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Hallmark Star Bethany Joy Lenz Opens Up About Self-Care, Her Latest Rom-Com and More (EXCLUSIVE)

For actress, musician, mom and entrepreneur Bethany Joy Lenz, every day is a juggling act — not only is she a Hallmark Channel fixture, she also hosts a podcast, Drama Queens, and recently launched a printed newsletter, Modern Vintage.

On top of that, she’s releasing her memoir, Dinner for Vampires, later this year, so it’s no surprise when the multitalented star says her life can get a bit hectic and stressful. “I definitely have ADHD,” she explains, “So the fact that my brain is always on, always analyzing, that can be difficult to manage.”

Born in Hollywood, Florida, Joy, as she’s known to friends and family, is best known for her portrayal of Haley James Scott on the juicy teen drama One Tree Hill, which ran from 2003 to 2012. Prior to that, she had her breakout role on the soap opera Guiding Light.

Now living in Nashville with her daughter and two Great Pyrenees, Henry and Charlotte, Bethany Joy Lenz can soon be seen in Hallmark’s Savoring Paris. As the cover girl of our latest issue of FIRST for Women (get your copy here!), Joy spoke about her latest projects and how she finds balance in her busy life.

Bethany Joy Lenz cover
FIRST for Women

FIRST for Women: How has your approach to creativity changed over the years?

Bethany Joy Lenz: I think catharsis was probably a word that was really useful for me in the past. I don’t know that I approach my work in the same way anymore.

I’ve evolved into another state of being while I’m working. So, for me now, it feels like if I need to be released from anything, it would be pent-up creativity. Just the need to create and express and solve problems and just be myself.

Bethany Joy Lenz, 2004
Bethany Joy Lenz in 2004Getty

FFW: How does music add to your overall well-being, both physically and emotionally?

Bethany Joy Lenz: I think music gives us a language that we don’t have in day-to-day interactions. And it’s a language of the heart and soul. It’s a universal language.

When you’re just taking a moment with music, whether it’s rap, opera, rock or classical, or whatever speaks to you in the moment, it’s releasing you. You can just feel free to express yourself and for me, that’s what it is. Music is something that is in you. I need music like I need air.

The actress in 2020
Bethany Joy Lenz in 2020Getty

FFW: With such a busy schedule, where do you find the time to exercise?

Bethany Joy Lenz: I have two big dogs and they need to be walked, so I do a lot of that. My daughter likes basketball, so we’re out in the driveway and playing basketball sometimes. I do try and put exercise into my daily activities rather than doing push-ups or pull-ups. Some days I might do a 15-minute circuit if I need to get stress out.

FFW: How do you go about relieving stress?

Bethany Joy Lenz: When I can quiet my brain, I read. I really do love to read. I love disappearing into a world of characters. When you’re reading, you’re really getting inside someone else’s brain, and that to me is such a sacred, special experience.

I’m reading a book by Mona Awad called Rouge. It’s not a genre I’ve ever read before, so I’m really enjoying that. Another thing I love to do is paint. I put on music and can find another place in my heart and my mind, and it’s quiet and relaxing.

The actress in 2019
Bethany Joy Lenz in 2019Getty

FFW: How do your days usually begin?

Bethany Joy Lenz: Coffee or tea depending on what I’m in the mood for. A shot of espresso with a little foam. Or a cup of PG Tips tea. I get honey from the local farmers’ market and add some. I try to buy local and organic as much as I can and keep it really simple. I try not to stock up. I prefer to buy what we’re actually going to use.

FFW: Tell us about your Drama Queens podcast with your fellow One Tree Hill alums, Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton Morgan.

Bethany Joy Lenz: It’s a podcast where we rewatch One Tree Hill and talk about what we remember and our experiences on set. It started out as a reclamation of time, friendships and so many things we felt were lost and taken away from us during the show. We wanted to reclaim that and have a positive experience, and give back to the fans as well.

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush, 2022
Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush in 2022Getty

FFW: What inspired you to start your newsletter, Modern Vintage?

Bethany Joy Lenz: I want to give people a space to not be tuned into their phone but still be stimulated. I was raised by teachers, so a lot of my childhood was spent asking questions. I was taught to question my own thoughts about life in many ways.

Because we’re always on our phone and the algorithms know our brains and habits so well, it just feeds us what we’re supposed to think or believe. I wanted to create a space where people could get used to stretching their critical thinking muscle within a low-threat environment.

FFW: Your upcoming Hallmark movie, Savoring Paris, finds your character disillusioned with her life, so she goes on a soul-searching journey. Have you ever had a soul-searching journey of your own?

Bethany Joy Lenz: I did, when I was 20. I did the same thing my character does. I went to Paris and wanted to find romance and have a great experience. I ended up having a terrible experience and it was not the soul-finding trip I was hoping for. I think a soul-searching journey for me has been more lifelong and day to day, rather than one particular trip or one particular moment.

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