In her new series, New Girl, premiering tonight on Fox, Zooey Deschanel plays a girl in an emotional whirl. Fresh from a breakup with her boyfriend, Deschanel's character, Jessica Day, makes a bold move... by shacking up with three guys she met Craigslist-style.
"The fact is, she's a girl who has had a boyfriend since she was 18. Then she's dumped and her entire life changes, which is what happens in life," the doe-eyed actress with long, glossy dark hair says. "So many of my friends have gone through it. You think your life is going one way and then someone gets dumped. It's about picking yourself up and moving on. You never know what or who could be waiting around the corner."
Deschanel, 31, best known for her work in Almost Famous, Elf and the recent Our Idiot Brother, has encountered plenty of things waiting around the corner. In addition to her new role, she's delving deeper into the music industry with a new solo CD due out at Christmas. Why not rock? After all, she lives in a musical home with her husband, Death Cab for Cutie's Benjamin Gibbard.
When we met with Deschanel one weekday morning, she had just finished a table read for New Girl. She's almost giddy with excitement about tonight's debut after Glee. "I can't even really explain to you what a good time I'm having these days," she tells us. "I love doing the work on my series. It's just plain exciting to do what you love. If you have that chance in life then you're very, very lucky."
Here's what the bubbly actress had to tell us about her exciting career, her romantic life behind-the-scenes and more:
First things first: What's a great romantic night for you and Ben?
We're homebodies! Oh my God, I don't understand how people go out at night. We're like, "Why go out at night?" Just relax at home with each other. It's much more romantic than going to some club.
Is that why we never see you two in the gossip columns after a big night on the town?
If I'm singing, I can't go out. I need the sleep. My voice needs to rest. I would forget my lines if I went out all the time. Of course, I've seen people go out and work. I'm like, "I don't understand." It's crazy.
Tell us about your new TV alter ego Jessica in New Girl.
She's really a treat to play. I love that she is trying hard to move on. I also liked that she's not feminine in that she wears Pink all the time. I still had to get my girly girl on. She's just very emotional and comfortable in her skin, although she's basically an awkward person socially. Above all, she just tries really hard. The strange thing is she moves in with three guys who are her opposites, so it makes for a very interesting character study.
You recently did a life revamp when you decided to make some priorities between your work and your life. How did you prioritize?
I was doing about five movies a year for many years. I was just so tired. I walked around feeling like a Mac truck hit me. It got to the point where I almost couldn't get out of bed. I was just running and running. Once I would stop, I'd hit the wall and think, "I'm so exhausted." The key was to keep running, so I didn't realize how tired I was, but I was running on fumes. I thought, "If I stop, oh my God, I'll miss an opportunity." I was doing so many movies that I didn't even understand myself anymore. At a certain point, you lose a little bit of enjoyment of the process of acting.
So you stopped for a little bit to cut a CD and go on tour with your band "She & Him." Now, your debut album, "Volume One," has a great cult following and you have a Christmas CD out later this year. What is the appeal of music?
I write my own music. It's a connection with myself that I don't have in acting. When you act, you have to rely on other people giving you jobs. It's really the ultimate freelance job. There's that little part of the job that sort of sucks a bit of your power away from you. Music is my way of pure expression. It's my thing. I write everything in my head and my band mate Matt produces it. We call all the shots.
Are you close with your older sister Emily Deschanel who stars on the Fox series, Bones?
Very close, but we're just like every other family. You have that thing with your siblings where you know how to push the buttons. I'm a great button pusher. But we're also very close because we grew up in the same house. We had the same experiences. There were only two of us and we travelled a lot with our parents. There was a certain sense that we were a team and had to stick together.
You're so effortlessly gorgeous. Any beauty tips?
Not really. I just want to be an actress. I don't want to be a babe. I think the best beauty tip is just to feel comfortable in your own skin. I think too many people have their self-esteem wrapped up in the way they look. Just be the best version of you. It doesn't matter what you weigh or if your makeup is on perfectly. Someone should like you for the you that's inside - and they will if you let that shine through.
Silly last question for all of us who have seen Elf about seven trillion times. Do you still believe in Santa?
Oh, he does exist. I remember writing a story when I was ten and dedicating it to Santa because he does exist. That was just me as a kid. I would sit and read for hours in my room. In fact, I'd read until it was too dark to see, which is probably why I wear glasses now, but that's not important here. I'd also write about what's good and what to believe in - and I'm still a big believer.
More From YourTango:
- Exclusive! Matt Damon: "I'm Surrounded By Beautiful Girls"
- Enough About Rashida Jones And Zooey Deschanel's Kiss Already!
- Is Marriage Really The Road To Happiness?
Photo Credit: Getty