Student Government Association at Biscayne Bay Campus closed out its spring lecture series with Emmy-nominated actress Mayim Bialik. Bialik, best known as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory (or Blossom, to some), brought her witty charisma to a sold-out crowd, sharing personal experiences as a neuroscientist, Hollywood actress, controversial blogger and mother.
FIU News had the opportunity to sit down with Bialik to ask questions on behalf of our Facebook fans and some of our own burning curiosities.
Being a female in academia is hard enough, but does also being an actress affect your credibility as an academic? – Ana Rusch
When I was pursuing neuroscience that is all that I was pursuing. Yes, there were professors and people who assumed that I didn’t have the chops for it because I was an actress. The only thing I could do was try my best and hopefully show them that I could do it. It’s definitely had its set of challenges, but I think being a female is a bigger challenge than being an actress.
What were your inspirations to continue academia after high school and more specifically what made you choose your field? – Dave Rivera
I had a biology tutor when I was younger. She was 19 and a dental student. I was 15. I would say that she was my main inspiration to pursue science. I was mainly interested in genetics, but I ended up sort of falling in love with the notion of the neuron, the brain and the nervous system when I started at UCLA.
Does your passion for education and specifically neuroscience influence any of the roles that you choose when it comes to Hollywood? – Mark Blok
No, it can’t. There may be roles that are particularly interesting to me. I had never seen The Big Bang Theory when I was cast in it. It’s a really neat show to be part of, but the job of an actor is to take whatever job you’re offered and be paid money to play dress up.
How is it being ‘Frum’ (religious) and in the acting business? How do they fit together? – Noah Spiner
There is a tremendous amount of flexibility about my Jewish identity. I’m not a perfect example of any form of religious observance. I work in an industry that is not designed around a religious calendar—I have had to work on religious holidays sometimes. One of the things though that I have chosen to maintain is the way I dress—I don’t wear mini-skirts, sleeveless or strapless. That definitely is a challenge, especially in our industry where women are expected to sort of be half naked all the time. Or in Los Angeles, people are naked all the time.
Speaking of challenges, what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? – Laura Flores
I think the hardest thing is being a working mom. My sons are 5 ½ and 8, and that for me is the hardest thing to make my brain do. I feel like parents are wired to care about their children and want to think about them and be with them all the time and that doesn’t change as they get older.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
That’s a word that when I was a young feminist, you had to whisper. You could not even say it and I’m grateful that at least the word is out there. Men can be feminists too. Feminism means equality for genders and all sexes and races, it means balancing economic instability in relationships and in our culture. It’s not just about women thinking they’re better than men, which is not what feminism is at all.
Can you give FIU any inside scoop on what’s going to happen next between Amy and Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory?
No! I don’t know what happens! We have two more episodes to film and I don’t know what those scripts will be. They don’t tell us what is going to happen ahead of time – I think that’s sort of the fun.
– Kaytien Franco contributed to this story.