Interview with MOLLY McCOOK | I am Consciously Breathing to Connect with my Inner Self
We all think around 60000 – 70000 thoughts every day, and most of them are the same or similar. Thoughts become beliefs, they shape our perspective and trigger emotions that indicate on which direction we are focused. When we want to soothe our thoughts and slow them down, the best practice is to go to a place of no to little thoughts. Meditative state or in other words, conscious breathing is a sign of life, and by taking deliberate control over it our awareness naturally raises. As a result, instead of thinking thoughts, we will start receiving them.
This practice can be done at any given moment. Comfortably seating down, close your eyes and focus on your breathe in and breathe out. After a few minutes of doing this, you will start feeling relief. Meditation brings us to a state of stillness creating the space for new thoughts and creative ideas to be received. By consciously breathing, you will tune into the dance of energies that create worlds flowing to and through your physical body, a pleasant sensation that will benefit you, and by your vibrant presence others.
When we asked artist Molly McCook, who can be seen as Mandy Baxter on FOX series Last Man Standing, about her inner practice to re-connect with herself, she said: “Breathing. As simple as that sounds. A type of meditation.”
In this insightful interview with Molly, you will discover more about her process of becoming Mandy, her other artistic expressions, as well the benefits of joy and believing in herself.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Molly McCook?
I am a Los Angeles native who grew up with a wonderful, loving family. At a very young age, I was confident in who I was: A girl who is equally as passionate about her loved ones as she is about performing. Nothing could keep me from pursuing the life of an artist. I’m an actress, a singer, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, and a wife. Excited for life but doing my best to stay present-day by day.
- Like every human being, we feel our way through life clarifying our preferences and desires. How has this journey been for you when it comes to embracing your love for acting?
I grew up on my dad’s television set and with endless “actor stories” from both my mom and dad. So my introduction to all of it was pretty organic. They helped me find outlets in theatre companies and acting classes. And, thanks to my brilliant brother Jake, a majority of my home videos from my childhood consist mostly of scripts with dialogue as opposed to candid family experiences. My option was then to either run away from it or completely immerse myself in that world. As the years went on and I had more experiences as a working actor, I developed more skills, a deeper love for the craft, and a continued motivation to work hard for what’s next.
- As in any other professional field, the entertainment industry can be challenging. Do you have an inner practice that inspires you to be the best self when you want to manifest a desirable outcome?
Breathing. As simple as that sounds. A type of meditation. I need to find a peaceful place in order to be centered. Ironically, I usually get around to it because I’m working myself up into a place of anxiety. I light a candle or incense, open a window or door for fresh air, and try to calm my mind. Then I can focus on my desired outcome. The world can make a lot of noise but it’s nothing compared to your own mind. Find peace in knowing that that’s in your control.
- On the FOX series Last Man Standing, you portray Mandy Baxter. How have you embraced your emotional journey during the process of becoming such a big fan-favorite character?
Stepping into this role and job was a substantial shift in my life. I was ecstatic but also felt a massive responsibility to deliver for the sake of the fans and the LMS family. The emotional journey for me has been a wild ride. But the combination of my TV family and my real-life support system has been wonderful. I spend lots of time mainly focusing on the work and often I stop and take it all in with an overwhelming amount of gratitude.
- Have you learned anything new about yourself personally and professionally while playing to be Mandy?
I’m always learning things about Mandy because we’re all constantly developing more history and more stories. But I’m also learning how to bring more of myself into Mandy and how, as an actor, I can make her the most real she can be. We’re on a sitcom, so the constant challenge is to keep our reality while delivering the punch lines. With that comes a lot of lessons for me professionally and personally.
- What does Mandy represent and what core role does she play within the Baxter family?
Mandy represents a real dreamer. She’s taken her dream as a fashion designer and worked hard to make it happen even in what feels like a man’s world. She’s stood her ground and created her own line in the Outdoor Man store. In the Baxter family, Mandy keeps it fun and keeps it real. I think she brings an easy lightness that the family needs sometimes. And she and Kyle share a very optimistic view which is contagious.
- How do the dynamics between the cast and the production team influence the delivery of the show, especially when it’s recorded in front of a live audience?
We all feed off of each other at work. Whether that be our ideas and opinions on the stories provided that week, or a goofy energy and we can’t stop laughing. Our LMS bubble is highly influential when it comes to our delivery day to day, especially on our show nights. It’s exciting to work off of the energy of the audience. We pre-tape without an audience on Mondays and there are some scenes we feel are practically useless to tape the day before because we know the audience is our missing puzzle piece.
- Beyond being a fun show to watch, what important messages and awareness do you think the show brings to its audience?
Every episode comes with an important message. Mike Baxter literally delivers it to the camera every week. I think that makes what we do special. Knowing that a family can sit down and watch the show together and end it on an uplifting, but realistic message. We really cover everything. We’ve dealt with loss, pregnancy, miscarriage, business education, politics, sibling fights, relationship difficulties, etc. It’s a real family and real issues.
- One of your other passions is singing and music. How do you feel when your voice flows through you becoming one with music?
I’ve always had a connection to music. I find it such a powerful way to make you feel different emotions and immediate nostalgia. I can feel that listening to it and even more so when I’m singing. Maybe that’s also the actor in me. But every song has a story and it’s your responsibility to deliver it when you sing it.
- How does your perception about yourself and the world around you affect the way you experience your existence?
The root of my perception of the world is based on my view of myself, which is constantly changing. When I have moments of imbalance, my experiences aren’t great. I’m very lucky to be so in touch with myself and where I’m at emotionally. I’m not saying that I don’t lose track of that every once and a while, but I definitely know when it’s time to recharge and rebalance in order to achieve better days.
- Are you involved in any humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
I’ve become involved with Covenant House California. It’s an extraordinary organization that provides shelter, education, medical attention, etc. to homeless youth. Last year, I hosted a Christmas Concert to raise money for the organization and am continuing to fundraise throughout the year. Homelessness is a very real and heartbreaking issue, especially now. And to focus on helping the youth that has so many years ahead of them is a beautiful thing. I’m in awe of the endless and powerful things they provide for them.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
Living your life through joy is the most important thing you can do. Do things that bring you joy. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy. A home that brings you joy. Find joy in your job, if you can. Through joy, you will spread happiness and live a good life. You can manifest the life you dream of, with the power of positive thinking.
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words from the teachings by Abraham-Hicks, what is your take on such a statement?
Words that I stand by are, “You are in control of your life”. I find that we become fearful of the unknown, of the unpredictability of life, but your actions and your way of thinking is all within your reach and in your control. Write things out, no matter how ridiculous you think they seem. Discuss ideas with friends and family. Make lifelong to-do lists for yourself. No goal is impossible. And believe that!