Rachel Montez Minor is an actress who has appeared on Broadway (in The Producers), in movies (including Rent) and on TV (Nip/Tuck, Without a Trace & The Mentalist). She’s also a yoga teacher and meditation practitioner with decades of experience. Now, this Renaissance woman and mom of one is adding children’s book author to her very full resume. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars is a lyrical read celebrating diversity, love, and family. We spoke to Rachel about her newest project, how her 3-year-old daughter inspires her work, and more.
Congratulations on your new book! How did you come up with the concept?
Thank you so much for your support of my new children’s book. I actually never decided to ‘write a children’s book’, the book chose me! I was pregnant with my daughter, Brodie Nakia, who is now 3 years old, and the title of the book, “The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars,” woke me up, and then the entire book came to me. So, I came up with the concept by going to sleep that night! This book truly is a message from the stars…
Wow! Can you tell us about the audio component, on Listening Library?
We thought that for a children’s audiobook, it would be great to add something special, since you can’t see the beautiful illustrations on an audiobook. So, my husband, musical director Rickey Minor, and I decided to write an exclusive lullaby called, “You Are Always Loved” that will play right after I read the audiobook. It will be great for a car ride, or to help calm your kids before bedtime. My daughter asks for it every night, so that’s a great sign!
Nice! How else did becoming a mom inspire this book?
Becoming a Mom is the only reason that this book was written! I like to say that this book is my daughter’s message to the world. I was pregnant with her when it was gifted to me, and she is the inspiration, the magic, and the reason that this book came to be. My whole career changed from the moment I got pregnant. I was a professional dancer, actor, and singer for twenty years, and now I am an author. Twelve books have since come to me in dreams, so it’s safe to say that becoming a Mom literally gave me a whole new career. There are so many careers that we can pursue, so many gifts that we all have, and we are here to share them with the world!
What does your daughter think of your book?
My daughter LOVES the book and carries it around with her like it is her favorite stuffed animal. She knows that it is ‘Mommy’s’ book, and that I wrote it, which just cracks my heart wide open!
Awww, so sweet! You’ve been a yoga teacher and mediation practitioner for many years – what impact have these practices had on your life? And as a mom?
Yoga and meditation are such a huge part of my life. I believe this book came to me because I created the space, through yoga and meditation, to allow inspiration and magic to come in. We all have the ability to tune in to our inner wisdom, guidance and the more subtle parts of ourselves. It is in these quiet moments, whether it is practicing yoga, taking a walk by the ocean, or simply staring up at the sky and trees, that your inner voice and inspiration can come through. Or in my case, when you are sleeping! Don’t wake the dreamer… And yes Mamas, yoga cultivates patience, being centered and staying grounded, so it is essential to my motherhood journey.
What do you recommend for moms looking to get into these practices?
The beauty is that yoga and meditation are everywhere now. We can find it online, on apps, on the TV, in gyms, and at parks. I have used YogaGlo, Wanderlust, and YogaWorks for online classes, but there are truly SO MANY that are wonderful and magical. The most important thing to remember is it’s about the breath. Make time for you–time to connect to the deepest part of you…even if it is just sitting in child’s pose and breathing at the end of a long day. Deep breathe in, deep breath out…you are doing yoga! The light in me, sees and honors the light in you. Namaste!
What are your favorite roles you’ve been in so far?
It is so hard to decide a favorite project that I have worked on. I was always just SO grateful to be working and able to make a living off of my passion, but I loved dancing and singing in the movie musicals, ‘The Producers’ and ‘Rent.’ I grew up watching musicals, so to be on the set of major musical features, was a dream realized for the little kid in me. I also loved all of the touring and traveling, and being able to perform for, and meet, the Obamas at the Kennedy Center Honors was a career highlight for sure!
What’s next for you – are you taking on more acting roles? Or other projects?
Ya know, you never know what’s next! Clearly, that was the case with this book. That is the true beauty of this journey we are all on. I like to lean into the ‘let go and trust’, as opposed to the plan out everything model. So, I can honestly say that I don’t know what’s next in terms of going back into performing in show biz. I am currently working on my next children’s book with my editor and developing another book that came to me. Maybe it will be a feature some day? I’ll probably add a few dance numbers in it!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for your time, and remember the message of, “The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars”… ‘You are the universe, and the universe is you!’ Shine your light on the world and each other. We are all so deeply connected under the sun, the moon, and the stars.