During an interview with Duff about her partnership with Happy Little Camper and Veeda, natural baby care and feminine hygiene products, the actress told Insider she has a particular place in her heart for the fictional relationship between Lizzie and her mom, Jo, who was played by actress Hallie Todd.
“My favorite relationship in the whole entire show is the mother and daughter,” Duff said. “Lizzie and Jo’s relationship was so sweet and so tender.”
In many episodes of Disney’s coming-of-age show, for example, Jo provided Lizzie with one-on-one advice on how to be a good friend, daughter, or sister, and how to gain self-confidence. Even during heated moments, Jo always talked to Lizzie from a place of compassion, and was integral in helping Lizzie get through teenage issues like heartbreak and embarrassment.
Each episode left viewers with a lesson, like that parents want the best for their children, or that being “popular” isn’t everything.
Now a mom herself, the relationship takes on new meaning
Now that Duff is a mother with two children, Banks, 1, and Luca, 7, she said she better understands how important the Lizzie-Jo portrayal was because it illustrated what women endure as mothers.
“I was having a conversation with my friend the other day and I was like, ‘Moms just get the shaft, always.’ We work the hardest, we do the most, and we get the shaft, you know, it’s crazy, but it just comes along with the territory of being a mom,” Duff said.
That’s part of the reason why Duff said it was important for her to partner with Happy Little Camper, which she hopes will make moms’ lives a little easier by providing natural and safe baby care products that can give them peace of mind.
Playing Lizzie and acting out fictional fights and heart-to-hearts with Jo also helped Duff appreciate her own mother more, she told Insider.
“During that time, I was having similar issues with my mom where I was just so annoyed at her, or thought I knew more than her, and [that] she didn’t understand and she never went through this,” Duff said.
Working through Lizzie-Jo scenes that paralleled her own mother-daughter relationship at the time led her to realize “you’re hardest on the people that you need the most, or that are there for you the most,” she said.
Now Duff is filming episodes for the highly anticipated “Lizzie Mcguire” reboot and said the Lizzie-Jo relationship remains strong.
In fact, Duff said she and Todd just filmed an episode of the reboot together. “I had to cry on her shoulder and it was so easy. It came so naturally, like ‘Oh my God, my second mom.'”