One of our favorite roles (aside from Amy Farrah Fowler, of course) is when you played a wise-beyond-her-years CC Bloom in Beaches. Obviously that was decades ago, but what do you think of when you look back at yourself playing such a mature role at a mere 11 years old?
I was 12 actually! I don’t know. I was young. My parents kind of raised me like a New Yorker, so I sort of already had that personality. It wasn’t a big stretch for me to do that character. I didn’t really think about it that much. I had been acting for less than a year. My parents always told me I looked like Bette Midler—I didn’t understand that—but that seemed to be important.
Speaking of Amy Farrah Fowler, you just wrapped up Season 7 of The Big Bang Theory. Is it true that the show is confirmed for three more seasons? If so, does knowing you have only three years left scare or excite you?
Well, it doesn’t mean that we only have three years left. It actually just means that we’ve been picked up for three years. In theory, it can be picked up for more. We simply have a pickup for three years. That may be the end of it, and that’s sort of the weird thing about being an actor. If you’re employed, it’s for a finite period of time with no guarantee for what happens after. It’s not like in the 30’s and 40’s when you got a contract with Sony or MGM. I’m very grateful to know that I have job security for the next three years. Even though it’s fun and exciting, that’s how I pay for health insurance and buy groceries. That’s my job. So it’s nice to know that I have a job for three years. Beyond that, I’m happy for Big Bang to keep going. If not, I will figure out what happens next in my life.
Does your Ph.D. in neuroscience ever come in handy for your role as Sheldon Cooper’s super-smart, neurobiologist girlfriend?
You don’t really have to have a Ph.D. or be a neuroscientist to play one on TV, but I do have a great appreciation for our writers and for all of the intellectual work that goes into our show. But it’s not necessary per se.
The cast has so much chemistry (pun intended). Is it the same way when you’re all off-set; are you all friends in “real life?”
We’re friendly. There are different types of friendships as in any group of seven people, but it’s definitely fun to work together. I’m close with Jim. I’m close with Melissa. I really think Simon is the funniest person around. So yeah, we’re all friendly. I’ve known Johnny since we were about 13. Kunal and I tweet each other!
That’s hilarious! Let’s talk about your writing. Your book, Mayim’s Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours has been highly reviewed, especially in comparison to other celebrity cookbooks. Have you always practiced Veganism within your diet?
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 19, so for about 20 years. I have been vegan for about the last 6 years.