Parade Rewind with Kristin Chenoweth: The Benefits of Being 4'11'' and Her Surprise Asthma Diagnosis

Parade Rewind with Kristin Chenoweth: The Benefits of Being 4'11'' and Her Surprise Asthma Diagnosis

via parade.com http://parade.condenast.com/287853/erinhill/kristin-chenoweth-parade-rewind-what-she-sings-in-the-shower-the-benefits-of-being-411-and-her-surprise-asthma-diagnosis/ Kristin Chenoweth stopped by to chat with Parade about her most famous roles, the pros and cons of being 4’11”, her surprise asthma diagnosis, and more. May is Asthma Awareness Month. Tell us about your partnership with the Know Your Count program. “About 10 years ago, I just couldn’t get my breath. I was constantly breathing and coughing and my mom finally said, ‘go to the doctor; find out what’s wrong with you,’ which seems silly because you’re supposed to listen to your body and I wasn’t doing that. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with asthma, and since then, I’ve become aware of just how many people in our country have it. Twenty-five million Americans have asthma and now I’m working with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to help raise awareness and spread the word about our Know Your Count campaign, which is a really easy message. On our inhalers, there is a dose counter and we should always have that because if you reach for your inhaler and you don’t have any medication with you, you should know it. It saves lives and it’s very basic. And for Asthma Awareness Month, Teva Respiratory is donating $1 for every hit on the site for children to go to a camp this summer.” How has asthma impacted your singing career? “Being a singer and a dancer and actress on Broadway or film or TV, it’s a constant challenge to stay healthy, so add on top of that asthma. Last time I was on Broadway, I was doing Promises, Promises and there’s a big scene where I get really sad and attempt to take my own life and I remember laying in the bed and I’m supposed to be still, but I couldn’t breath. And my costar Sean Hayes could tell I was struggling and he brought my inhaler.” What songs do you sing around the house or in the shower? “There’s always ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ because I remember singing myself to sleep to that song. But I have to say, Trisha Yearwood’s ‘How Do I Live How Do I Live.’ I always test out my yodel to that song.” Did you always want to be a singer? “It was my original dream to be a ballerina. I was in the Nutcracker and I always used to sing in church, but I hadn’t done a solo or anything like that yet. I was cast as a rabbit in the Nutcracker because I didn’t fit into the other costumes and the rabbit just sits next to Clara in act two. There was no dancing, which was devastating to me. But one of the Sugar Plum Fairies dropped their wreath on the floor and I remember at that moment thinking, ‘what would a bunny do?’ So in the middle of the ballet in Tulsa, Oklahoma at our professional ballet company theater, I hopped over, put the wreath in my mouth and hopped back and the place went crazy. You don’t really get standing ovations in the middle of the ballet and it was the first time I felt that I was supposed to be onstage. So when my feet were flat and I didn’t grow, I started to focus on music. I never really struggled with what my passion was.” What was it like growing up in Oklahoma? “I grew up in a town called Broken Arrow, yes, it actually exists! It’s cow country, rancher, farmer. We lived in the big city; my dad owned a construction company. The thing that I’m most proud of is that it’s a community. People might know everybody’s business, but they actually care, and when push comes to shove, if somebody’s in trouble, we all band together. That’s the thing that I’m most proud about Oklahoma. And when I go back home, I go to Sonic and I still go to 7-11 and all the things that make me feel happy, but I really go home because of my family and the people. That’s my roots and that’s where I feel strongest.” What were you like in high school? “I was an interesting kid because I grew up in Friday Night Lights land — football —so Glee was not popular. I was in the choir, but there was like four or us. I did drama, but I was the only lead. Cheerleading was a way for me to perform. So people say, ‘oh you were one of those girls,’ but I was kind of the nerdy one because I did choir and drama and I did Meals on Wheels. I loved opera and Barbra Streisand, so I looked for ways to perform. I think people confuse me with Glinda in Wicked and that I was Miss Perfect.” You have so many famous roles. Which one to people like to come up and talk to you about most? “I never know what’s coming. I was doing mall walking in Detroit and this woman came up and was like, ‘oh my gosh, Sesame Street was so cute.’ I never know whether it’s going to be West Wing or Glee or Pushing Daisies or Wicked or Promises, Promises or I saw you on Ellen DeGeneres. I like that because it doesn’t pigeonhole me as one thing. I love when somebody randomly comes up and goes, ‘I saw you on Frasier, you were his junior agent.’ You just never know.” How was your experience voicing the frog Gabi in Rio 2? “Doing animated movies is like hand in glove’ it fits. I’m so proud that people like the story. I’m a new character, Gabi, the pink poisonous frog who is in love with Nigel, who doesn’t even know she’s alive and if she kissed him, she’d kill him. It’s always fun to play an underdog; only she’s an underfrog! I’ve fallen in complete love with Gabi.” Is there anything about you that may surprise your fans? “I love anything on the Investigation Discovery channel: Wives with Knives, Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry, I’ve always been very interested in forensics and probably would have been a forensic scientist if I hadn’t gone into this line of work. I love trying to solve things I see on TV. I have a big fascination with serial killers, this is taking such a weird turn, but I try to understand is why people are the way they are.” What are the pros and cons of being short? “I’m famous for the lack of height that I have. I’m 4’11. The advantages are that I can weave in and out of a crowd and no one knows I’m there, the disadvantages are that I can weave in and out of a crowd and be knocked over, I can get sucker punched by somebody’s elbow on the streets of New York and they don’t even know it, I can get sliced by an umbrella. Trying to unload the dishwasher is like a monkey in a jungle, I climb, climb, climb. I am never going to be taller than any date, that’s a plus. I struggle where I buy my clothes, Gap Kids, but then they’re cheaper. So there always is a silver lining!”