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.jpgDo you miss Montreal?
"I do, but not in the winter. I remember when my brother was little, he heard that Quebec wanted to separate and thought it was a great idea because then we could float down next to Florida."

That's genius.
"But, really, I have some of the greatest friends there. I like that it's a very tight-knit community of artists. A lot of my good girlfriends there are actors or clowns."

Actual clowns?

That's amazing.
"We are talking about Quebec."

Were you ever tempted to be a clown?
"No, but I got some really good miming lessons from my dad. He studied at the National Theatre School. One day, we were sitting in the kitchen reading the paper and he was like, ‘Oh, my mime teacher is retiring.' My younger brother Oliver and I wondered what it looked like.

[At this point, Paré jumps up and launches into a lengthy demonstration of mime fishing, golfing, canoeing, pulling an invisible rope and - the classic - getting trapped in an invisible box. She's a bit breathless, but she's clearly a pro.] Just me and my brother having a mime-off, thanks to a guy who's now retired."

You can't be a mime teacher forever, I guess.
"You just get to the end of that rope." [Laughs]

I hear you're crafty.
"I taught myself to crochet on a Saturday night like a wild woman. I had, like, a bag of candy and a bottle of wine."

By yourself, party animal?
[Laughs] "No, my cat was there...and there was figure skating on TV."

That is the girliest night of all time.
"I just like making stuff. I worked really hard to get into the fine-arts program at Dawson College in Montreal and then quit after a couple of weeks because I'd had it with school. Obviously, given the position I'm in now, I feel like it was the right decision. But there were a lot of times, when I was couch-surfing at my friends place back into my parents' basement in Montreal, that I thought maybe fine arts was a better career."

What do you paint?
"Portraits, mostly. I'm hoping my place in Palm Springs might lend itself to that."

What a romantic idea: "Come sit for me in Palm Springs and I'll paint you."
"I'll feed you grapes and white wine. [Laughs] But, really, one time, I was between jobs and decided to make my family Christmas gifts. I made my father and my brother these felt slippers, but I couldn't measure their feet so I had to sort of imagine.

They were enormous. The two of them opened the boxes and dissolved into giggles. They were total flippers. And even when they talk about it now, my dad is, like, snorting, crying and giggling."

You seem comfortable with your mistakes. Are you that confident?
"That's an interesting question. I definitely feel like I'm becoming more confident. I feel great about where I am. And I like who I am.

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