Kellie has appeared in many challenging roles on CBS and ABC depicting women overcoming major socioeconomic and personal obstacles, and received an Emmy for her role as Becca Thacher in “Life Goes On” on ABC. While achieving major success in the world of television, Kellie’s personal world was shattered after her sister passed away from complications of a misdiagnosed case of lupus. Turning tragedy into action, Kellie has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about autoimmune disease through lobbying and speaking with the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association and the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: I have a few different careers/interests that have become careers. I started acting at the age of 7 and continue to this day. I’ve also written scripts and directed television. My careers as an actress, writer and director have opened many strange, unexpected doors and allowed me to live a manageable, albeit, somewhat of a roller coaster life. Once I had my daughter, however that roller coaster had to slow down a bit, and in light of that, I’ve started to pursue a career that keeps me closer to home and allows me to be a mom first and foremost. My new online store, ROMP (rompstore.com) sells unique, handmade toys. I had been a customer of this site, and now I’m the new owner. While I will continue to act, write and direct, ROMP gives me a chance to be home with my family.
ON Career Transitions
Q: Many people become discontent with their current career yet are too afraid or reluctant to make a change. What’s your best advice for women in this situation?
A: I get that we all need to make money, but we also need to realize that life is short—time is precious. If you are spending a large portion of your time on work and away from your family, you should be fulfilled. I continue to act as my primary career, but I’ve added the website (and all the other things I do) to make sure that my work time is filled with meaningful, inspiring work.
Q: What simple things in life today bring you joy?
A: Without a doubt, watching my child—just seeing her chase a grasshopper—brings me unbelievable joy. Cooking, yoga, walking through a museum, and listening to jazz bring me tons of joy.
ON Giving Back
Q: What cause(s) have you chosen to support and why does it resonate with you?
A: I am the national spokesperson for the American Autoimmune and Related Diseases Association (AARDA). I lost my younger sister to lupus (an autoimmune disease) in 1998. My primary role with AARDA is public awareness—telling people that autoimmune diseases affect over 50 million Americans and primarily attack women in their child bearing years, when you should be at your healthiest. My 19 year old sister, who had been healthy her whole life, had a classic case of lupus yet was misdiagnosed by over 7 doctors. My family didn’t know the right questions to ask, we had never heard of lupus or autoimmune disease. I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to other people’s sisters, mothers, or aunts. Young women need to know what autoimmune diseases are and that they are at a higher risk for developing them simply because of their gender.
Q: What are the top 3 things that you do to stay healthy?
A: I exercise every day, even if it’s only 20 minutes. Sometimes I exercise for 2 hours. Exercise is essential for my stress management and sanity. The second thing I do to stay healthy is cook my own food as much as possible. Sourcing the food, especially meat, and buying organic is really important to me. Then the act of cooking the food and sitting down for a meal with my family completes the experience. Finally, I pray to keep my mind healthy. It’s essential to me to know that there is a plan for my life and that someone is always watching over me.
Q: In your opinion, what are the top values that make up a meaningful relationship?
A: Trust and respect.
Q: How do you respond to the question “How has having a child changed your life?”
A: Having a child has been the single greatest challenge I have ever faced. That being said, I had a fantastic pregnancy and birth and have a healthy, well-adjusted child. So where’s the challenge? After having my daughter, I lost confidence in myself in most aspects of my life. I suddenly didn’t know who I was, what I wanted or where I fit anymore. I think it’s something a lot of women experience when they become mothers (but it’s not talked about nearly enough). I had to do some serious, and probably long overdue, work on myself in order to be a mom.
ON Cooking & Food
Q: If you love to cook, can you share a favorite recipe?
A: This is one of my favorite child-friendly recipes I’ve developed:
Makes about 14 muffins
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup pear juice
1/2 cup applesauce
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tblsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups ripe pears, finely chopped (use soft skinned pears like Bartletts)
1 cup quick oats
- line muffin pan with baking cups
- in a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
- combine pear juice, applesauce, and olive oil in a separate bowl
- add vanilla and pears to wet mixture
- pour wet mixture into dry and mix until just combined
- stir in quick oats
- use ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups with batter
- bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
ON Cooking & Food
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could have an unlimited source of 3 foods (and calories were not a concern), what would they be?
A: French bread, really good cheese and wine. (That answer took me exactly 2 seconds to come up with!)