Mayim Bialik’s transformation is really a head-turning sight
Mayim Bialik has undergone quite the transformation during her time in the entertainment industry. While many fans might know her as Sheldon Cooper’s scientist wife Amy on The Big Bang Theory, Bialik has actually been in front of the camera for most of her life.
Bialik began her career with guest roles on classic TV shows, such as The Facts of Life and Webster. She also portrayed a young Bette Midler in the 1988 tearjerker Beaches. However, the actress ultimately rose to stardom when she landed the title role in Blossom, the 1990s sitcom that followed the adventures of the spunky Blossom Russo, the youngest of three siblings living with their divorced father. Bialik picked up diverse acting gigs as she transitioned from child to adult actress, but she did not focus her life around just acting. In fact, Balik is also a successful blogger and neuroscientist who graduated with a doctorate degree from UCLA (per PBS). It looks like Bialik and her Big Bang character have more in common than we thought!
In addition to being a woman with many skills, Bialik is the mother of two sons, Frederick and Miles, whom she shares with her ex-husband of 10 years, Michael Stone. As both an actress and scientist, Bialik has accomplished more than most throughout her life thus far. In fact, she seems to have effortlessly intertwined her passions with her career and personal life. That’s what makes Mayim Bialik’s transformation such a head-turning sight. Let’s take a closer look.
Mayim Bialik's first passion was her heritage
Mayim Bialik was born in 1975 to two immigrant parents who raised her in California and taught her to follow their Jewish faith. The family identified with Reform Judaism, which is a less strict branch of the religion. While her parents were never super strict with religion, Bialik was heavily influenced by her family’s heritage. “Three of my four grandparents are immigrants to this country, and my mom was raised Orthodox, but left Orthodoxy when she was a teenager,” she told The Jerusalem Post in 2012. “There were some remnants of my mom’s Orthodoxy, but for the most part we were a traditional Reform family,” Bialik added. All in all, Bialik said that being part of this congregation was “a very positive experience.” Bialik’s admiration of her Jewish roots greatly influenced her and, in college, she minored in Hebrew and Judaic studies. After falling in love with Hebrew grammar, she also studied Yiddish for a year.
While Bialik’s upbringing in Reform Judaism gave her lifelong faith, her parents were most concerned with teaching her the importance of hard work. Even while she was a teenager with a full-time job acting on Blossom, Bialik told Edge Magazine in 2019 that her family still made her do chores. “A lot of teenagers at 15 get to be considered legal adults if they’re in the acting world — my parents didn’t do that,” she recalled. And that ethic likely contributed to her long-term success.
Mayim Bialik didn't think she'd make it as an actress because of her 'ethnic' look
While reflecting on how she broke into the entertainment industry, Mayim Bialik admitted she loved acting in school plays as a kid, but she never had dreams of becoming a star. “There are so many talented people in this industry, the chances of succeeding are so rare,” she told Edge Magazine in 2019. “I didn’t see any of that. It really just happened very quickly.”
Everything might have suddenly fallen into place for Bialik, but for a while, it did not seem like that would ever happen. Bialik was very aware that she did not have the heavily sought after “All American” look casting directors craved in the 1980s. Thus, instead of getting cast in commercials like many other kids her age, she had to approach things differently. “I’ve always had prominent features and I’ve always looked ethnic, so I ended up doing a lot of character roles,” she explained. “That’s why there are things like Pumpkinhead on my résumé, because as a young character actress you do quirky things instead of generic commercials.”
Directors saw past her look and cast her in Blossom in 1990, where she would grow up in front of the cameras for five years. “I read the Blossom script and it was the first script I had ever read where I laughed out loud,” she told Yahoo! Entertainment in 2016. It seems like she got the role of her teenage dreams.
Mayim Bialik avoided the dark side of Hollywood as a child star
Mayim Bialik was able to stay clear of the dark side of Hollywood that has unfortunately caused many child stars to have a rough transition to adulthood. Paired with her parents’ watchful eye, Bialik said she was fortunate to grow up in such a good environment on Blossom as a teen. “I think I was also really lucky that on the Blossom set I was 14 to 19 years old, and I never saw anyone drinking or doing drugs. They had a very clean set, and I think that’s really important,” she told Edge Magazine in 2019.
Bialik also admitted she had one other thing to keep her busy as a teen and far away from the drugs, alcohol, and parties that become readily available to teens in Tinseltown: science. When interviewed by Nova for PBS in 2012, she was asked how she escaped the “sad fate of most child stars.” Bialik replied, “Do you want the quick answer to that? Science!” She added that she always had a fascination with science, but thought that she was not cut out for it. However, her 10th grade biology tutor opened up her mind to the possibility of working in the field, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mayim Bialik has accomplished more than you might think
Mayim Bialik decided to pursue science after high school and took a break from acting, receiving both her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from UCLA. She loved teaching science while conducting research, but she realized she enjoyed staying home with her family more. “Being a research professor seemed like what I wanted to do,” Bialik told The Guardian in 2015. “But once I had my first child I realized how much time I wanted to be with him.” With that in mind, Bialik started homeschooling her children.
She then decided to give acting another shot, not realizing she would land a major role on what would become an ever-popular Emmy award-winning television show. Regardless of her success, she says being a mom is her main job. “I’m very happy to return to acting and to be acting again, but my heart is still as a mom,” she explained to Edge Magazine. “That’s how I think of myself primarily, as a mom with two kids.”
Bialik is still heavily involved with advocacy for STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math). Most recently, she has taken up advocating for cats through her comedy series called Call Me Kat, alongside her former Big Bang Theory co-star and on-screen love interest Jim Parsons, which is about a woman who opens up a cat café. From child actress to neuroscientist, to a combination of both, Mayim Bialik has certainly weaved her passions together in a way that gives her life great meaning. What a transformation!
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