“Workin’ Moms” Star Catherine Reitman On Her New Show And The Art Of Comedy
As a working mother herself, Los Angeles-born actress Catherine Reitman knows about the various challenges of raising a family while balancing a fast-paced entertainment career. Perhaps it’s this heartfelt personal experience which has brought the 35-year-old actress and comedian to her latest project.
Appropriately titled Workin’ Moms, Reitman’s new and original CBC series features the lives of four busy modern mothers. As the show’s creator and leading lady, Reitman depicts Kate Foster and stars alongside Dani Kind, Juno Rinaldi and Jessalyn Wanlim. The showrunner and funnywoman has collaborated with her husband, producer and actor Philip Sternberg, for her latest gig.
Real Style spoke to the down-to-earth and talented star about drawing inspiration from her own jam-packed lifestyle to create Workin’ Moms. From her personal struggles with post-partum depression to navigating the challenges of comedy, here’s what Reitman had to share with us.
Workin’ Moms premieres Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET/ 10 p.m. NT on CBC.
Real Style: What should audiences know about your new show Workin’ Moms?
Catherine: I felt a lot of responsibility in creating a show about working mothers. I wanted to honour things that were very true to me, that were real aspects of being a working mother myself, and the fears of going back to work. Do I still have what it takes? Will I still be seen as sexy or smart, or fast, or competent? How does my identity change? The identity crisis of the show, you can really witness through these four women. Not only do I really connect with my character, I really connect with all four.
Real Style: Tell us more about your personal inspiration for the series.
Catherine: The show is about the identity crisis that happens after you give birth, if you choose to go back to work. It’s something that I haven’t really witnessed on TV before. I went back to work six weeks after giving birth to my first son. I suffered from some pretty bad post-partum depression, and I was shooting this scene in Philadelphia. I was surrounded by these male comedians, who started giving me hell because I was missing my first Mother’s Day. We were laughing, but it was also really painful. I started crying, and when I got back to my hotel room, I called my husband Phil [Sternberg]. We talked about it, and realized that there’s really important content here. We were hoping to create a show that women could feel catharsis with; they could watch it and relate to.
Real Style: How did you find working alongside your husband and producing partner, Philip Sternberg?
Catherine: Working with your husband is hard! It’s really, really hard. You have someone who you’re with around the clock. When you go home, the work brain doesn’t just turn off. We are still talking about the highlights and lowlights of the day. In many ways, it’s great. If you had a partner who didn’t share your field, you wouldn’t be able to connect in that way. Over a glass of wine, we can commiserate about the highs and lows, but you’re also always working. Not to mention, you don’t want to disappoint him. It’s like having this person who knows me so well witnessing every low point of the day.
Real Style: How has your personal experience been, as a working mother in the entertainment industry?
Catherine: It’s non-stop! Almost every single day, I have a moment where I feel like I can’t deal with it anymore. That’s really challenging, but it’s also exhilarating. I feel really lucky that I’m in this luxurious place where I get to do it. I get help, I get the opportunity to tell stories and go somewhere every day. I’ve done the stay-at-home mom thing too, and that’s probably more challenging. Being a woman and being a mother is something that I just have an incredible amount of passion for.
Real Style: What encouraged you to become a comedic actress?
Catherine: Since I was a little girl, I liked making people laugh. That felt like something that came naturally to me, and something that made me really happy. Since a young age, I was putting on plays for my family and at school, so it was kind of the natural fit.
Real Style: What are some of the toughest aspects of comedy? They say funny business is tough business!
Catherine: I’ve been doing comedy a long time. I’ve been an actress longer than I’ve been a writer, director or showrunner. At this point, the comedy comes a lot easier to me than the responsibility of telling on a story. I shot a sizzle when I sold the show that sort of establishes the tone of the world in which we tell. We didn’t want to make a broad comedy, we wanted to make something that felt real. The more challenging aspect of telling this particular comedy was making sure that there was always earth underneath it, and that it always felt real.
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