Some actors may think making the transition from film to television is a step down in their careers, but not Zooey Deschanel! The “New Girl” star, whose resume boasts movies like “Elf,” “500 Days of Summer,” and “Almost Famous,” happily hopped to the small screen last year for the role of quirky Jess on the Fox comedy – because she doesn’t see a difference between film and TV.
"I’m just going where the material is,” Deschanel tells Glamour in its February issue. “Some of the smartest people run the network I’m on. People sometimes say, ‘Oh, you were a movie star,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I was a supporting actress.’ I wasn’t an A-list actress, and I’m fine with that. I’m proud of what I did in film. But getting to do the stuff that I was passionate about was such an uphill battle. If “New Girl” had been a movie, I don’t know whether I would have been given the opportunity to do it."
And now that she has this platform, the actress, who is about to celebrate her 33rd birthday, is eager to become a positive role model with her “adorkable” fashion sense and healthy body. Insisting she does not feel any pressure to look a certain way, Deschanel adds, “Women I admired growing up – Debra Winger, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep – were all beautiful and thin, but not too thin. There are a lot of actresses who are unhealthy-skinny – much, much too skinny … I’m a very small person, and if I lost 15 pounds, I’d look like them; it’s scary. For young girls, what does that say? You need to look this way to be successful? That’s not true. You do not need to look or be anorexic to be successful in Hollywood. The range of what’s acceptable is larger than what people believe."
And although Deschanel certainly does not look like the cookie-cutter Hollywood actress, she has used her quirky personality and features – especially her super-cute bangs – to create her own branding of sorts. “But I’ve never been like, ‘Let’s calculate an image,’” she tells the magazine. “I’m just, ‘I like that. Let’s do that.’ I grew up loving French New Wave movies, and so a lot of what I like is that style. It’s just about doing what you like so that when you look at yourself, you’re not disgusted. And I’m all about unintentional. I’m not a calculated person…. I think making a movie or a record, the best things happen by accident – and those end up being the magic. Every time I’ve followed my gut it’s been better than when I’ve tried to do what I was supposed to do."
But all her success has come with criticism. Due to her atypical Hollywood sensibility – she’s a brunette who prefers modest clothing and often posts silly videos of herself singing old-school songs while playing a ukulele online – some feminist groups have branded her as controversial. But Deschanel shrugs it off, insisting, "I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f--king feminist and wear a f--king Peter Pan collar. So f--king what?"
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