Mad Men sweetheart, actress Jessica Paré chats with ELLE Canada

Mad Men actress Jessica Paré opens up about her family, Montreal roots, and the joys of playing Mrs. Draper.

Feb 12, 2013
Kathryn Hudson
John Vander Schilden

jessica-pare-2.jpgNailed it.
[Laughs] "But I'm more sardonic than Megan. As an artist in general, you're better for having access to a darker side. When I'm working, I feel like I can actually be a bit of a maniac - laughing one second and crying the next. It helps to be that mercurial as an actor."

Is that exhausting?
"Definitely. It's wonderful, and it's a good kind of exhaustion, but it can be like an open wound all day."

So you just moved into a place in L.A. last week and bought a place in Palm Springs. Are you settled in Cali now?
"I love Los Angeles. I know it gets a bad rap, but it's so multicultural. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that it's only about film or TV, but there's amazing food and great music. I mean, any night of the week there's some incredible band playing at some little bar."

Based on how you were curating the playlist during today's shoot, I can tell you're into music.
"I am. I gravitate toward rock. Most of my personal collection is sort of '70s pre-punk - New York Dolls and Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. And I did a couple of dates with the Jesus and Mary Chain in the summer, which was so incredible."

What was it like performing with a Scottish altrock band?
"I'd be really anxious offstage, and then once I'd step on, I was just like, ‘You're here, so don't disappoint all these people. They got a babysitter, they went out for dinner, they took a cab, they bought tickets, this is their favourite band, so don't fuck up the song.'" [Laughs]

No pressure! We need to talk about your performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou." Fans lost their minds. It was a huge hit on iTunes and was recorded on vinyl.
"I know! I knew the song was catchy when I started working on that episode and everybody in the production office was singing it incessantly, and then I was singing it for about six weeks and then everybody in the cast was singing it for the next two. Hats off to Matt Weiner for choosing something that would capture people's imaginations in such a great way."

Hats off to you for performing it. It's going to be one of those TV moments that people really remember.
"If I'm lucky!"

I know you're into literature. What are you reading now?
"The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. He's a Canadian author. It's a western! The other book I've started, but didn't bring with me on this trip because it's too thick, is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I loved The Corrections. It was gruelling, but it was worth it. I just love his writing. I love how everything between the lines is so tense."

Find out what Jessica's idea of a perfect Saturday night is on the next page...


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