Gaux Girl - Daphne Oz2019-07-20
Daphne Oz's empire has been steadily growing since graduating from Princeton roughly ten years ago. She is a wealth of advice on everything from healthy eating to parenting tips - she's expecting baby #4 soon! - and has become one of those friendly voices you feel as if you know (even if simply via your television screen or podcast-playing earphones).
Regarding that last bit, the avenues by which you might have encountered Daphne are many. Whether from her stint as a co-host on The Chew or the new judge of FOX’s hit show MasterChef Junior, to her podcast Mom Brain, an unfiltered opportunity for her to dish on motherhood with Hilaria Baldwin, she’s perfected the knack of connecting no matter the medium. The written word is no exception either: A New York Times best-selling author, she followed up her debut book The Dorm Room Diet with collections of recipes and lifestyle tips tracking her own growth from co-ed to wife and mother.
All in all, it’s Daphne’s warm, approachable manner that made us feel like she's a Gaux Girl we've known for years. We asked her to share what the future might hold in the land of Oz, plus the advice she's never forgotten and what parenting young children has taught her.
Your career is built on dispensing tips for healthy eating and living and balancing the demands of modern-day life. Where or who do you go to when you need information or advice?
I am really curious about best practices for taking care of my family from the inside out, so I’m always reading and researching — it could be articles or magazines or just good old fashioned instagram stalking to find the experts other friends of mine in the space follow and learn from. I pepper everyone I meet with tons of (probably inappropriately personal) questions about their lives and favorite products or treatments or amazing practitioners. Almost all the men in my family are surgeons, and my mother and grandmother are really into alternative medicine and nutrition, so I love blending eastern and western modalities of treating the whole body. I learn so much from meeting chefs or great home cooks, wandering farmers markets, and figuring out the wisdom behind how different cultures treat the body with delicious, wholesome recipes. My process has always been to make myself the guinea pig and then to share the rituals, habits and principles that really work. My first book The Dorm Room Diet documented the effective lifestyle changes I made to lose 40 pounds as a freshman in college without sacrificing any of the traditional college experience I wanted. My books since — Relish and The Happy Cook — have done something similar in adapting the things that work in my own life at different stages, whether that's delicious, healthy recipes, style and makeup hacks, or parenting tricks of the trade to share with readers. My hope is to make healthy living intuitive, not another thing that feels stressful and confusing.
Is there a touchstone piece of advice or a mantra-type phrase you routinely reach for when making tough decisions?
In life, my guiding principle tends to be live in love, not fear. I feel like the more I’ve gotten to know myself, the more I’ve trusted that I know what I like, I know what feels right, I know what I can realistically take on and what I can’t. Saying no to the wrong things can be as important as saying yes to the right ones.
You began your television career in your mid-20s and grew up in front of the public in many ways. What was that experience like?
I started hosting The Chew at 24 and was figuring out how to be on TV next to veterans of the industry in front of millions of eyeballs at the dawn of social media, so I got some immediate and not always flattering feedback on my performance. And that’s fine! People would love or hate the exact same segment and that taught me two important lessons: 1) you can’t please everybody, and 2) what mattered was being authentically me, learning on my feet, and giving our audience something valuable every day. I made it my mission to be a really good listener and to ask smart questions. Gradually, I became more comfortable in my own skin — part of that is just a function of age. The whole experience taught me how to truly forget the cameras are there and just exist. Live in the moment, let the candid fun happen, share the insights you have and know that the people who want to connect with you are doing just that.
Having a family also changed the game for me, because it gave a whole new dimension and perspective to the job that I do at work and the job that I do at home as mother and wife. I am so grateful not only for the fulfillment I get from both these worlds, but also for the incredible opportunities to try to live my own life a little better each day and share the lessons I learn along the way with my community.
From books to television to podcasts, your career has spanned so many different mediums. What’s the next platform you’d like to try?
Video is my favorite format, so I’m going to be playing more with Youtube this year.
Would your teenage self be surprised by your career path?
Haha, I think so? My teenage self thought I might be a surgeon or a luxury beachwear and fragrance designer…there’s still time!
You have three young children at home and number four is on the way. What has parenting young children taught you about life?
That the small things are as important as the big ones, and what you do most of the time is truly what counts. There are weeks where work takes up a ton of my time and I might not be the mom that always gets to do drop off and pick up, but our family routine of bath and books and bedtime is so critical to my kids feeling the presence and consistency of my love. And the days when I’m not working I try not to be on my phone much or distracted in other ways. I make an effort to plan fun things for us to do together, even if it’s just trying a new recipe or art project. Everything in my life these days is flexible and honestly I like it that way. I’m thrilled that no two days are the same and that I’m constantly learning and adapting, another thing kids will teach you: never get comfortable, because that’s when you’re in trouble!
What does being a girl on the gaux mean to you?
It means enjoying the journey as much as the destination, running at the things you want, and feeling effortlessly comfortable in your skin as much as possible.
Photos by Heather Holt for Margaux