Mandy Moore has come a long way since her The Princess Diaries and “Candy” days—and she knows it.

The 35-year-old This Is Us star reflected on her transition for teen pop princess to Rebecca Pearson in an interview for the May cover issue of Modern Luxury/Michigan Ave magazine, and explained why she isn’t taking anything for granted.

In the first chapter of her career, Moore felt trapped by the confines of the teenage pop star archetype. Eager to break out, she says she struggled to find her footing in the entertainment industry.

Mandy Moore in Modern Luxury magazine
Annabel Mehran

“For quite a number of years, I was really trying to redefine myself; I was hungry for a challenge that people weren’t willing to just give me permission for,” Moore admitted. “I was like, ‘I know I can do more than just be America’s sweetheart.’ That’s certainly an aspect of who I am, but that’s not all I am. We all contain multitudes.”

Then, right at the perfect moment, This Is Us came along and Moore was suddenly viewed in a whole new light.

She reflected on this shift in her career, saying, “With this show came the recognition, ‘Oh, she’s now a 30-something-year-old woman. She’s not just a kid anymore. She’s not a young woman, even. She could be a mother. Oh, she can be a grandmother too!’”

When asked how that felt, Moore responded, “I feel lucky that everything aligned at the right time in my life, where people were willing to see beyond what maybe they had expected of me earlier in my career.”

Now, Moore aims to be as in-the-moment and appreciative as possible.

“Life is a roller coaster. I know this is an extraordinary time, and I am present. I’m literally devouring every morsel of it and appreciating it for what it is because I remember when times did not feel the same. I just want to take stock of all of it and do what I love. This moment isn’t gonna last forever. I want to really dig my heels in while I can,” she said.  

One might even call her journey A Walk to Remember

RELATED: You Can Get Mandy Moore’s Lived-in Waves Thanks to These Tips from Her Hairstylist

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