A Born Optimist: Michelle Monaghan

2 years ago by

Photos Lou Mora

Michelle Monaghan disarms you with her charm and manners and then she makes you love her more when she curses and talks about her love of cheese. Her healthy outlook on life and comfort in her own skin is refreshing and endearing. At her new home in Los Angeles we chatted about growing up in rural Iowa, working with Richard Gere, and her wonderful tv show, The Path, to which I’m totally hooked on, and also about her love of Anthony Bourdain and so much more. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

podcast cover

A Born Optimist: Michelle Monaghan

Pardon My French with Garance Doré
A Born Optimist: Michelle Monaghan


pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

On growing up with foster children…
It was a real gift to us as a family. It really teaches you compassion. Children less fortunate or in dire straits and not great circumstances, come into your home and it’s powerful. I’m still in contact with several of them as a result of that.

On having a supportive upbringing…
I think so much of my success came with the foundation and the way in which I was raised. And I witnessed it so much with my folks and the way they embraced children and the power of faith, like never underestimate your child and believing in your sons or daughters. Really having that encouragement set the groundwork for who I am today.

On realizing she wanted to act…
I was marveling at the emotions I’d felt and I remember going to Bryant Park after I’d finished shooting that day and I get a little emotional even thinking about it. I sat down on a bench and cried. I had so much gratitude in that moment and thought, this is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life, this is what I am going to do.

On thanking Richard Gere, years later, for being so kind during the filming of her first movie…
He looked at me and said, oh I did? That’s great. Good to see you, good to see you. He had no idea who I was!! It was awesome because it was so anticlimactic. It meant nothing to him but everything to me and it was so forgettable for him. Such a beautiful Hollywood moment!

pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

On coping with the up and down of fame…
What I’ve noticed is there is a real ebb and flow in this career. Things can be really busy and good and you’re on top of the world and in that moment, I sincerely take a step back and stop and have gratitude for that moment because I know what goes up will come down and there will be a natural ebb and then in the quiet times, enjoy that period and that balance and have it be about family.

On learning to surf…
I surf, not well, I’m a complete beginner. But my husband surfs, he’s Australian. I think one time he said to me, if you don’t want to get divorced, you’re going to have to learn how to surf! Fortunately, he’s a very good teacher, very patient, so he basically taught me how to surf.

On cooking…
I cook, though I wouldn’t say I’m a great cook. I’m not spontaneous. I want to be that person, that girlfriend that can open the fridge and say, let’s see, what have we got? Chicken, cabbage and jalapeños and cream and then they whip up this amazing dish. I’m not like that at all. I’m so the gal that needs the recipe, the big trip to the farmers’ market, get all the ingredients, and then prep everything.

On what she wants next…
In terms of my career, I want to continue to challenge myself and do roles that tackle characters that are interesting, complex and complicated, but I really want to do theater. That’s something that’s a really big dream of mine and I keep saying it, but it’s a hard one to figure out in terms of timing. I really won’t feel as though my career will be complete until I have that experience.

On her love of Anthony Bourdain…
I love Anthony Bourdain. He has a real zest for life. I love how adventurous he is and all of the places he travels. I love that he eats anything and he just seems like a lot of fun. I just want to tag along with him. I want to have dinner with him, I’m putting that out there! I want to have dinner with Anthony Bourdain!!

pardon my french michelle mognahan garance dore photo

Other things we discussed…
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
James Corden
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Annenberg

You can watch Michelle in The Path, which is now in its second season on Hulu.

Find more episodes of Pardon My French here, and subscribe on iTunes for a new episode every Thursday!


Add yours
  • She is so refreshing and human.

  • I love your podcasts Garance! And I can’t wait to hear this one! I love Michelle (mainly because I have seen her in two films with Robert Downey Jr, but she was hilarious and lovely in both of them!)
    Bisous, Faz

  • Such a lovely post! The photos are absolutely gorgeous.

    xo Mackenzie |

  • Chignon de douche, le retour ! ;-)

  • J’aime bien la couleur des ballerine <3

  • She is adoring, but the beautiful pumps from H&M? Unbelievable!

  • Garance you’re amazing !!!!! so glad that you are in So. Cal and are podcasting sunny vibes!!! Recommend this exhibit to you….

    Keep on shining!!!

    A dedicated Californian reader :)

  • Une jolie interview pleine de fraicheur, Michelle respire la joie de vivre ! Et moi aussi j’aime bien les émissions d’Anthony Bourdain :)

    Des bisous !


  • Chouette interview, comme toujours…!

    Je me permets de vous poser une petite question stylisme:
    Vous avez toujours la bonne idée de mettre les vêtements qui ont été portés sur les photos dans un link en bas de l’article. Mais est-ce qu’il s’agit toujours exactement de ces marques ou parfois, un simple clin d’oeil low cost? Je pense aux talons noirs de Garance qui viendraient de chez HM? Je les trouve pourtant beaucoup plus beaux en photos que dans le magasin!!!! Et le T-Shirt noire a une longueur de manche juste…parfaite! Par contre, je ne trouve pas qu’il s’agit exactement du même que celui proposé en-dessous et c’est dommage car j’en cherche un exactement pareil :-)!

    Merci pour vos feedbacks!!!!!


  • Les photos et les prises sont excellentes

  • Abby Wolner February, 24 2017, 8:42 / Reply

    I do wish you interviewed more minority women. I love Garance’s style, but I’m just in a space right now (and I imagine I’m not alone) where two white women chatting feels like missed mark. I realize this is not a political blog per say, and the content of the conversation need not be political. But more diversity of voices would be so appreciated!

  • Love your pumps Garance. Are they really from H&M. I won’t tell. The vamp looks different on your foot. I like the V shaped vamp. Hahah.
    It’ll be our secret.

  • Garance, if you haven’t heard it, I recommend the podcast On Being to you. The host, Krista Tippett, interviews people about spirituality in their lives. Her guests include religious leaders from many traditions but also artists, poets, scientists, psychologists, anyone with a unique perspective on the universe (everyone). She is a masterful interviewer and prepares extensively. I mention it because you said you think people are eager for religious/spiritual grounding. This podcast is beautiful and thoughtful.

  • Garance, I’m 21 and started reading your articles more than 6 years ago and it’s been amazing to see how much you’ve not only succeeded but also just evolved constantly. It’s still such a pleasure to check this blog because your voice is still so loud and clear throughout it.
    PS please cut your hair again!! It looked phenomenal!


  • You inspire, I’m an army vet and are a light, you can hear my story if ever want to

  • Great interview, and, I also love The Path!! Can’t wait for the next season…

  • nice article thank you for sharing

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