At 33 years old, actress Mandy Moore might not seem old enough to have sage advice for her younger self. But then again, she’s been working in the entertainment industry for 18 years, so she’s learned plenty along the way. At a recent luncheon hosted by American Express Blue Cash Everyday, Moore revealed what she wishes she knew 15 years ago. And it all revolves around a simple two-letter word: no.
She would encourage her teen self to have the “fearlessness,” as she puts it, to decline jobs she didn’t enthusiastically want to do. “I had a real difficulty, as I’m sure a lot of people do, with saying no,” she says.
On the flip side of things, Moore says while she couldn’t bring herself to turn down professional opportunities, she regrets saying “no” to other ones. “I remember traveling around the world, especially as a young person, and being like an old grandma already—saying no to experiences of exploring a city, going out to dinner, pushing my bedtime a little later and trying a new restaurant with some people I was working with in Prague,” she says.
“I had to go through this crazy trail to find my way to where I am now.”
In retrospect, Moore says, “I would tell myself to relax and have a little bit more fun. I look back now and go, ‘Well, it’s a little too late for me to do anything crazy—that ship has sailed.’”
On matters of love, however, Moore has zero regrets. “I wouldn’t have been ready for this particular relationship at any other point in my life until recently,” she says of new fiancé Taylor Goldsmith of the band Dawes. “I had a lot of work to do on myself, and I know that sounds so self help-y and silver lining, but I had to go through particular experiences to get me here. I would do it exactly the same way because it’s all a lesson, and there were beautiful moments in it. I realize I had to go through this crazy trail to find my way to where I am now.”