06-2006: Self Magazine


Rebecca Romijn knew she had gained weight, but she wasn't self-conscious about it - until the press began laying into her in the fall of 2004. One paper wondered snarkily if she was "considering being the star in the second season of Fat Actress." Others suggested she was pregnant. Romijn was neither. For the first time since 1991, the year she dropped out of the University of California at Santa Cruz to model, she was taking a breather. Not working much. Not hitting the gym. Not counting calories. What crueler commentators might have labeled her fat period, she refers to as her "period of relaxation."

Newly single after her 2004 split with husband John Stamos, Romijn had fallen for actor Jerry O'Connell, who plays detective Woody Hoyt on NBC's Crossing Jordan. But what was good for the heart, it turned out, was not so good for the abs, butt and thighs. After months of romantic dinners and lazy weekends, Romijn no longer had the body that had landed her on the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue sic times and in the role of Mystique, the all-but-naked blue mutant in the sci-fi thriller X-Men and its sequels.

And that bothered her not a bit. "I was focusing on my personal life for the first time in years and really enjoying myself," says Romijn, who stars in the new WB series Pepper Dennis, about an ambitious TV news reporter in Chicago. "But getting attention from tabloids for my relaxation period was awful and confusing." She had finally settled into a comfortable place in her life - happy with her career, her relationship, her body - only to be criticized. "I'd never felt better emotionally and physically, and yet I was being told I was fat. I thought, This is wat a 32-year-old healthy body is supposed to look like!"

Romijn actually has no idea how much weight she gained - or has since lost. "I haven't owned a scale in years," she says. Weighing herself was too "crazy-making," as she puts it. But Romijn does know that just every report on her weight was highly exaggerated. "During my period of relaxation, one of the tabloids said I went from 125 pounds to 145. Well, when I did my first Sports Illustrated cover [in 1999], which was my very thinnest, I weighed 140. So the numbers don't mean anything."

Romijn did her best to ignore the whispers. In the back of her mind, though, she knew her new, relaxed shape, while perfectly acceptable by any normal standard was, alas, not what the preternaturally sexy Mystique is supposed to look like. Plus, Romijn, now 33, has agreed to appear on the cover of the 2006 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, along with seven other all-star cover models. Talk about pressurse!

So last summer, four months before filming began on X-Men: The Last Stand (hitting screens now), Romijn got serious about dropping the extra pounds. She followed The Zone diet to the letter, altough for a finite period. "I was very strict with it for three months," she says; she ate about 1500 calories a day of lowfat protein, heart-healthy fat and complex "good" carbs such as fruit and vegetables. Though she had been a pilates devotee for seven years and was no fan of weights and gym machines, she knew that to get in shape, she would also have to break a serious sweat, so she started logging an hour a day on an elliptical trainer. To keep the routine from becoming tedious, she and a friend created music mixes for each other to download to their iPods. "You don't know what the music will be, but you know it will be good for working ourt. The surprise makes it fun," Romijn says. "Jerry works out with her iPod, too, so we'll switch off."

Romijn never had any doubt that she would be able to get her body back on track, but she was struck by how the physical transformation affected other parts of her life. Not because she's limmer, but because she's healthier. "My energy is so much better now than it was when I was younger," she says. "When you're eating well, you become very connected to how you feel when you eat the wrong thing. I used to go tho the movies and get a bag of popcorn and a box of Milk Duds and mix it all up. The salty and sweet combinations is so yummy. Now I'll occasionally try to do that, and I walk out of the theater feeling like crap for the rest of the day. It's not worth it."

Having founc her comfort body zone both physically and emotionally Romijn is eager to stay there. She's still logging time on the elliptical trainer, though her sessions now are 30 minutes instead of an hour. She Zones during the week but relaxes her diet rules in the weekend. And she and O'Connell are now engaged - he proposed "on bended knee," Romijn says - which is why she's pleased to be working on a TV show instead of traveling to movie shoots. "I didn't want to be leaving for months at a time," she says. "I just want things to be really easy and peaceful. That's how it's been with Jerry since day one." Romijn says. "I feel like I've found harmony.

Original article: Self 06/2006

In the June issue of SELF, cover girl Rebecca Romijn introduces two of her four dogs, talks candidly about her relationship with Jerry O'Connell and reveals how she got ready to play X-Men's Mystique (yes, the one who wears blue paint and not much more!). But she had lots to say about all of those topics and more. Here's what you won't read in the magazine.

On adopting dog No. 4, Taco

Talk about a Cinderella story. I saw him on the adopt-a-pet segment on Good Day L.A. One day there was this close-up of Taco's face, his little face on my TV set. And I froze it. And I panicked because I have three dogs already. [I was thinking] I don't want to call Jerry yet. I have to work this out in my head, what this means to the house and the other dogs and to us. I called the number on the screen and I'm sure I was the first one to call because only 30 seconds had gone by. I left a message. An hour later I left another message. And after another hour I left another message.

All day long, I was like, Why aren't they calling me back? This dog needs to be rescued! His name was Smokey at the time. Finally at the end of the day I called [my publicist] Lewis. I thought OK, time to pull strings. I hate doing that. I'm not that girl; it's not my style to go pulling celebrity strings. But if they're not calling me back, desperate times call for desperate measures!

[Lewis's assistant] called someone at the station and a couple hours later—this is now 8 o'clock on a Friday night—she called me back and said he's still available. [The woman on Good Day L.A.] had rescued him herself. She had gone down to South Central L.A. to rescue a Rottweiler and saw him tied to the back of a taco truck. His hair was all the way to the ground and completely matted up. She went home and couldn't stop thinking about him and he was still in the same place [when she went back]. Hair full of twigs and leaves and chewed-up gum and cigarette butts. She took him and had him fixed and had his shots and shaved all his hair off and he was this gorgeous little happy animal.

On becoming blue mutant Mystique in the X-Men movies

Having been through it two times before, I knew what I was in for. It's six hours in makeup. When I'm just in the prosthetics I'm OK, but once I get painted that's crazy making, because once I'm sitting around in it it's constantly falling apart. It requires a lot of maintenance. But going in and putting on that costume every morning, that's the job. I get paid to sit around and have blue stuff glued and painted all over me.

It's disgusting! It's airbrushed paint, which can get into your lungs. By the second movie [X2] they got on top of making sure I was in a well-ventilated place. On this one [X-Men: The Last Stand], we all wore gas masks. They had a special Mystique trailer; half of it was ventilated for the painting. [Once the makeup is on] you can go to the bathroom, but nothing's a secret. You leave blue toilet seats behind; everyone knows where you've been!

On her latest gig, the title role in the WB's new series Pepper Dennis

[The character is] a reporter who's juggling her career and her love life and her weird family. The writing appealed to me most. It's so fun—it's fast and furious. I literally have to do tongue twisters to be able to deliver the dialogue: "A box of mixed biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, red leather yellow leather red leather yellow leather red leather yellow leather, the lips the teeth the tip of the tongue, the lips the teeth the tip of the tongue."

On meeting fiancé Jerry O'Connell

The timing was perfect. I wasn't attached to anyone and neither was he. It happened in a really nice, organic way. We became friends, we really had fun. He liked my friends and my friends thought he was really special and he is.

I didn't even get to know his friends at all until way later. In fact...well, I shouldn't tell this story. Oh, maybe I will! I don't think he even told his friends we were dating for a long time. We just kept it as private as possible. We didn't go anywhere in public together. We wanted it to be just ours for as long as possible. It was that precious to us. So he told his friends he was dating a daytime soap opera actress. They kept referring to me as Daytime. When are we going to meet Daytime?

I like the way he proposed. On bended knee, very private and very sweet. It was a Sunday night. No big story, nothing crazy. He's very salt-of-the-earth, Jerry. There's nothing fancy about him. He just keeps it real. When I realized how real he was that's when I realized it would work out for us.

Original article: Self.com

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