This week our “She’s All That” person is Zara Phillips, who is a singer, songwriter, performer, advocate for adopted people, and mother of three.
SHE’S ALL THAT: Zara Phillips
WHY SHE’S ALL THAT: Zara Phillips has three children, a dog named Snoopy, a father overseas who frequently requires her assistance, and a husband who travels for weeks at a time. She is a working singer and songwriter, performing often, and soon releasing an album. She is also an advocate for adopted people, giving workshops and presentations on adoption issues, and has just published a book entitled: Mother Me: An Adopted Woman’s Journey to Motherhood in which she talks about her personal experiences as both an adopted person and a mother.
Find out how Zara does it all:
MOVED TO MONTCLAIR: I moved her in April 2006 after living in Los Angeles for 12 years.
KIDS: Three—son in 9th grade at Montclair High School, two daughters at Bradford; 3rd and 5th grade.
LIFE BEFORE KIDS: In my job as an artist, I’ve always had to do a lot of gigs, so it’s changed so much in terms not of what I do but really in terms of how much time I can spend on my careers. I just don’t do so many gigs away anymore.
WORK: I’m constantly thinking of all ways I can make an income and still be around for my kids. I think what can I do? I know I can write songs, and sing, and I can teach music classes, and so that’s what I do.
Primarily, I’m a singer/songwriter, and I have a new album coming out. The album is called You, Me, and Us and will be on iTunes for download soon. People can also check on my website zarahphillips.com or everythingzara.com (new). One song on the album is with DMC from Run DMC. He’s adopted. I’m adopted. We’ve been to the Senate together, testifying as advocates for open birth records.
I also travel a lot and speak at many different adoption conferences and workshops all over the US and in England. My talks are often about the reality, not the fantasy, of being an adopted person. I’m an advocate for open adoption records. Tremendous healing takes place when people reunite, and in the U.S. it’s so difficult.
I’m also an author. My book is about my journey of my search and reunion with my birth mother, as well as what it was like when I became a mother and issues I had when I was pregnant. A lot of people don’t think about what the experience is for an adopted person to be in a biological family for the first time. The book is called Mother Me: An Adopted Woman’s Journey to Motherhood. I’m doing a presentation and open discussion on Thursday, Feb. 17 at Watchung Booksellers. I’ll read from the book, sing a few songs from the new album, and show a bit of a film I made called “Roots Unknown” as part of the presentation.
I also teach music classes for toddlers at two preschools, write for different magazines on adoption issues, and I audition in the city for commercials and things like that when I have a chance. I just did a bit of modeling recently. I do what that allows me to still be around for my kids.
Get to Know Zara Phillips
KIDS ACTIVITES/SCHLEPPING: Both my girls play soccer, and my son now referees at the games. Both girls also swim but not in the winter. They take hip hop, readers’ theater, and a scrap booking class as part of Bradford’s after school enrichment program. Also, one does violin, one does gymnastics. It’s a lot of driving. They always do music and always have some physical activity in the mix.
VOLUNTEER: I try to go to all classroom events and to always bring something. I’m not signed up for a PTA position, but I try to be at the parties and shows and bring whatever is needed.
HOBBIES/EXERCISE ROUTINE: I’m a spinning maniac. I go once or twice a week and I do yoga when I can. That’s really important.
WHAT GIVES: I’m terrible at cooking. Terrible. Great at cleaning and organizing, but terrible at cooking.
PET PEEVE: Rude people.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: I worry that everybody’s needs are being met, including my own, without getting absolutely exhausted. I’m an overachiever type person, so knowing when it’s ok to let things go is a challenge. Like I have to remind myself that the kids will survive if they don’t do as many activities as other people. We just can’t do everything all the time.
INDULGENCE: I like to get pedicures! I really like to exercise. And I just love to sing. And just being in a quiet house feels like an enormous indulgence. I savor being in a quiet house.
BIGGEST HELPERS? That’s a hard one. My husband when he’s home, but I do a lot by myself. I’m getting to know people better and ask for help.
BEST WEEKNIGHT DINNER: Easy things. I’m not a cook. Pasta. Roast chicken. Maybe steak if I can cook it right.
BEST RESTAURANT TO ORDER IN FROM: Dai Kichi.
KIDS’ FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Dai Kichi. They love the noodles and chicken, and I could eat sushi forever.
FAVORITE NIGHT OUT W/ADULTS: I love going to the movies. That’s my favorite. I go to events and do gigs for my career in the evenings whenever I can, so I don’t go out much other than that.
FAMILY VACATIONS: We go mainly to England because we’ve needed to, for family reasons. We really only go to England, so other than that, we do more days out rather than vacations. We love going into New York. It’s fantastic.
BEST PLACE TO PICK UP KIDS’ BDAY GIFT: The girls love Hip Chic. And we all love Watchung Booksellers.
FAVORITE MTC CLOTHING STORE FOR YOU: I love the shops on Church Street. But I do most of my shopping in London, as that’s the only time I don’t have three kids and the dog and actually have time to shop.
FAVORITE MTC ACTIVITY/DESTINATION: Going to see independent films at the Clairidge. And we love Brookdale Park.
WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT MONTCLAIR: The diversity. And I appreciate that there’s a lot of English people here and that it’s close to England since I’ve had to go back and forth so much recently.