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WHM: Laura Bell Bundy

By lindsay

March is Women’s History Month.  BCB salutes the MANY women throughout history who have gotten us to this point today.  But, throughout March 2021 we are celebrating and sharing MOMS who are making history RIGHT NOW.  As we know, moms are basically super human, super heroes.  We tackle so much at once, are the queens of multitasking and at the end of the day—we are almost always putting others’ best interests ahead of our own.  So as we look to the future, we want you to meet some incredible women, all of who are making sure brighter days lie ahead for all.

Tony nominated Broadway star & Billboard top 5 recording artist, Laura Bell Bundy made her debut at age 9 at Radio City Music Hall, since then she has originated the stage roles of Tina in Ruthless (Outer Critics/ Drama Desk Nominations), Amber in Broadway’s Hairspray, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical  (Tony Nomination), played Glinda in Wicked and received an Ovation nomination for her role of Charity in Reprise 2.0’s ‘Sweet Charity.’ Bundy has recorded multiple albums, starred and appeared in a myriad of hit shows and blockbuster movies including roles on Perfect Harmony, How I Met Your Mother,  Hart of Dixie, American Gods, Anger Management, Dream Girls, Jumanji, among others.

Her newest trailblazing project, Women of Tomorrow, has already received high critical acclaim from HuffPost, American Songwriter, Forbes, People and many others. The album, produced & written by Bundy, Shea Carter & Jeremy Adelman, encapsulates the experiences of today’s modern women. The original songs cover issues like equal pay, breaking the glass ceiling, over-apologizing, the mental load of motherhood, pitting women against each other, unrealistic beauty standards, the obsession with social media, ownership over women’s bodies, doing it all, and women’s relationship to men. Bundy also hosts the Women of Tomorrow podcast, which powerfully and deeply dives into the issues each song on her album presents, examines the history of those matters and provides solutions for moving forward.

Name: Laura Bell Bundy

Age: 39

Kid(s) and Ages: One Son, Huck, 22 months

Where do you live? Tewksbury, NJ on an 18 acres Sheep farm.  Just moved from LA

TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO MAKE HISTORY RIGHT NOW.

Well, I have always been drawn to creating music styles or types of shows that haven’t been seen or heard yet. Right now, I am creating a women’s history sketch comedy variety show so we can learn about all of the women left out of our history books, and laugh at the same time.  Based on my research, I believe this show would also be historical if it gets made.  So, I guess my plan is to make history by telling the history of other women.

I also have an upcoming album, Women Of Tomorrow, which is essentially a sound track to our most recent Women’s Movement.  Each song sheds light on different issues women are facing today like equal pay, over apologizing, motherhood, breaking the glass ceiling, unattainable beauty standards,  domestic violence, sexual assault, obsession with being “liked” on social media. But, we tackle these in a personal way adding humor and a catchy melody. The album sounds like a classic MGM movie musical with modern pop production elements and modern sentiment.  So, it’s the sound represents the old ideas of womanhood persisting in our current more forward thinking feminist world.  I wrote/produced the album with my soul sister Shea Carter and our “good guy”  Jeremy Adelman.

HOW ARE YOU CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH ON YOUR PODCAST?

We are releasing episodes specifically about Women’s History, but we are also releasing two podcasts about our songs “American Girl” and “Money Ho (We’re In The Money)” which go into the history of fertility and the history of women earning money in this country. Fun Fact:  The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848 allowed married women to own property, wages, enter into contracts, and otherwise act autonomously to their husband’s authority.  Prior to that, were not allowed to earn and control their own working wage. In fact, their own children were not even consider their property.  AND, If they were to split with their husbands, they did not have rights to custody.

WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN YOU KNOW?

Well, by all accounts all women are influential.  We birth and raise the human race.  Every mother is influencing the way their children value and understand the roles of women, or how they view race and social inequality.  There is a responsibility that comes with that kind of influence. Teachers have it, too.

But, if I have to name one person right now at this very moment that I know personally, I would say that would Samantha Bee with her show Full Frontal or Pamala Brown my childhood friend who is a reporter on CNN.  When you give information on those types of platforms, you have wide influence…

THE THEME OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH 2021 IS:  REFUSING TO BE SILENCED.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU AND HOW DOES IT PLAY OUT IN YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE?

Well, we can march but you ain’t hear nothing till you hear us sing…  This is my life.  I am writing and singing about these issues. I’m releasing the music that sounds catchy but it is laced with messages I care about and other women need to hear. Call it code, but music has a long history of being a secret platform for activism.  But what I am also doing through the podcast is giving you the history or WHY women have been silenced in the first place… and how that has come to affect the way we communicate today ..even leading to us to apologize before we speak. “I’m sorry, I have a question…”  We do that because historically we were physically punished for speaking out of turn.

In 2400 BC Mesopotamia, the earliest law code states “If a woman speaks out of turn, her teeth will be smashed by a brick.”  In medieval Europe and in colonial times in America, women would be punished for gossiping or talking back to her husband, by being put in a scolds bridal— this was an iron muzzle cage that had a tongue plate and spike.  Then she would be walked thru town and publicly embarrassed wearing this.  Women have been beheaded, institutionalized, burnt at the stake as witches all for having their own ideas and speaking their minds… This type of thinking has gently seeped into our collective consciousness making these themes still relevant in 2021 like ”Refusing To Be Silenced”… Somebody get me a drink!

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WOMEN FACE TODAY?  HOW WILL YOU HELP IMPACT AND CHANGE THIS FOR WOMEN IN THE FUTURE THROUGH YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?

We need to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.  It will be a big step towards equality for women and equal pay.

We also need women to understand their intrinsic value.  We need to eliminate these exhausting and unproductive stereotypes about girls and boys.  We need young men to appreciate women and to be raised in a way where they know that “acting like a girl” is not an insult, it is a compliment. And that femininity and sensitivity is to be honored and treasured.  That “acting like a man” means to listen and express, not hold it in, bottle it up and then express it in some aggressive or perverse way elsewhere. I believe this will allow young men and women to communicate their needs to each other better and for mutual respect to take place. Then, equality on the larger scale is more possible.

I am doing this by raising a son.

IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ONE WOMAN THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

OOOH!  Oh.. SO many.  But, a controversial figure, Margaret Sanger.  She led the charge for birth control and family planning in this country.  She was charged with 30 years in prison for violating the Comstock Laws at the time because she sent out a pamphlet explaining the female reproductive system to women.  She explained cycles and how all of our organs and lady parts worked and it was considered profanity.  She created a center for family planning which eventually became planned parenthood. The concept of “the pill” was hers and she led the charge and funded the research to create it. She believed that a women’s ability to plan a family would bring her more freedom than the vote.  HER belief. But, in many ways she was right… our ability to understand our bodies and plan a family has allowed us to enter the workforce, and have a level of independence we wouldn’t have without it.   She is controversial because some believe her appeal to eugenicists, a widely held belief at the time, made her a racist.  Which really bums me out about her.  I think I’d like to have lunch with her to find out if she really was.

WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO KNOW OR LEARN ABOUT YOU?

I am sort of obsessed with Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I swear by it because it gets to the root of the problem as opposed to being a Band-Aid and has far less side effects than most conventional medications. It has helped me with so many things including fertility and postpartum. I will literally look up herbs and study their uses for fun.  Like a super guilty pleasure. I almost signed up for acupuncture and Chinese medicine school when I was 20, but my career got in the way : )

HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO BALANCE BEING A MOM, WORKING AND HELPING TO CHANGE THE WORLD ? IS THERE SUCH THING AS BALANCE?

No, girl!  There ain’t no such thing!  I struggle every day with this and I certainly do not have the answers. It is midnight right now.  My son and husband and dogs are asleep.  It’s quiet.  It’s my me time and I can answer your questions. I burn the candle at both ends and get less sleep to get done half of what I did before I had a kid.  And that’s ok because I also want to make  quality time for my son…. the exhaustion is worth it.  One thing is, that it has made more selective about what I say yes to.  It really needs to be worth it for me to do whether that’s creatively, financially or personally. Time is PRECIOUS.  I am really learning to prioritize and I am becoming better with disappointing people.  Here’s what I realized…I am preaching to women to honor themselves and what they need.  And sometimes, I have to say “no” in order to practice what I preach.

WHAT IS ONE SILVER LINING THAT HAS COME OUT OF THE PANDEMIC?

Never wearing pants with a button.  STRETCHY WAISTBANDS PLEASE!

Getting more time with my husband and my son.

Figuring out how to work virtually, record virtually….saving money on manis, pedis, make-up and hair blow outs!

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THE PANDEMIC WILL CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR WOMEN?

OOF… Women have bore the brunt of the pandemic.  Because of the way our system is set up, women and women of color especially carry a lot of the essential worker positions (Plus 90% of nurses are women) …this affects their ability to watch over their kids when they are being home schooled and leaves them in a double bind having to make hard choices. It impacts their children’s growth or their ability to provide for their families.  In families where there are white collar zooms happening with both parents, the parent being paid less may be forced to quit their job to take care of, or teach the kids.

Because of equal pay disparities, this is often the women. This could affect their ability to rejoin the workforce and could have a negative impact on their careers. Additionally, there is the “2nd shift.”  A term used to describe the unpaid labor a women does AFTER she gets home from her job— cooking, the shopping, cleaning, laundry, packing lunches, helping with homework, etc.  Not in all households, but in many, this duty sort of silently falls on a woman. But, when home is where her whole family is ALL DAY EVERY DAY, eating most meals at home, that 2nd shift feels like a full time job… ON TOP of her full time job.

And now everyone at your job has seen your kid running and screaming naked behind you in a zoom.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO OFFER OTHER WOMEN ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?

Trust your gut. You know what to do.  Mother’s intuition is everything.

And remember, you are a freaking GODDESS.  You created and brought another human being into the world.  You are able to create, out of your own body, the human beings main source of food.  WHAT?! THAT IS CRAZY!  No man can say that.  You are so powerful, you are a threat.  Don’t you ever forget it.

RAPID FIRE……

Last show you binged:  The Son

Last book you read: It’s Not Your Money

Go-To Family Dinner:  Pasta Bolognese

Favorite Beverage: Rombauer Chardonnay

Favorite Take out:  Sugarfish  (Sushi) or Chinese

Favorite Dessert:  Flourless Chocolate Cake

Summer or Winter? SUMMER!

Dream Vacation:  Japan

#1 Beauty Product you can’t live without: Tarte Tape

App you can’t live without on your phone:  Waze

You can find more of Laura Bundy Bell and what she is doing on her website , Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify.

Stay tuned as we feature Moms Making History RIGHT NOW every day in the month of March.   Follow us on Instagram and Facebook  for more.   Do you know someone we should be talking to?  Email us to let us know at info@bumpclubandbeyond.com.  You can also meet more Moms We Love, right here. 

 

 

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