Go Away With … Mandy Moore

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
May 19, 2009

Once known as that other blonde girl who wasn’t Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore has managed to grow up in public and carve out a strong career for herself without finding her face splashed in the tabloids. After releasing her debut album a decade ago, Moore won roles in such films as “Saved!” and “A Walk to Remember.” She hits the road this month to promote her latest album, “Amanda Leigh,” which will be in stores on May 26.

“I love music and that’s what I’m most passionate about in terms of a career,” says Moore, 25, who married rocker Ryan Adams this past March. “But as soon as the record comes out and I’ve been out on the road for a little bit, the focus will shift back to doing some more acting. I enjoy being creative, but I just don’t want to spread myself too thin.”

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
Tokyo. We just got back from there. I have been there about four or five times and I love it. I immediately love the feeling of when you land. It’s just a breath of fresh air. I know what to expect, but there’s still a sense of sensory overload. It’s a bit overwhelming and wonderful at the same time.

Q. What are some of your favorite hotels and restaurants?
I love sushi, which is one of the reasons why I love going to Japan. It’s my favorite cuisine. When we go to Tokyo, I always stay at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi (www.tokyo.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp). I love the aesthetics. It’s so beautiful. I also eat at the hotel’s Oak Door (restaurant), which is known for their steaks and red meat. I’m usually not a big meat eater, but they have the best steaks and really good burgers. I also love the Chambers Hotel (www.chambersminneapolis.com) in Minneapolis and the hotel restaurant (Chambers Kitchen) is excellent!

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
I love Big Sur (California) and would get away there every weekend if I could. I find that the drive is one of the best parts of the trip — equal parts energizing and relaxing. The vibe up there is so peaceful and pitch perfect for some quiet writing time.

Q. Have you ever been guilty of being an “ugly American”?
I really hope not! I’m a bit shy, so I tend to not blurt things out and I try to be respectful wherever I am. I fit in pretty well in the Japanese culture because I’m big on thank-yous and I don’t feel I’m being overly polite there because the Japanese are so polite.

Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
I went on vacation to Mexico during an extreme heat wave with my best girlfriends a few years ago. On day one, we all got completely sunburned and seasick from a boat ride over humongous waves. We also had food poisoning. We were all relegated to bed for the next day or two before deciding to head home for some real relaxation.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
I always overpack, but I always make room for little snacks for the plane ride. It’s comforting to have them with me.

Q. Have you always been a good traveler?
Yes. I love traveling. My dad’s an airline pilot so traveling is ingrained in the very fiber of who I am.


© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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