That brings us to my next question, what does Libby make of Virginia Johnson and the relationship between Johnson and her husband? Does she feel insecure about it?
Part of what I love most about the story we’re telling is that Libby and Virginia — historically and on our show — become close friends. I really like that we get to explore that relationship and the way in which it’s complicated by how we each feel about Masters.
Did you read much of Masters’s and Johnson’s work in preparation for the show? Some revolutionary stuff for their time!
I am a bad actor in that I haven’t actually read any of the Masters and Johnson research yet…although to be fair, in the first season, they haven’t yet published. I did read the book that our show is based on, Thomas Maier’s Masters of Sex. which gave a great overview of the scandalous nature of their discoveries and how it really lay the foundation for the sexual revolution and for our current sexual views.
Do you think viewers will be surprised by the way sex use to be perceived?
I think people may be surprised by how similar some of our sexual hang-ups are to those of the ’50s. As a culture, we fancy ourselves as wildly liberated, but I wonder just how true that is, especially for women.
It’s definitely up for question. What about your character specifically, is intimacy and sex something she is comfortable with discussing?
I think Libby is a sexual creature trapped within a lifestyle and with living with an unresponsive husband; these make her feel unsure about how to proceed with her desires. So, if she is at all reticent to discuss her sexual desires, I don’t think it’s due to her not having desires, but rather her insecurity about their reception.
He’s a genuinely intriguing character, Masters, and Michael Sheen is so well cast for the show. How is it acting opposite him? I imagine he gives you a lot to work with during your scenes together.
There is such an effortlessness to Michael’s work that it actually wasn’t until I watched the pilot that I fully appreciated just how brilliant he is, and how he elevates us all. He is so rigorously truthful in every moment that it is almost impossible to see any seams in his performance. It’s actually kind of annoying how good he is.
Ha, there are worse ways to be annoyed! I understand you split your time between L.A. and New York, do you have a preference between the two cities?
I am a die-hard New Yorker. I love New York in a way that feels almost anthropomorphic, like I’m in a romantic relationship with it.
That committed, huh?
Occasionally we have fights and I have to storm out of the city in a rage, but I always come back and I am always glad to see it.
What are some of your favourite ways to spend a day off in the city?
An ideal day for me in New York, and really any city, is to spend it walking the streets. I think it’s the best way to learn the nature of a place, and it forces you to have all kinds of interactions you wouldn’t otherwise have.
And what about L.A., what’s your take on the city?
This great love for New York does make it hard for me to love L.A., but I am coming to appreciate certain things about it. For example, when it’s February and New York is freezing and slushy and miserable, it’s kind of wonderful to step off the plane in L.A. and see the sun and shed the coat. I do appreciate that.
I hear you’re originally from Maine, do you miss home while away? Neither New York or L.A are quite as woodsy as Maine.
I always miss Maine and its woods! I think part of what has helped me come around to L.A. is that I can hike and have at least an approximation of nature, which I need.
You have a great personal style, are you into fashion much?
Wow, thank you! I do love me some clothes. I am really fascinated by the artistry of great designers and the craft behind their work. If I was brave enough, I would go full Isabella Blow/Daphne Guinness and make my wardrobe kind of performance art every day.
Who do you consider your favourite designer?
There are so many! But I really love my friend Gary Graham’s clothes. He has a brilliant sense of story in all his collections, and his clothes feel like costumes to me, in a really smart and inspiring way.
The premiere of Masters of Sex is coming up, and you’ve also got the promotional tour for the show going on; lot of events to get dressed up for! Do you like getting dolled up for red carpet?
I do. It’s time intensive, which I’m sometimes resentful of — I mean I’m out frantically buying shoes and spending hours in hair and makeup and the boys just throw on whatever suit they have in their closet and hope it goes. Mostly I really enjoy getting to wear all kinds of different clothes and play the different characters they inspire. It’s a kind of acting I suppose.
Clothes can have a personality for sure. Do you handle the styling yourself or do you rely on a professional stylist?
I mostly choose things for myself, but I have a couple very talented stylist friends who sometimes help me.
Let’s talk about some of your past projects. You have some incredible indie-films under your belt including Newlyweds and Damsels in Distress, as well as working on larger productions like Gossip Girl and It’s Complicated; do you consciously try to keep an even balance between the two types of productions?
I guess I do, come to think of it. I love working in both arenas.
As an actress, do you like to have a hand in both film and television, rather than focusing on just one medium?
I think we are living in a golden era of television, and I would love to keep doing it along with film.
<< PAGE 2………………………………………………………. Styling – Elle Werlin Makeup – Gita Bass at Exclusive Artists Management Hair – Christopher Naselli at Exclusive Artists Management Assistant Stylist – Dumas Kisseih Shot on location at Distrikt Hotel, New York Featuring car provided by Uber, New York
Published September 6, 2013