, but it’s just completely its own beast,” he said. “It’s its own machine and so much of that has to do with the way Darlene has taken the source material and turned it into something that speaks very deeply from her own heart but also is very much being built around Mayim.”
Added Parsons: “Mayim is so distinct as an actor, but also as a human being, that to build the show around somebody like that, to me it doesn’t matter how many similarities there are or aren’t to any other show, it’s going to be its own thing. So I understand the comparisons, but I don’t feel them when I’m watching this show at all.”
In 2009, Bialik was featured on an episode of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and it was during that stretch of time that Bialik said she was pulled back into television – and eventually a guest-role on “Big Bang Theory.”
“It was just after I got my doctorate. I was really out of the industry and it’s not a complete surprise that they literally ambush you,” she quipped of her experience on the makeover series. “I didn’t know when it was happening, but I knew that I had been flown to New York and that it was going to happen. And what’s interesting about that is, [at the time] I had a toddler and a newborn.”
“I think my son was like nine months old when I filmed ‘What Not to Wear’ and I had long hippie-chick hair all the way down on my back,” she described. “And I literally didn’t even know what size clothing I was because I had just been a grad student – you put on whatever is laying around. And I was completely out of any pop culture awareness of anything which most of the cast would probably say I still am, but it was ‘What Not to Wear’ that had me cut off nine inches of my hair. I had my eyebrows tweezed for the first time in my life… and it was that [show] that really got me technically back into the industry.”
In joining “Big Bang,” Bialik described the moment as “coming into the last semester of the last year of high school at a new school where you knew no one and there wasn’t even a locker left.”
Actress Mayim Bialik is a real-life neuroscientist and left acting for a period of time to chase her passion of teaching.
(Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
“I had no idea my life was about to change … over the course of that first year of being a recurring character on ‘Big Bang Theory,’” she admitted, adding that at the time, being a teacher had become harder to do while acting.
“What Chuck Lorre said to me was, ‘as long as there’s television, it seems like people want to put your face on it,’” she added while explaining that when she joined the cast, she was still nursing her newborn while on set.
Fast-forward to today, Bialik said she and the “Call Me Kat” cast are simply happy they can get back to work filming the show and that their chemistry couldn’t be better.
“Besides the fact that we also are just so excited to be working and not in our houses anymore, we have material and we have characters that we all love to play with. And it’s definitely a learning curve for us,” she said. “We’re learning each other. We’re learning the system that works best for all of us. But it is a lot more pressure for me personally, I’ll say that.”
Mayim Bialik opened up about her new series ‘Call Me Kat.’
Bialik maintained that working on “Call Me Kat” has “been just such a joy. I’ve never had a job like this. I can absolutely say that.”
“My time on the ‘Big Bang Theory’ was fantastic and life-changing. And my time on ‘Blossom’ was fantastic and life-changing,” she added. “But the way that we get to work and these actors that you see and our writers and just this whole team has made this for me personally, the greatest job I’ve ever had. And even that includes being a mother because that’s really rough most days.”
“But now my kids are 12 and 15 and this is where we all get to be together. And it’s a really blessed place to be.”