Idina Menzel has effortlessly made her way from the Broadway stage to the everyday person’s television screen. Famously known for originating the roles of Maureen Johnson in Jonathan Larson’s rock musical RENT and Elphaba in the acclaimed fantasy musical Wicked, Menzel has made herself a home in the Hollywood industry.
While never leaving behind her stage and music work, Menzel branched out to star in the musical movie Enchanted alongside Amy Adams and James Marsden, the musical comedy series Glee, and the crime drama Uncut Gems. She also voiced the lead character, Elsa, in Frozen and its sequel.
Most recently, Menzel has taken on the role of the evil stepmom Vivian in Amazon Prime’s Cinderella. The 50-year-old actor stars in this flick alongside singer Camila Cabello, talk show host James Cordon, and actor Billy Porter.
Menzel opens up about motherhood
Menzel shares one son, 12-year-old Walker Nathaniel Diggs, with her ex-husband Taye Diggs (Set It Up). In an interview with Glamour about her role in Cinderella, the actor opened up about how motherhood has helped calm her worries surrounding aging.
While expressing the nuanced nature of her character, Menzel admitted to having a tough time coming to terms with her age. She expressed, “I am ashamed to say it, but I was having a hard time with it [turning 50]. I think it was subconsciously bothering me more than I led on, in regards to my relevance as a performer and actress.” Menzel continued, “I’m feeling like the old lady sometimes, and that’s not who I am. I feel very young at heart.”
She then credited her son, Walker, for helping her overcome this battle. She recounted a time where he told her, “Mom, don’t look in the mirror and worry about how you look. You’re beautiful.”
Menzel strives to be a good role model for her son
Throughout the interview, Menzel shared her thoughts on the origination of these feelings. She reflected back on her childhood and times where she witnessed her mother say negative things about her own appearance.
Menzel shared, “Even though she always told my sister and I that we were beautiful, thinking that was building our confidence, what we really were seeing was a beautiful woman diminishing her worth in some way.” She added, “I’m learning as a parent that you really have to walk the walk and talk the talk because that’s what kids really see. They’re so insightful.”
The Tony-Award-winning actor has shared this maternal love with her Cinderella costar Cabello. Ahead of the movie’s release, she spoke to PEOPLE about their chemistry and her protective feelings over the singer. “I guess there’s a maternal thing for me with her, I want to protect her a little because she’s so warm and loving and a generous spirit. And she has so much going on and working so hard,” gushed Menzel.
Cinderella is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.