Sitting in a nondescript white trailer on the Hollywood lot of her new pilot, Eastwick, Rebecca Romijn is all toothy smile as she adeptly thumbs through photos on her sleek iPhone, doing what every new mom loves to do: share adorable baby pictures. With peachy plump cheeks and expressive little faces, Dolly Rebecca Rose and Charlie Tamara Tulip her 5 month old twin daughters with her husband of nearly two years, Jerry O'Connell are scrumptious.
"They are yummy, aren't they?" coos Romijn of the girls, who already, she explains, have completely different personalities. Dolly is "all baby" and "wants to have one on one relationships with people,' Charlie, on the other hand, is "always looking around. She can't wait to be out of this baby body because she's got a lot to do." As for whether they take after Mom or Dad: "Dolly looks just like me, and Charlie looks just like Jerry. We got one of each."
With the family resemblance, it makes sense that Charlie is named after O'Connell's older brother. Dolly, however, is the namesake of one of Romijn's lifelong idols: the one and only Dolly Parton. They met at Dollywood, Parton's theme park in Tennessee, when Romijn was five months pregnant. "Dolly asked me what I was going to name them, and I said,'I'm sort of thinking about Dolly for one of them,' not knowing how she'd react," recalls Romijn. "And she said,'I would be so honored. Oh, please, please, please, will you? I never had children of my own. At a concert later that night, the singer dedicated the tune "Little Sparrow" to Romijn and the girls. The deal was sealed. "It was so emotional," Romijn says now, tearing up. "I was an absolute puddle."
Since giving birth to her twins a few days after Christmas, the main emotion Romijn has felt is simple, unadulterated joy. For the model turned actress, being a mom is "every cliche I can think of," she says swooning, sliding back on the couch to get more comfortable. At a towering 5 feet 11 (back in high school in her hometown of Berkeley, Calif., they called her "Jolly Blond Giant"), Romijn has made many a memorable turn on the red carpet, but today after wrapping up a day in front of the camera she's opted for casual comfort. Her hair is pulled back into a loose ponytail, she's wearing black toe quilted flats, white linen pants and a simple black tank top. Then there are her three silver mini heart shaped charm necklaces, each engraved with one of the names of the loves in her life: Dolly, Charlie and O'Connell.
Noticeably, there's also that indefinable glow the one that all new moms project. "I feel on top of the world," she says, toying with her charm necklaces. She credits the radiance to the babies, of course, but the actress is also taking better care of herself than ever. "My pregnancy was really healthy. You have to eat well, you don't drink, and you don't have late nights out. If I'm not at work, I'm asleep by 9 P.M." And the flawless visage that is currently bare, without even a drop of foundation? "I drink coconut water, which is so good for you and your skin."
As for the trademark sex appeal that helped her go from the runway to the small screen and then the big screen in a flash, first with turns on hits like Friends and later to her breakout role as Mystique, the mutant with the hottest blue-bod in X Men? That's still there too. "I feel as sexy as I have ever felt," says Romijn. "I've always said that sexy is having a really strong sense of yourself and never taking yourself too seriously. I still believe that." The postbaby curves aren't cramping her style either. "I'm a jeans size up from where I usually am, but there's nothing about it that freaks me out." To get into her favorite Earnest Sewn jeans (see "Rebecca's Sexiest Things") not to mention a pair of Balenciaga pants she found recently while cleaning out her closet Romijn has been trying to carve out some time on the elliptical machine. Otherwise, there's Pilates twice a week, but that's more to "put my body back together again - I couldn't move the last month of my pregnancy," she says.
In addition to the delivery of her bundles of joy, December also saw the culmination of Romijn's run as the transgender magazine exec Alexis Meade on Ugly Betty. The star was prepared and likely deserved to take a break. But then Eastwick, a pilot for ABC's fall season, came up, which meant she would have to start working within just a few weeks. Instead of rattling the new mom, the prospect seemed manageable. "I didn't know if I was going to feel overwhelmed, but within the first six weeks [of having the babies], I was, like, I think I get this." O'Connell's active role as Dad also made Romijn's decision to go back to work an easy one. "I knew Jerry would be a good father, but he has far exceeded my expectations," she says. "He's got endless amounts of energy, and he's having such a blast with these girls."
In the Eastwick pilot, based on John Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick (and the 1987 movie of the same name), the devil stirs up supernatural powers in some of the women living in a small New England enclave. Romijn stars as an earthy, artistic mom named Roxie. "This character is the closest to me that I've ever played," says Romijn, reflecting on her own bohemian upbringing by an artist dad and a teacher mom in Northern California. She admits, however, it's a little bit of a leap" to play the mother of a 15 year old onscreen. "But once you're a mom, you're a mom."
That said, parenthood can bring a whole new set of emotions into play that are unpredictable and revealing. Romijn says she is seeing a different side of her husband, one that's fiercely protective. "He thinks he's going to have some say in what they do. He is about to learn he has no choice in the matter!" O'Connell has already announced that his daughters can only date "men who run a country." Says Romijn with a laugh, "He's determined not to let them ever date while he is alive. He tells them, 'I will be the only man you love. She pauses, then erupts into more giggles. "By the way, I'm a much healthier person than that. But it's a very sweet sentiment."
Fortunately the new parents have some years before the dating games begin. Right now the actress is excited about dressing up the girls in her most recent purchase: matching pink tutus. "I know they're going to have a lot to say by the time they turn 2, so until then I get to dress them however I want." Pretty and pastel may dominate now, but more creative mash ups might be in store in the future if Romijn yields her influence. Her current style icon is Madonna's daughter Lourdes. "She's doing new wave postmodern Punky Brewster geek chic. She's one to watch."
While Romijn does her own version of drop dead glamazon chic in the most gorgeous way - like the vintage Guy Laroche pink beaded gown she wore to the 2007 Emmys - the self described "true California girl" also likes to play it low key with jeans, T shirts and flip flops. She's carefree about beauty too. "I'm 100 percent natural. I haven't experimented with injectables, but I finally started a good skin care regimen, which you should do as an adult. I take vitamins, and even though I never wore sunscreen growing up, I'm good about that now."
Lessons learned, right? Yet as earnest as she is about being a good role model, Romijn has a playful side too. Like her description of diaper duty. "Every time I put the babies on the changing table, they start crying, so I make up songs, like songs about poop," she says, grinning widely. "There's one about 'Dolly does a doo doo in the diapen 'That one has stuck."
Joking aside, singing may indeed be in her future. After all, it is what she studied at the University of California at Santa Cruz. "I might want to go to Broadway one day." She has even thought about recording an album of children's lullabies. "I want music to be a big part of their lives." And if the twins catch the acting bug instead? "Sure! We would support them however we could," says Romijn, like any good parent. "At this point it's sort of the family business."
Original article: InStyle June 2009