Whether she was moving and grooving in the Disney Channel’s hit High School Musical TV film series, or rock n’ rolling through an obstacle course in VH1’s 2010 season of Celebrity Fit Club, KayCee Stroh has showed that she’s got some moves.
But now, after giving birth last May to her first child, Zetta Lee, she is blissfully dancing to a new tune: motherhood.
KayCee, 29, shared with me how motherhood has changed her, and what she is looking forward to both as a mom and an actress/performer.
“Zetta Lee” is a beautiful name. What is the origin of your daughter’s name?
Well, it’s kind of a crazy story actually. I love Z names, and I’ve always loved the way double T’s look in a signature. One day I was standing in the kitchen, and it was almost like it was whispered to me. I instantly loved it!
A few days later when I told my grandmother about the name, she reminded me that my great grandmother (who I share the same birthday with) was named Rosetta! Although I had never met her, I have always loved hearing stories about her. Even stranger, I had been decorating Zetta’s nursery with a rose fabric theme.
So, although I had initially not thought it was a family name, it turned out that it actually was! The “Lee” comes from my mother; it is her middle name so we thought that would be a fun way of honoring her.
What does a typical day look like for you right now?
Zetta and I have a very packed schedule full of singing, dancing, reading and napping, Whenever she goes down, I always make a mad dash to do the laundry, clean, put an audition on tape, do an interview, prepare for an event, or throw something in the crock pot.
The only thing that is truly scheduled right now is that she goes to bed around 11 pm and usually sleeps till 7 am! Every day my job is different, but I feel very blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, and I have the opportunity to live my dream as well.
What makes you most happy as a mother?
Watching her learn! You’ve never seen two people look more idiotic than Ben (my husband) and I cheering when she reached out and swatted the lion stuffed animal above her play mat! When she mimicked me sticking out my tongue, I almost cried from joy.
I’m trying so hard to make sure she gets everything she needs to develop properly, and I’m encouraging her intelligence. So, I think I get great fulfillment when she reaches these milestones early.
I just showed my 9-year-old son the High School Musical 1 movie with you singing how your secret passion is hip-pop and that you love to “pop and lock and jam and break.” Do you sing to your daughter?
Yes, constantly! In fact, we have 3 favorites right now. Our morning song is: Good Morning (from the Singing in the Rain film). We sing this one every morning, and she grins and coos like crazy — it just starts the day off right!
The other two are…
Daytime song: Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink. You just can’t be sad when singing this song, and I always want her to know how loved she is.
Goodnight song: Bye Baby Bunting. It’s our special cuddle time song. We rock and sing this in our big nursery chair… works every time!
What’s been the most difficult thing about motherhood thus far?
Unfortunately, Zetta has a little colic, so breastfeeding has been exhausting and frustrating at times. I have to burp her so often during a feeding. The true frustration is seeing her in pain.
I remember when I was growing up I would get so annoyed with my mother because she always wanted to “fix things.” I used to say: “I just need to vent; don’t tell me what to do and how to fix the problem.” I now realize that this is a built-in mom mechanism. It kills me to see Zetta suffer, and I would do anything to make it better!
Anything you miss from pre-motherhood days?
I sometimes miss the spontaneity. The days of “Hey you want to go to a movie?” are long gone. It just takes a little bit more planning and time to work things out these days, but I know it’s all worth it.
Even though it’s only been a few months, do you think motherhood has changed you?
I feel like my eyes have been opened to a whole new world. There are new products and so many more things to know. And, I have developed a much deeper understanding of love. I’m even starting to understand the mommy lingo! I sometimes wonder how I didn’t know about all of this before!
What would people be surprised to learn about you as a new mom?
I think everyone sees my glamorous “Hollywood” side, but they might be surprised that I’ve become quite a naturalist because of this step in my life. For example, I’m a big fan of natural, non-GMO, and organic. Instead of reaching to the medicine cabinet, I like to try natural remedies, such as essential oils first. My family jokingly calls me their Glamorous Granola, and my sister always says that Zetta’s so strong because she’s our organic baby. Haha.
You’ve talked a lot in the press about your weight struggles and even participated as a cast member on Celebrity Fit Club; what do you want your daughter to know about self-image, weight and health growing up?
I am trying very hard to raise her with healthy habits and live by example now. I just want her to know that if you’re healthy and take care of yourself, then that is all that matters. If you do those things and don’t happen to fit the photo-shopped “beauty” image that society tries to sell you…then brush it off! You’re beautiful. God made you the way you are for a reason, and He doesn’t make mistakes.
What was your best memory from being in the High School Musical movies?
At one of the premieres, Celine Dion approached me and told me that she loved my work. I stood there like a blubbering idiot because I couldn’t find the right words. It was at that moment when I realized that if Celine Dion can appreciate my talents, I must be doing something right! The fans (Celine included) make all of the hard work worth it.
As far as filming goes, filming High School Musical 2 was my favorite. We all had our own casitas and were living next to each other, so it really brought us together as a cast. We would film all day and then evenings were like a summer neighborhood block party. You should have seen people’s faces when we would all walk into Denny’s restaurant at 1 am. It was pretty priceless.
What’s next for you personally and professionally?
Oh goodness, where to begin?! Of course, acting, singing and choreographing are my main priorities (besides being a wife and mom!), but I would also love to do a line of plus-size clothing, including maternity, work-out and shape wear. I wouldn’t mind doing a little bit of hosting as well!
What are you most excited about in terms of your future?
Now that I’m getting a little older and have become a mom, I think it really broadens my spectrum as far as acting goes. I’m excited for the wide variety of roles that I feel I will be able to play.
As far as my family life goes, I look forward to having more siblings for Zetta, building our home, and growing older with the love of my life!
What celebrity mom would you love to have a child play date with?
I have always admired Sandra Bullock; I think she is such a natural actress and comes across as a beautiful person inside and out. I can imagine she’s probably a really great mom too, and I would love to get her advice in every category!
If a movie producer made a musical about your family right now, what a) would be the title, and b) what would be the hit song?
Haha, great question! Well, I have a very tight-knit family. There is always something going on, and we joke around about us all being so enmeshed. So, I would probably say the title would be “Cirque de Strohleil,” and our hit song would be “The FUN in dysfunctional”!
Family Photos Credit: Ciara Richardson Photography
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