By Gigi Bors-Koefoed
The illustrious performer, Broadway royalty, Emmy and Tony award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth is living life to the fullest! With her marriage to Josh Bryant and her exciting new Broadway production, The Queen of Versailles, Kristin graciously shares details with Southern Bride Magazine. Her latest book, I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, blends wit and wisdom and offers a refreshing perspective on embracing life with a radiant smile. Life is Good!
Photo Credit: Benfield Photography
SB: Kristin, congratulations on your recent marriage. As you were the self-proclaimed George Clooney of bachelorettes, when did you know you were ready to say forever to Josh?
K: I met Josh and thought, ‘Why would I ever let this guy go?’ I’m so blessed. He is genuinely a good man. He’s my best friend. I knew it was the right decision for me.
SB: What is your favorite pastime/activity with Josh?
K: We both love music, of course. We love to play songs. We love to write music together. And we love true crime documentaries. Being together is a favorite pastime when you are married to your best friend.
SB: What is your wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?
K: If you’re busy and on the go like us, get a wedding planner. We made the best decision by hiring Crystal Frasier and her team. Also, enjoy the moments! The whole process flies by.
K: There’s a misconception about me that it’s all rainbows and unicorns every day, but it’s not. I wrote this book during COVID-19, where I navigated loss, sickness, and other issues, just like a lot of people. I needed to practice the things I wrote about in this book. And when I reread it the other week, I was like, “We need to practice what we preach,” including myself!
SB: What are some of your favorite books/authors?
K: I am a huge fan of Reba McEntire’s new book, Not That Fancy, and my pal John Stamos’ new book, If You Would’ve Told Me. I love to see my friends venture out into the literary field. We’re all storytellers in this business; this is another way to tell them.
SB: You have a new Broadway role, how exciting! Once again, you have partnered with composer Stephen Schwartz for the new Broadway musical, The Queen of Versailles. Can you tell us about your preparation process for a rigorous musical performance?
K: Broadway is no joke. It’s eight shows a week. I have a different routine when I do Broadway than when I’m on the road doing my concert tour. We’re still in workshops and figuring out our next steps for Queen of Versailles. I will just say how excited I am for the future of this piece and how amazing it is to be back in the room with Stephen Schwartz on a new musical and join forces with Lindsey Ferrentino, Michael Arden & Bill Damaschke.
SB: What is your character Jacqueline Siegel like, and how much input did you have in creating or defining the newly written character?
K: If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend watching the documentary The Queen of Versailles to understand her. But what I love about telling Jackie’s story on stage is that we get to meet her before she filmed the documentary and follow her once the cameras go away. She is constantly fighting to protect her family and her daughter’s legacy. She is a kind person, and she is just doing her best – like so many are.
Photo Credit: Benfield Photography
SB: Recently you have revealed your struggle with Chronic Migraines. When did you start having migraines, and how did it affect your life?
K: I have been living with Chronic Migraine for most of my adult life. I had my first migraine attack at just 25 years old in the middle of my performance with the Virginia Symphony. The migraine attacks became more frequent, and I received my official Chronic Migraine diagnosis – meaning I was having 15 or more headache days a month, each lasting four or more hours.
SB: You have stated Botox helps you manage migraines. What remedies have you tried before BOTOX for Chronic Migraine?
K: I tried several different treatments before finding a treatment plan that works for me, which includes BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine every 12 weeks. I’m truly grateful for treatment with BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine, which can prevent headaches and migraine attacks before they even start – on average, 8 to 9 headache days and migraine/probable migraine days a month (compared to 6 to 7 for placebo) in clinical studies. In addition to BOTOX® treatment, I’ve also learned how to identify my triggers like stress, flying, working too many hours, and diet, and how I can manage them – as much as possible, of course. Bright lights can also be a trigger, so it may look funny, but I wear sunglasses everywhere. Additionally, I avoid alcohol and eat a low-salt diet.
SB: Any advice to those apprehensive about using BOTOX for Chronic Migraine?
K: It’s essential to fi nd a doctor you can be open and honest with, who listens carefully to your needs and is willing to work with you to find a treatment plan. My doctor and I discussed what to expect during the treatment and, for me, the injections feel like tiny pinches, and they take about 10 minutes. In fact, my doctor is near some of my favorite stores so, when I can, I take advantage of being in that neighborhood for some shopping a er my appointment.
SB: What is your health and beauty routine?
K: I’m learning a lot about self-care om the younger generation. I’ve gone on a low-sodium diet. I drink crazy amounts of water with electrolytes, which also helps my throat with singing. I’m trying to get better, more restful sleep. Meditation has become prominent for me in the past year. I am one of those people that never stop. I still don’t stop, but I do make time for meditation. I also try to go without make-up whenever I’m not working. Chapstick and an eyelash curler can go a long way, honey!
SB: You have partnered with AbbVie to educate others on possible migraine treatments. How did your partnership with AbbVie come about?
K: The opportunity to work with AbbVie on the Center Stage with Chronic Migraine program felt like a timely and meaningful way to bring this debilitating disease to center stage alongside others who live with Chronic Migraine.
Photo Credit: Benfield Photography
SB: How did you prepare for your wedding while living with Chronic Migraine?
K: It’s no secret that wedding planning is stressful, or that stress can be a trigger for migraine attacks. For me, I found that keeping up with my migraine treatment routine, which includes BOTOX, and paying attention to my triggers allowed me to manage my Chronic Migraine as best as possible while preparing for my wedding. In addition to BOTOX treatment, I’ve also learned my triggers like stress, flying, working too many hours, and diet, and how I can manage them – as much as possible, of course. Bright lights can also be a trigger, so it may look funny, but I wear sunglasses everywhere. Additionally, I avoid alcohol and eat a low-salt diet. I also made sure to lean on my support system as much as possible and take time for myself on a regular basis, on top of the time I already set aside for my BOTOX appointments to manage my Chronic Migraine!
SB: If you were seeing a new neurologist, what would your ‘migraine elevator pitch’ include?
K: Over the years, I’ve found that the most productive conversations I have with my doctor are when I am open and honest about how debilitating my migraine attacks can be and how devastating it is for me to miss work and important life events because of this disease. Sharing that there have been times when I wasn’t able to do what I love because of a migraine attack and talking to my doctor about my passion for performing really helped them to understand my treatment goals and determine which treatment options might work best for me. I’ve found that it’s most important to prioritize transparency and what is driving you to manage your Chronic Migraine when seeing a new healthcare provider.
SB: Were you ever not believed for having a migraine attack?
K: Chronic Migraine is a disease that can’t always be seen, but it’s always there. I think that’s one of the biggest struggles for me – educating people that Chronic Migraine is more than just a headache. It’s serious. There have been times when I’ve been on the floor, unable to move, vomiting, and unable to go out on stage. There have been people and colleagues in my life who just get it, and some that don’t. I remember being in the dressing room before a show with the lights off and a towel over my head. My dressing room partner immediately recognized that I had Chronic Migraine because I was in the same exact position as her mother, who would frequently get migraine attacks. She did everything possible to make me feel comfortable. Meanwhile, my director at the time just kept saying, “you’ll figure it out” and did not truly understand what I’m going through. Over the years, I’ve tried to power through, but sometimes you need to take time for yourself. And for me, that’s the hardest part. I don’t want this next generation to feel like they always need to “tough it out” either.
K: There have been times when I wasn’t able to do what I love because of a migraine attack. As a performer, I’m always thinking about that little girl in the audience who is in New York City to see a Broadway show for the first time. She deserves my 100%, and I feel guilty if I am not able to give that to her. Over the years, I’ve learned how powerful it is to be open about your disease. When I am working with a team for a prolonged period of time, I open up about my Chronic Migraine diagnosis and my plan to avoid triggers. It feels so freeing to talk about my condition. Now, I’m continuing to share my Chronic Migraine story to empower others who may be experiencing Chronic Migraine symptoms to talk to a doctor to find a treatment plan that works for them.
SB: What advice would you give to people currently living with migraine that don’t yet have a diagnosis? How should they advocate for themselves as they continue their migraine journey?
K: It’s so important to not give up on yourself or your treatment journey, no matter how discouraged you might feel. The road to being diagnosed with Chronic Migraine can be challenging. It’s important to empower yourself to trust that there are doctors and treatment options out there that might help you. So, as you prepare for your doctor’s appointment to discuss potential treatment options, consider taking note of your triggers, tracking your symptoms and writing a list of questions for your doctor so that you can have an open and honest conversation about your Chronic Migraine and treatment goals.
To keep up with Kristin, visit https://officialkristinchenoweth.com/