Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style
Chloé Zuel

Chloé Zuel On Preparing For Her Biggest Role Yet: Motherhood

Chloé Zuel is a musical theatre star with impressive accolades. Her biggest part to date was Eliza Hamilton in the hit musical Hamilton in Australia. We sat down with Chloé when she was 34 weeks pregnant and chatted about her career so far, building self-confidence, and what she’s learnt from pregnancy.

Hamilton, Six the Musical, Disney 100, West Side Story, Les Misérables, Hairspray. These are just some of the theatre credits on Chloé Zuel’s resume. The Australian performer has had an illustrious career so far, and now she’s ready to take on her biggest role yet: motherhood.

Chloé always envisioned herself becoming a mother. She grew up in the suburbs of Sydney with her mum, and when she was eight years old her stepdad entered the picture. She has two brothers who are 15 and 13 years younger than her, and she helped out when they were babies.

“When I was a little kid I thought I’d have babies at 25 when I was ‘grown up’, but when I got to 25 I definitely wasn’t ready to do it then!” she says. “The industry I’m in definitely makes a  lot of us feel like Peter Pan I think…”

Chloé’s husband Rob Mallett is also in the musical theatre industry, and is currently playing Elvis in Elvis: A Musical Revolution. They met on the stage production of Les Misérables in 2014. “When I met Rob, not only did I know that he was my person, but I could just see him as a beautiful father and that made me really excited to eventually do parenthood with him,” Chloé says.

Chloé knew she was destined for the stage from a young age. She took dancing, singing and acting lessons, and had dreams of travelling the world performing. She was just a teenager when she turned her passion into a career. At 18 years old, she performed at an NYE event at the JW Marriott in Mumbai, India. At 19, she was a lead singer at Universal Studios in Japan, where she stayed for two years.

When she returned to Australia in 2010, Chloé made her debut in the musical theatre industry, bagging a role in Hairspray. Chloé attributes her big break largely to luck. “I think so much of my life is being in the right place at the right time, paired with hard work and skill, of course,” she explains humbly. “I happened to come home from Japan at the right time when a show that I was suited to was coming, and it let me into the music theatre world, which is extremely competitive and hard to get into.”

“I want my baby to feel loved, supported, safe and encouraged for its whole life. I hope we can grow together and teach each other things along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing the world through my child’s eyes with a new appreciation and understanding.”
Chloé Zuel
Chloé Zuel

Her real sliding door moment came in 2013 when she had to choose between two job offers. “I was offered a place in both Les Misérables and The Lion King. I chose Les Mis and met my husband there. Talk about serendipity!”

Being in the spotlight is something Chloé was born to do, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Chloé admits to suffering from extreme anxiety and panic attacks due to imposter syndrome and the fear that she isn’t living up to expectations – expectations, she notes, she often places on herself. 

“Growing up as a dancer meant staring in a mirror in every class, so comparing yourself is almost unavoidable,” she says. “When you’re dancing in a group you are asked to match the people near you, be in unison and sometimes be in competition with them. It definitely makes it difficult to have a measured sense of self.”

“I spend a lot of time being extremely vulnerable in front of people, whether in an audition or on stage, leaving me open to judgement and criticism,” Chloé says. “It has definitely been a journey for me to trust and believe that I can do this job and that I deserve my place in the industry.”

For Chloé, building self-confidence is a “daily hill to climb which takes an active mindset reframing, but I’m even more motivated to push forward with it now knowing I’m bringing a little impressionable human into the world who I would love to set a good example for.” She is grateful to be surrounded by “incredible, supportive friends who are all creative and special in their own ways.” 

During her pregnancy, Chloé toured with Disney 100: The Concerts – a job she gushes about and describes as a real “pinch me moment”. “There were moments in every show where I had tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to share it with my baby.”

“Physically, it was a little challenging as my breath and voice changed during pregnancy and then as I got bigger I found wearing heels and supporting my body a little harder, but mainly I just felt grateful.”

Chloé Zuel
Chloé Zuel

Being a performer, Chloé needs to keep fit and healthy. She loves hot yoga, Pilates, and trampolining (she has her own trampoline and loves taking The Ness’s online classes), but during her first trimester she struggled with nausea, so jumping was out of the question, and doing inversions in a hot yoga room was no longer appealing.

“I went in search of great prenatal Pilates and landed on Bodylove prenatal Pilates, which has been so wonderful,” she says. “I’ve had the mindset that birth is like a big marathon and I wanted to train and feel fit for it. Bodylove has great prenatal classes and teachers that have made me feel safe and strong. I’m hoping I can continue all the way up to 40 weeks!”

As well as switching up her exercise routine, Chloé also had to find a new way to dress her growing bump. “The first trimester is definitely a tricky one!” remembers Chloe. “My clothes stopped fitting at eight weeks yet I didn’t look pregnant…my hips just exploded sideways. I’ve never been so grateful for the ‘baggy look’ being a trend.”

Once Chloé started to show, she began to dress in tighter-fitting clothes to accentuate her bump. “I’m surprised at how empowering being in a pregnant body can be,” she says. “I’m constantly in awe of our bodies and how they shift and change and I have a new respect and admiration for my body and feel more inclined to show it in all its glory.”

“I think a lot of maternity-specific clothing I’ve found is a little ugly and dated,” she says. “I wonder if we will all start embracing the Rihanna style of pregnancy dressing and it will shift the ‘maternity’ style?”

Chloé counts BUMPSUIT, SKIMS, COS, Uniqlo and Cotton On as her go-to brands for pregnancy dressing. “I’ve lived in stretchy long dresses paired with a button-up shirt this whole pregnancy because they’re the most comfy for me and make me feel my best,” she says.

Looking ahead to her baby’s arrival, Chloé knows what kind of mother she wants to be. “I want my baby to feel loved, supported, safe and encouraged for its whole life,” she says. “I hope we can grow together and teach each other things along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing the world through my child’s eyes with a new appreciation and understanding.”

“I can’t wait to see Rob as a father because I know it will make my heart explode, and I’m excited to discover this new version of myself and how it changes my path and choices going forward.”

Chloé and Rob debuted their beautiful baby boy Tadhg Oisín Zuel-Mallett on 7 August 2023.

 

Words by Ellie Wiseman | Photography by Kaitlyn Bosnjak

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