- Sutton Foster is sharing how crafting has helped her cope with anxiety.
- The Broadway actress partnered with JOANN for World Mental Health Day to raise awareness and send an important message to young people.
- “From the outside, I look like a very successful, well-put-together person, but I also have things that I deal with, and it’s important to not be afraid to ask for help.”
Sutton Foster is busy. The 47-year-old stars on Broadway, wrote a book (Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life was released last year), and partnered with JOANN for world mental health day last week.
Mental health is something that’s long been important to the star. Foster tells Prevention that as a child, she grew up with an agoraphobic mother, which she said led in part to her own battle with anxiety. “I have a history, myself, of dealing with anxiety, especially when I was growing up and in my 20s and early 30s. My mother was agoraphobic…she had pretty severe mental issues—undiagnosed,” Foster says. “Growing up, sort of navigating a complicated home, I think I had a lot of anxiety and stress.”
So how did she learn to cope? According to Foster, she got into crafting through her mother, who passed along her cross-stitching skills. “Cross-stitching was my ‘gateway craft,’” Foster jokingly recalls. “My mom used to cross-stitch Christmas ornaments and bookmarks, and what I find so beautiful is I know that she made them with her hands and put all this love into them and they live on forever.”
For Foster, crafting has not only helped her manage anxiety but it’s also helped her cope with a stressful Broadway career. “Sometimes the more stressful the situation, the more prolific I can be. In the weeks leading up to the opening of Music Man, I was incredibly prolific and made so many things!”
Through it all, she’s held onto her sense of humor. “I know everything, I’m completely mature and very well marinated,” she says of being an adult. But, she still gets anxious and faces battles like everyone else. “Because I’m human,” she says. “But I definitely have more perspective and maybe it’s just because I’ve been alive longer and had to deal with different things…I think I’m happier in my 40s than I’ve ever been.” She iterates that you have a little more ease and confidence in who you are as you get older, and care less about what other people think of you.
“It’s important to me, especially because I work with so many young people. I wanted [them] to know that [they’re] not alone.” She says that there are things you can do to make you feel better and help you through your day. “I’m just sharing what I do and what I like…there’s so many things out there that can bring you joy and happiness.”
And, of course, don’t always believe what you see on TV or social media. “From the outside, I look like a very successful, well-put-together person,” she says. “But I also have things that I deal with, and it’s important to not be afraid to ask for help.”
Madeleine, Prevention’s assistant editor, has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD, and from her personal research at university. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience—and she helps strategize for success across Prevention’s social media platforms.