Curious about the new Mrs. Draper? Here's everything you need to know about Mad Men star Jessica Paré!
-Lucia Peters, BettyConfidential.com
The long-awaited fifth season of AMC's hit show Mad Men premiered just two weeks ago, but already the blogosphere is abuzz with Jessica Paré. Jessica first appeared on the show in the fourth season as Megan Calvet, Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) secretary-until a surprise proposal at the end of the season made her into the next Mrs. Draper. And we certainly have to say, Megan certainly is a keeper! But how much do you know about the actress who plays her? From her family life to her thoughts about her teeth, here's your crash course in everything Jessica!
1. Jessica Paré was born on December 5, 1982. That makes her 29 years old.
2. She's Canadian-and French Canadian, at that. Jessica was born in Montreal, Quebec, and she was raised in the neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
3. Both of Jessica's parents were actors, so acting is in her blood. Her father, Anthony, was a drama teacher and toured with a theatre production; meanwhile, her mother, Louise Mercier, acted in amateur productions.
4. Additionally, her father is the Chair of the Department of Educational Studies at McGill University, and her mother is a conference interpreter. Way to put those theatre skills to good use!
5. Jessica herself got interested in acting while helping her father learn his lines for a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
6. Like Megan, Jessica's Mad Men character, the actress is bilingual: She speaks both French and English. Makes sense, since they're both from Montreal!
7. She has three brothers.
8. Her family is Catholic.
Lost and Delirious
From left to right: Director Lea Pool, Jessica, Piper Perabo, and Micha Barton on the set of 2001's Lost and Delirious.
9. Jessica attended a private Catholic girl's high school in Montreal called Villa Maria; she also studied drama at New York's TheatreWorks USA. After high school, she attended Montreal's Dawson College for a year before dropping out to pursue acting.
10. Favorite roles she played in high school productions as a teenager include Jesus inGodspell and Maid Marian in Robin Hood.
11. The year 2000 brought Jessica's big break: A Canadian film called Stardom, about a teen girl who is plucked from obscurity of a girl's hockey team to become a supermodel. The film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, throwing the teenaged Jessica into the limelight.
12. The story of Stardom oddly parallelsJessica's own experiences: With only two small roles on her resume, she had initially auditioned for a bit part in the film, only to end up landing the lead. In fact, director Denys Arcand actually had to buy out a contract with a 26-year-old actress he had already signed to play the role. Awkward? A little-but excellent for Jessica's budding career!
13. Like her character in Stardom, Jessica once tried to become a model, but the agency told her she was "too fat." We think they're crazy.
14. After a couple of years of indie films like 2001's Lost and Delirious and miniseries likeRandom Passage and Napoleon, Jessica made her Hollywood debut in 2004's Wicker Park.A remake of the French film L'Appartement, Jessica played Josh Hartnett's fiancée in a tangled tale of love and desire. Unfortunately the film wasn't very well received-but hey, you've got to start somewhere!
Jessica Pare Mad Men
Jessica as Megan in Mad Men.
15. Jessica worked pretty steadily for years, but it wasn't until her 2010 debut in Mad Men as Megan Calvet, later Draper, that she became a household name. She was, however, noted for her appearance in Hot Tub Time Machine-probably because she was topless.
16. Jessica was a longtime fan of Mad Men before getting cast as Megan She had seen every episode before appearing on it was even a possibility. "I think it's a really great show and it's very beautifully written," she's said of Mad Men. "It's just a gift to be doing something like this with such an incredible cast and I couldn't be a bigger fan of Matthew Weiner. I think he's a genius, quite honestly." We do, too!
17. Her thoughts on Megan? "It's nice to do a role that doesn't involve nudity and crying." We agree.
18. Mad Men isn't the first television show on which she's had a regular role; she also played eventual First Lady Courtney Benedict on the WB show Jack & Bobby, alongside Logan Lerman.
19. Jessica didn't perform the now-infamous "Zou Bisou Bisou" number at Don Draper's season five birthday party live; she did, however, actually sing it herself. They shot the scene with her lip synching to a track she had recorded earlier.
20. Her rendition of "Zou Bisou Bisou" proved so popular that it's now available for download as a single at the iTunes store. It's also out in vinyl. Classy!
21. Jessica married producer and writer Joseph M. Smith in 2007…
22. …But they separated in 2010. Awww. She currently lives with two other actresses in Santa Monica, where, she says, "We do a lot of crafts. We drink wine and I play the ukulele." Can we come over sometime?
23. Yes, Jessica has slightly oversized teeth-but no, it doesn't bother her. "I don't feel self-conscious at all about my teeth," she's said. "They're great for eating food and they do their job. I don't think they are remarkable until they are remarked upon." Furthermore, she's all for the jab they took at them in Mad Men-she thinks it gives Megan some important vulnerability. Take that, big teeth haters!
24. She suspects that the reason she's so good with Don's kids in Mad Men is because shegrew up around a lot of kids. Her father has eight siblings(!), and they all have kids, too, so it was kind of like one big kid party growing up in her family.
25. Jessica had no idea Megan and Don would be getting married until she saw the script for this season of the show. Talk about a surprise!
We can't wait to see what else this year has in store for Jessica!
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