Interview

ICYMI: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Interview

jacqui

Credit: Gilles Toucas

Rise And Shine

With A New Baby And A Daytime Emmy, 2019 Has Already Been A Life-Changing Year For B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

 

Most first-time mothers are understandably nervous about having a baby, but Jacqueline MacInnes Wood had the unique opportunity to learn about motherhood on the job — literally. In April 2018, Steffy gave birth to Kelly. Nine months later, Steffy adopted Phoebe. Prior to that, “I wasn’t really around babies, so I got to learn a lot through them,” says Wood. “I realized they’re a lot more resilient than I thought. Feeding babies and having to burp them, holding them the right way, passing them to another person while supporting [the] neck…. I learned all of that through my show.”

That October, Wood had her own pregnancy news to share, and decided to announce it in grand fashion, with a little help from B&B Executive Producer/Head Writer Bradley Bell, who had scripted a runway walk for Steffy as part of the storyline. “He was ecstatic,” she reports of his response to the baby news. “He was so happy for me. Brad was so supportive and said, ‘If you don’t want to do the fashion show, that’s fine.’ I was still trying to hide my pregnancy but I didn’t want to turn it down. I wanted to announce it in my own way and my own time and once I heard about that fashion show, I thought, ‘Okay, there’s no hiding it now.’ I knew I was going to start popping so I was like, ‘Let’s enjoy this. This is a moment I’ll never forget.’ There were rumors and people wondering anyway, so I might as well announce it in a wild way. I mean, that’s really not surprising for me. So, that’s when I embraced it.”

Though Wood describes a “pretty easy pregnancy,” she didn’t expect to be as front and center on camera post-announcement. “Once I told them I was pregnant, I truly thought, ‘Oh, this is going be a walk in the park now. I’m going be sitting behind a desk for the next five months and it will be easy,’ ” she muses. “Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I remember one scene, I was probably eight months pregnant, and I had these high heels on and had this monologue as I’m walking into the room. I was holding design boards to hide my stomach and we’d hear, ‘Cut. We saw your bump. Hold on. Do it again.’ There were so many hands-on things I never thought I would be doing. It was challenging because we shoot so quickly, and we already have so much dialogue as it is. But, they did a great job hiding it and I was impressed while I was watching the show. They made it work.”

The baby’s delivery, however, was not quite as smooth. “He came, like, three weeks late,” she states. “I was basically 10-and-a-half months pregnant. Good times. I didn’t want to be induced because that’s more time at the hospital. So, I tried to do everything possible to induce myself. I was dancing on the rooftop of CBS. I had the salad that’s supposed to induce you. I ate spicy food. You name it; I did it. Respect to all the moms out there!”

When the time came, “I didn’t know if I had contractions,” she chuckles. “I wasn’t sure. I just kept looking at my husband and then it started coming on stronger. What I do remember is we got in the car and I said, ‘Put on “Salt Shaker” by the Ying Yang Twins,’ which is a booty rap song. We put it on blast. I was in the car with my eyes closed trying to dance because it was the only way.”

Nearly a day later, Rise was born. “The last five hours, there were contractions,” she recalls. “I did a few pushes and he was out. It was good! Meditation was key with me. My mom always told me, ‘Pregnancy is not a sickness. It’s not a disease. Your body can do this.’ Knowing and believing that within myself, I kept saying, ‘My body can do this. I can do this.’ I was very fortunate to have a pretty easy pregnancy and delivery.”

And then had a crash course in motherhood. “You read all the books and you feel him in your arms and everyone leaves the room and you’re like, ‘Okay. Now what?’ ” Wood quips. “My first moment of panic was when we were about to leave the hospital. I was in the wheelchair and we’re about to put him in the car seat and I said, ‘Oh, could you guys help?’ And they said, ‘No.’ I guess for liability reasons? The moment you leave the hospital, you are on your own. That was my first moment of freak-out. And, it was pouring rain that day. We had thunderstorms in L.A., which don’t happen often. The first two days, you know, you keep looking at him like, ‘Are you breathing? Are you alive?’ You just keep doing that, and then you kind of start picking up on their cues. I’m a work in progress. I’m still learning, but you just figure it out day by day.”

Armed with information and advice, she adjusted to her new role. “Once I had him, I was like, ‘Okay, we got this.’ ” she shares. “I felt a lot more comfortable. I had the wonderful women on the show who had kids who taught me stuff in between those [baby] scenes. They all gave me the best tips, so diving into motherhood with my child, I felt more confident. Now, as those babies get older, I’m still learning and preparing for the future [with Rise]. One is eating solids now, so I’m learning her way of eating and how to hold her. I’m learning through the kids on my set!”

At home, the actress has husband Elan as a constant source of support. “I just love watching them together,” she beams of father and son. “It’s opened up another part of his heart. Elan is the most compassionate, kindest man. He’s so in touch with himself, and so present. I’m very excited to watch them grow together. Now, we’re working on no sleep at all but I am reminded that this is such a quick moment. It will go by so fast. My first solo outing was actually the B&B anniversary party, which was eight days after I gave birth. My husband watched Rise, and it was great for them to have one-on-one time so they could bond even more. I got to have fun and let loose — as much as I could — but it was like a week-and-a-half postpartum, so it wasn’t like I was going to do anything crazy. I’m a true believer in balance. I want to be there for my son, but it’s really important to nurture the relationship with my husband. We actually squeezed in one night at Coachella as a date night…. Thank goodness for our moms!”

As Wood looks back on her monumental year, she marvels at all of the changes she’s experienced. “Are you kidding? It’s been an amazing year! Just amazing!” she exclaims. “Becoming a mom? And then walking up on that stage [at the Emmys]? That was surreal! You can totally tell I was not expecting it but I was just so, so happy, and just thrilled beyond belief, just to be in the company of those women! I don’t know if the second half [of 2019] will compare but hey, I’m open [laughs]. I’m up for it! I am just feeling truly blessed right now, and so, so, so grateful.”

 

Just The Facts 

Birthday: April 17

Hails From: Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Spouse In The House: Wood and Elan Ruspoli eloped in July 2018.

And Baby Makes Three: Son Rise Harlan was born March 4, 2019.

In And Out: “I haven’t brought [Rise] to the [B&B] studio yet. They’re all waiting. Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] has been so wonderful. As far as scheduling, they put my scenes back-to-back, so I dive into hair and makeup, go and film and I’m out. Once my scenes and storyline get spread out, then I’ll bring him in.”

Activity Center: “I’m hoping maybe someday we’ll go to dance class together. I might have the kid that says, ‘No, I don’t want to do that,’ but I do go to a lot of hip-hop classes for all ages. I could absolutely bring him one day, if he’s into it.”

Trophy Case: Wood won her first Emmy in May, for Outstanding Lead Actress, and keeps it on a shelf. “Which will have to be moved higher as [Rise] gets older.”

 

Puppy Love

There was one other family member who easily adapted to the new addition: Wood’s beloved pit bull, Ja’mie. “As we’re talking right now, my dog is licking the bottom of his feet,” she relays, despite some critical feedback from fans. “I knew from day one during my pregnancy, and for the rest of my life, there will be judgment no matter what I do,” she sighs. “Let’s say if I wasn’t taking photos with my dog and Rise, it would be, ‘You’re neglecting your dog.’ But if I post photos of them, they’re like, ‘You shouldn’t have a dog around a baby.’ It’s one or the other. I grew up around dogs — and wolves. Animals have always been in my life. My dog is well-trained and I can pick up on cues. She is the sweetest. I knew they were going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. She has been his protector. We went to the beach a few days ago and I put Rise’s feet in the ocean for the first time. My dog hates the ocean. She stays far away from it but when I put his feet in the water, she came running into the ocean. I couldn’t believe it! And, she blocked the wave from him. She stood there and she wouldn’t leave. They have such a wonderful bond.”

Comments