Mandy Moore talks “This Is Us,” her potential return to music, and upcoming wedding plans

When Mandy Moore invites you to Friendsgiving, you go to Friendsgiving. Not just because Mandy has a special place in your heart thanks to her work in A Walk to Remember, Princess Diaries, Tangled, and of course, the newly beloved This Is Us. But because Mandy Moore is a dream of a human being — she walks into a room and clouds part, making way for nothing but golden sunlight. This is exactly what I witnessed at the Friendsgiving that was prepared with the help of Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred by American Express.

With a group of fellow Mandy fans, I was able to sit alongside the actress herself as she answered our top questions in a pair of shoes I’d kill to wear to Friendsgivings to come (they were Malone Souliers blush satin pumps).

Q: What are you most grateful for this year?

MM: Health and happiness for the people I love in my life, first and foremost. And then, I’m grateful for where I find myself in life right now. I feel like, for all of us, there is a roller coaster. A real ebb and flow to the way things unfold, and I’ve been doing this since I was 15, for 18 years now. Just like the personal and professional waves that life has shown me, I feel really grateful and present and aware of where I am in my life right now.

There’s a lot to be appreciative for…I’m so grateful every day to get in the car and go to work. To work with the people that I work with. I’m grateful for my personal life, and it was a long road to get here. If this were a cocktail [*points to drink*], I’d really get into it with you guys. I feel like there’s a lot to take stock on. I think back to life even like three years ago, two years ago, things were wildly different. So in that sense, I feel very, like, whew. I am grounded and aware of how lucky I am.

Q: Speaking of your engagement, we read your article for Us Weekly that said you wanted a small wedding, no white dress. Can you elaborate?

MM: Yeah, I’m in the beginning of the planning stages. But, I think because I’m in this business, I’m very fortunate to get dressed up often and wear pretty things and be the center of attention. Which does not make me feel comfortable in any way. I never was that girl who was like, “I want that, I want a big lavish affair.” No disrespect! I totally get why women want that. Absolutely! But I’ve just always been, “Oh, I’m good to sort of take a backseat.” [My fiancé Taylor Goldsmith] and I were talking…I would feel so uncomfortable saying my vows in front of a hundred people. I don’t know. I wouldn’t have it in me. I’d feel terrified and weird. So I think in that sense, it’s going to be sooner rather than later. We’re like, “Let’s get married! Let’s do it.”

I think it will be after I’m done with work, sometime next year, before I go back to work. It will be small. When we get our house. I want it to happen and then people find out about it after the fact.

Q: Almost like a surprise?

MM: Yeah. I think that we want to just catch people off guard. I want to have a party, maybe a smaller one, to celebrate with people, and then we could have a party afterwards and have a few more people there. But yeah, no white dress…Music is really important to both of us, so I want there to be a musical component to it. I want my man to play, maybe, if he wants to. Some of our musician friends to play. I want it to feel like an elevated house party. And not stressful.

Q: We’re obsessed with your music career. We grew up listening to you. Do you think you’ll go back into music at all? Maybe a collaboration with your fiancé?

MM: I do. Yeah. I don’t know… [I live with] music in my house. I feel very lucky. To walk into beautiful songs being written all the time. It’s real romantic.

I’m floored by how talented [Taylor] is…I keep using the home as an excuse…I feel like we’ve been treading water. I was just saying that my stuff has been in storage for like two and half years at this point, so to feel like I can unpack records and a kitchen…We’re in this apartment. So I don’t know if that’s really going to be the case, like life is going to magically transform [when we move into our home]. I tell myself that. So I think we’re using that as an excuse, too. Once we’re settled in the house, being able to work on music. We have a hiatus coming up in March for a couple months, so it will be a good time to think about that again.

Q: We remember you saying that you don’t have an anti-aging routine, but we’re wondering if, in the past year, you’ve adopted any wellness packages or self-care routines?

MM: No, I need to. I feel like I’m missing the boat a little bit. It’s time.

I go to bed obscenely early, I try to drink a lot of water, and I don’t drink a ton [of alcohol], you know? But I’m also a regular person and I’m going to have some of that crumble [*points to a delicious-looking crumble*] and I don’t fuss about that stuff. So with the anti-aging thing, I maybe need to be a bit more…I’m diligent, but like, I’m not doing anything proactive like retinol or anything.

Q: How has your self-image changed as you’ve moved on from your twenties to your thirties? 

MM: I don’t know if you guys feel this way, but I love myself so much more, or I care way less than I did in my twenties…As long as I feel good and I know that everything is in moderation, including moderation in taking care of myself. Like mentally especially, I’m getting vitamin D, I’m hiking, I’m feeling connected and grounded. I’m going to therapy. All of that stuff factors into my life so much more. You know, I’ve never been that girl anyway. I don’t stress over that stuff.

Q: Give us one spoiler for This Is Us?

MM: We were laughing on set the other day, shooting with the present-day Big Three, and Chrissy and I were laughing at: Who cries more easily? I think she actually does. I’m super emotional, but this show’s made me oddly more emotional.

I think there’s a lot happening in the world and we need a way to process our emotions about so much. About our lives, about the state of the world. I feel like the show just came around at the perfect time…and we’re able to put all our focus, all our energy there, and for an hour a week we can see ourselves in [the show] even if it’s not a direct reflection of what’s going on in our lives. There is something to get you to buy into these stories.

Q: Do we find out how Jack dies?

MM: Yes…[T]here’s still a little bit of time, but it will be this season. We haven’t shot it yet, but it will be this season.

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