For our very first Good Issue, we interviewed eighteen beautiful mothers and daughters (and sons) about nature, nurture, and what it means to live a good life.
Yara and Keri Shahidi
Grown-ish star Yara, 18, says and her mom, Keri, 48, try to be open to life: “We say yes more than anything.”
Yara: “I’ve had the good fortune of having you by my side for everything. Others don’t have a parent on set with them. I remember starting Black-ish and having high-def makeup on all day, a strip of eyelashes. There’s a weird correlation that happens between being ‘ready’ and being doused in makeup. We’ve had conversations about separating the two.”
Keri: “I’ve passed on the very basic idea that you are exactly who you are meant to be. Makeup is fun, but going barefaced should feel normal. We talk about health more than anything. Right now, we’re on day five of [drinking] celery juice because it’s supposed to be good for your body, and we both have a sweet tooth.”
Yara: “Collectively we have a lot of sweet teeth.”
K. S.: “[But I’m happiest] that she’s the most compassionate human being I know. She has a sense that her voice matters all the time, in every situation.”
Yara: “I’ve had you saying that my voice matters.”
Keri: “You’re nature [not nurture]. I always tell people that she kind of landed on the planet hardwired to be conscientious and grateful, open to learning and wanting to be of service.”
Yara: “Thank you! Oh, snap.”
Angok Mayen and Anyieth
Mayen, 25, is a model who spends most of her time chasing her two-year-old daughter, Anyieth. “What can I do? She runs so much!” says Mayen.
On raising a good person: “I want to teach her to be like me — the way I talk nicely to people, the way I’m close with people, the way I smile at people. I want to teach her a different way [than prejudice] — it doesn’t matter whether you’re white or black. We’re all human beings.”
On the best part of being a mother: “She has the same face as me, and the way she smiles? I think maybe that’s mine, too. When someone asks, ‘Is this your baby?’ I say, ‘Yes, my own blood!’ ”
On the thing she doesn’t want to pass down: “I didn’t graduate [from college], and I don’t want her to be like me — I need her to finish school, and then I think everything will be good for her.”
On revisiting the past: “I grew up in South Sudan, and I want to teach her my language, Dinka; it’s important to know where you’re from. My mom and dad are in South Sudan. I talk to them every day, but the one time I FaceTimed my mom, I cried. I told her, ‘No more FaceTime. Just the phone.’ ”
Rhiannon McConnell and Louie
McConnell, 21, is a model — and an amateur cook, with the help of her one-year-old son, Louie. (“He loves shaking the seasonings,” she says.)
On one of the most surprising parts of motherhood so far: “I have much more patience than I thought. He got sick on the way over here, like, everywhere — and I was just like, ‘It’s OK, baby’ and cleaned it all up.”
On being a young mom: “I thought I was super grown up — and then I had him. And I still have some growing up to do. Or a lot….”
On living in the moment: “When he’s older, he’s probably not going to want to hang out with me as much. I just want to do everything with him while he still wants me to.”
Mini Andén and Felix
Andén, 40, is a model and part-time gallery manager for her son, Felix, age 5. “Our house is all white walls, and it’s just covered in his art,” she says.
On what it means to be a good person: “It’s being kind to animals and people. We have six dogs. When we wake up in the morning, I have to take care of the dogs, and he’s had to adapt to that — even though he’s an only child, he’s had to be considerate of others’ needs.”
On relishing the moment when it all pays off: “There’s a girl in Felix’s class who loves to dress up and wear every accessor. Some of the boys were making fun of her, and her mom sent me a video of the girl saying, ‘Felix is the nicest boy. Everybody was making fun of my outfit, but he said he loved it.’ That’s the best feeling. As a parent, you feel like you’re nagging, nagging, nagging‚ and then you hear him say something and you’re like, ‘Oh, it worked!’ I hope he’ll always be that kid who says, ‘I love your outfit.’ ”
On the complicated trait she passed along: “Felix is quite competitive. It’s good because when you set goals, you want to reach them, but at the same time he’s hard on himself. He’s like, ‘I didn’t score at soccer practice!’ Dude, you gotta chill.”
Jhené Aiko, Namiko Love, and Christina Yamamoto
Aiko, 30, is a singer and R&B star. Last year, she released a duet, “Sing to Me,” with her daughter, Namiko Love, 9. Aiko’s mom, Yamamoto, 60, used to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to her.
Jhené: “I’m happy that she inherited my eyebrows, because good eyebrows are hard to come by. Her dad has bushy eyebrows, too, so lucky, lucky, lucky! And she’s a little secretive. I was secretive when I was younger, but I grew out of it.”
Namiko: “I’m happy I got my mom’s eyebrows and her voice.”
Jhené: “ ‘Her voice!’ she said! So sweet.”
Namiko: “And my grandmother’s hair!”
Christina: “[I also passed on] stubbornness — which can be good and bad. But my daughters know how to speak up for themselves.”
Jhené: “I come from a long line of strong and independent — but also extremely compassionate — women. If you can be compassionate and speak for what you want, then you’ll never get in trouble. It doesn’t mean you’re weak because you’re nice. And it doesn’t mean you’re a B-I-T-C-H if you speak up for yourself. You can be strong and good.”
Jessica Stam and Marigold
Stam, 32, is a model who’s striking some goofy new poses for her daughter, Marigold, 10 months. “We’ll do anything to make her laugh,” she says.
On living without limits: “I want her to be a feminist, to know that she’s equal to anyone else. I want her to be strong.”
Or at least without most limits: “I hope that she will not make the same makeup mistakes that I did. Blue eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss — I had to have it all on.”
On the thing she most wants Marigold to model from her: “Definitely charity work. Sometimes you get more out of it than the people you’re helping — I want her to see that not everybody has the opportunities that she does. I love Charity: Water [which brings clean water to people in developing countries].”
On the scariest part of motherhood: “If anyone were to hurt her, I’d lose it.”
Jessica Mau and Alma
Mau, 31, is finding her footing with her daughter, Alma, six months. “I didn’t know I could be sleep-deprived and thrive with the chaos,” the model says. “But I can handle this.”
On one thing she wants to share with her daughter: “My mom is a really graceful woman, and everything she does is with an open heart — loose and light. I want to pass that to Alma. Be light: Go with the flow, and be open to everything.”
OK, two things: “And use oils like crazy — they feel good; they smell good. Lube up.”
And what she doesn’t want to hand down: “I’m really sensitive — to food, chemicals, the environment. I’ve got allergies, all that stuff. I just want her to be stronger, to be tougher than me.”
On appreciating where you come from: “My dad is Chinese and Hawaiian, and he instilled this Hawaiian ohana vibe. “Ohana” means family — it’s that lovey Hawaiian spirit. I really want Alma to grow up with that spirit.”
On the key to goodness: “Compassion. It’s everything. Feel how somebody else feels. Be open to others’ experiences. Have empathy.”
Madelyn Deutch, Lea Thompson, and Zoey Deutch
Thompson, 57, has two daughters — Zoey, 23, and Madelyn, 27 — who followed in her footsteps when they became actresses. The trio just finished making The Year of Spectacular Men together. “We devised it as a way to give ourselves jobs that we knew nobody was going to,” says Madelyn, who wrote, scored, and acted in the movie. Thompson directed it; Zoey produced and acted in it.
Lea: “As a parent, they always say, ‘It’s not what you say; it’s what you do.’ So I try to model goodness for my children.”
Zoey: “I remember that whenever you’d feel bad or upset or insecure, I’d watch you translate that into doing good for someone else.”
Lea: “I feel strongly that doing little good things all the time is what gives us self-esteem and a sense of self. Being generous, smiling, being kind.”
Madelyn: “Being of service.”
Lea: “I grew up super poor in Minnesota and raised them completely differently. I learned you don’t tell kids that they’re talented and smart. You tell them that they have the things they have because of hard work. They were so understanding that I had to work.”
Madelyn: “You included us in work as much as possible — sets, conflict, all of it. It gave us a sense of responsibility and made us love work.”
Zoey: “It’s been great to look at you like a coworker and a human. There’s all this pressure on mothers to have all the answers, but I respect you enough to know that you won’t be right all the time.”
Lea: “It’s nice, but I mean, I’ll always be your mom. I’ll always yell at you.”
Zoey: “You’ll always annoy us.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Allure. For fashion credits, see Shopping Guide. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.
Fashion stylist, Coquito Cassibba. Hair: Nai’vasha Johnson (Yara and Keri Shahidi) and Rubi Jones. Makeup: Grace Ahn. Manicure: Sarah Chue. Set design: Bryn Bowen.
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