Gillian Jacobs: Taking the Long View

6 years ago by

Photos Kate Berry

Have you seen Love? Ibiza? Life of the Party? Then you’ve witnessed the talent of my guest, Gillian Jacobs. I met her in LA, at Cliff’s edge, and we talked about life, her Lenny letter, being labeled “untalented” and how she learned to open up…

[podcast_episode episode=”269390″ ]

On hanging out in department stores after hours…
When I was little, my mom worked at a department store that no longer exists, called Kauffman’s. I used to go with her after hours and she’d have me sleep in the pillow display if she was working late. It was really fun as a kid to be in a department store after it was closed and no one was there and all the lights were off, so I have fond memories of going and hanging out there as a kid.

On making friends in acting class…
It was kids from all around my city, not just my suburb, so I got to meet kids from all over Pittsburgh. I connected with them, they were nicer to me, I was good at acting, so for me, I lived all week to get to Saturday so I could go to acting class. I just had to get through Monday to Friday, and then I got to go to acting class!

On her education of acting in the theater vs. TV…
I was going to a school that was training me to do theater. It was theater or nothing! It felt like doing theater is worthwhile and everything else is mmmm..maybe you’ll do a movie, but a TV show, that’s beneath you!



On being on probation at Juilliard…
The thing I wish I’d been able to do was talk more openly about it with the people in my life. I didn’t even tell my mother and I didn’t talk about it at all. My technique was to just bottle it all up inside and try to get through it and figure out what they wanted me to do. I was so used to pleasing teachers and at this school, I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, which was so strange for me.

On coping with rejection…
I always tried to take the long view on my career and not get devastated by any one job if I got it or not. But certainly there are ones that hurt more than others. I want to be in this for the long run and I want this to be my life and doing this for decades. So then you realize ok, if I’m going to get so upset every time I don’t get a job, I’m going to burn out and never make it because it’s too painful. So I tried to let myself get upset and keep going. I think that’s helped me, despite all the rejection.

On deciding to let her natural hair color shine…
For years, it was just getting more and more blond. My hair was so damaged and breaking off and I lost half the volume of my hair. I just realized, I don’t have to keep doing this, I can choose to stop. So I haven’t dyed my hair in three or four years now, which seems like nothing, but here in LA, people are like, “You don’t dye your hair? That’s your natural color?” People are so amazed and can’t believe I’d go out in the world without dying my hair!

On the role of social media in promoting her work…
It’s a hard thing because I don’t want to become obsessed with it, but it also is an important tool especially if you’re in a smaller movie or a TV show that’s not getting a lot of promotion. To have the ability to tell people directly, “I’m doing this thing and I want you to check it out,” is powerful.

Gillian Jacobs: Taking the Long View



On being a private person…
I’m a pretty private person in general which makes this career choice a little strange. I have a hard time talking to the people who are close to me in my life about what’s going on, let alone telling the world, so I try not to share too much or everything. It’s probably why I talk about my mom so much, because it’s a safe thing to talk about and she’s funny and always doing something entertaining. But I don’t want to share everything about my life, but I’m trying on the other hand to not feel like I can’t share and that it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s weird! You want to be vulnerable in your work but you don’t want to give the world your whole life on a platter. It’s hard to figure out what’s appropriate and what’s good for me vs. what other people might want me to do.

On directing the short documentary on Grace Hopper, The Queen of Code...
I would like to do more about women in STEM because there are so many stories there. STEM is science, technology, engineering and math. There are so many incredible women in STEM that I would like to highlight. The woman I made the documentary about is no longer living, but there were other women from her era that were also incredible that nobody really knows about who did amazing things in the earliest days of computers. I get excited about bringing these women to a larger audience.

On never having been to Ibiza…
I haven’t been anywhere near Ibiza! We shot the movie, Ibiza, in Serbia and Croatia, which are beautiful! Someone emailed me, “You have to give me restaurant recommendations for Ibiza for a wedding,” and I was like, I’m not the person to tell you, we weren’t anywhere near it!

On working with Melissa McCarthy on Life of the Party…
She really is one of those people when she walks into a room, everybody turns and stares. There is a twinkle in her eye and something about her, I don’t know how to describe it that just draws your eye to her. But she is also really kind and generous and it was such a supportive atmosphere on set. It was like a slumber party of a movie shoot!

Gillian Jacobs: Taking the Long View


Lenny Letter
Lois Weber
Alice Guy Blaché

A special thank you to Cliff’s Edge in L.A. for allowing us to record in their space. Be sure to check out Gillian’s, Life of the Party which is in theaters now and Ibiza, which just came out on Netflix.


Add yours
  • I wasn’t familiar with Gillian Jacobs (out of touch!) and was very impressed, listening to her talk. Smart woman. I appreciate that she’s unapologetic about not being a party monster.

  • I love Gillian in ‘Love’ and her overall vibe. I cannot wait to listen to the full podcast after I leave the office. Yet, I did not get the movie ‘Ibiza’ at all when I started to watch it on Netflix yesterday evening…

    I’d love to hear other people’s opinion on the movie.

  • What a fun interview and of the photos are gorgeous as usual. And how cool Gillian let her natural hair grow in. I really like her the way she looks much better with the her natural darker hair–more Parisian and more interesting. While the blonde hair is very pretty and of course she is gorgeous with the blonde I feel like in a way it makes less of a statement and looks more like another starlet.

    She looks great with her what nature gave her and her cool fashion sense. And I too have been thinking of growing out and cutting out my high lights for the same reason too much damage.

    Allie of

  • This interview in my opinion, seems to be about graceful aging , and creating a beautiful life . I love these shots , that look like two beautiful sisters having tea , no pretense , adornment not necessary, and natural beauty in full vision . Thanks ladies I learn so much from every post! Thanks Garance

  • Aww, love Gillian and love Cliff’s Edge! I grew up in LA and I always felt like that restaurant was a hidden gem <3

  • Good afternoon, I haven’t listened to this but wanted to say how pretty and natural she looks. Love her hair, which got me to wondering if you, Garance, are thinking of changing yours. Do you think you will have it cut short again or do you prefer it long or do you wear it this way to make Chris happy ? (you have said this is what he prefers) Just wondering…

  • I have been waiting for the next PMF for so long and I am so trilled to find out Gillian Jacobs was your guest! I love and respect her so much!

  • jojodesign May, 30 2018, 3:39 / Reply

    Great interview – beautiful conversation. I’ve just got to ask -Gillian’s coat!!!
    Where does it come from? Thank you xxxxx

  • Patricia May, 30 2018, 7:06 / Reply

    It’s great I get to see Gillian Jacobs on this blog! I loved her in “Love”, but, like someone have said before, I didn’t get the “Ibiza” movie either, maybe it’s because I live in Spain, near to Barcelona, and I missed it in the movie, there were no Barcelona vibe at all, just stereotypes about Spain. Anyway, I like Gilian a lot as actress and I hope to see her more often on the big screen!

  • I really enjoyed this episode. I like hearing about successful women that still deal with “normal” issues, like caring what people think.

  • Hey ! J’adore toujours autant lire tes interviews, et je pense bientôt me mettre aux podcasts !
    Je connais Gillian Jacobs de la série Love, et du film Ibiza. C’est très marrant si je puis dire parce qu’autant j’ai eu du mal au début à accrocher avec le film Ibiza, mais au fur et à mesure j’ai beaucoup ris et je me suis bien attachée au personnage que joue Gillian.
    Elle est magnifique et fait bien de rester “les cheveux au naturel”

    Les photos que tu fais sont toujours aussi magnifiques, c’est un régal pour les yeux. Et j’adore d’autant plus le design de ton blog, je le trouve très adapté à l’image que tu dégages à travers tes écrits, etc.

    Je t’embrasse,

    Aurore / Au’riginalité du blog

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira June, 18 2018, 12:54 / Reply

    My God ,Mimi-Rose Eleanor in the building , fellas !!! Huge Gillian Fan ! Big Time !!!

    Kisses from Lisbon

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