Actress Jennifer Beals

If watching Jennifer Beals in Flashdance doesn’t make you want to quit your job and pursue a career in dancing, then all we have to say is this: “You can’t sit with us!” As children, we donned leg warmers and danced around in our bedrooms to “What a Feeling” more times than we’d care to admit, so getting to interview Jennifer Beals this week was like fulfilling a childhood dream (We’re also big fans of her current show, The Night Shift) We chatted with Beals about why she says to choose happiness, what her last meal would be, and a love for steel cut oats. She also told us to always make sure our fly is zipped which, we must say, is pretty good advice…

What would be your ideal food day?

First be grateful that you have food. If you really stop and think about all the conditions that it took to grow the vegetables, to transport the goods, to place it in stores, and to have the income with which to buy the food, it’s really kind of miraculous.

A day that involves steel cut oats in the morning, my husband’s Shrimp Etouffee and yams is always good.

In terms of diet and wellness, how do you practice beauty from the inside out?

Laugh; I’m sillier than I’ve ever been…which for those who know me is saying a lot. Meditation; I try to pay attention to heart health with supplements and exercise. One in three women die from heart disease.

What’s the best advice and the worst advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received was from my mother: Always ask. The worst they can say is no. I don’t remember the worst advice because I probably ignored it.

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?

If I knew it would be my last meal I wouldn’t be eating. I’d be doing other things – preferably with my family.

What is your favorite workout? 

I like to rotate my workouts, but I love to swim. That being said, I’m enjoying being on a bit of a yoga bender right now.

How do you always start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast?

My go-to breakfast is steel cut oats with flax seed oil, chia seeds, and a dollop of honey mixed with a yam if there’s any leftover in the fridge from the previous night’s dinner. Yogurt with honey, flax seed oil, and pomegranate seeds is pretty delicious too. My absolute favorite is a traditional Japanese breakfast.

What’s your advice to women getting up, looking in the mirror, and getting dressed in the morning?

 Make the bed. Choose happiness. Know that every single person that you meet today knows something you don’t. Learn…and make sure your pants are zipped.

What is a beauty mainstay that hasn’t changed since your Flashdance days? 

Water. Sex. Sleep. Yams.

What are your favorite food cities? What restaurants do you go to in each?

My favorite food cities are New Orleans, Nashville and Albuquerque. I like Nola in New Orleans, Josephine in Nashville, and Farm and Table in Albuquerque.

You didn’t like X until you tried Y…

I didn’t like Hot Yoga until I tried a great class at Hot Yoga in Downtown Albuquerque. Practicing hot yoga while it’s 90+ degrees outside becomes an oddly pleasurable penitente experience.

In the same vein as what’s the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato for you right now?

Turquoise rings…did I mention I love New Mexico?

Also see our interviews with actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Katie Holmes

*Jennifer Beals, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann