Jenna Fischer’s “how I met my husband” story sounds like the plot of a quirky indie romance — which is fitting, since they fell in love while working on one. I’m hearing all the details over dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel (rigatoni with short ribs for Jenna, tuna tartare for me). She arrived five minutes early for the interview — unheard of in the celebrity world — walking right over to me with a wide smile, like she might be about to ask my advice on a Jim dilemma. In dress pants, a gray cardigan, and a pretty red blouse, Jenna looks as all-American as two scoops of vanilla ice cream. And as we start to dish about love, fate, and favorite nail polish colors (she’s loving Essie’s Angora Cardi), I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t actually know her. She’s so laid-back, she could easily pass for your fun friend from high school, just like on The Office. Anyway, I’m interrupting her story….
Jenna and her guy, screenwriter Lee Kirk, started spending time together when she pitched him a film idea she had about three years ago. He “very politically,” she says with a laugh, rejected it. He pitched her three new ideas; she loved the first one and signed on as producer and star. (They’ve recently started shooting.) But, like any good romance plot, the lovers were star-crossed: Jenna was going through a divorce from her husband of eight years, director James Gunn, and Lee had just ended a seven-year relationship. Still, the two found common ground in the experience of being newly single. And after a slow build of “six or seven months,” the two confessed their feelings. They got married last July.
If it took Jenna a little while to find her perfect guy, she also came late to stardom: Having grown up in St. Louis, Jenna moved to Los Angeles after college in Missouri and struggled in temp jobs for years while trying to find work as an actress. Finally, at 29, she got her big break on The Office. This month, the 36-year-old stars opposite Owen Wilson in the movie Hall Pass, directed by the Farrelly brothers (the kings of kooky, at-times-raunchy comedies — remember There’s Something About Mary?). In it, two wives give their hubbies permission slips, a.k.a. hall passes, to do whatever they want — including hook up with other women.
Jenna admits she often still feels like a guest in Hollywood — which is why she delights in every surreal moment, and even keeps a MySpace blog about them. (.) A perfect example arises when we head out after dinner to pick up our cars at the valet. Says Jenna, “I love that they don’t give you a ticket for your car here; they just remember you.” Which, of course, they don’t — unless you happen to be a pretty major celebrity. I show her my parking stub and she cracks up: “Here I am, thinking they just happen to remember every car that goes with every person!” This isn’t an act; she honestly doesn’t know how famous she is. But that just adds to her charm.
REDBOOK: Were there lots of behind-the-scenes shenanigans when you filmed Hall Pass?
JF: The Farrelly brothers make movies the way you imagine a movie set would be when you’re a kid — fun all the time. On our last day of shooting we had an egg-toss competition with the entire cast and crew. I came in fifth. I think that’s really good!
RB: What hall-pass request would you make of your husband?
JF: I wouldn’t — I’m a newlywed! I want to spend all of my time with him, so I don’t need any kind of hall pass.
RB: Before your big break, did you ever think about a Plan B?
JF: I never really had a Plan B, though I did get to a place where acting was not very satisfying. I was a theater major in college, and whenever I did a play, I’d figure out, “What’s this person’s background?” I could have done that for “Delivery Girl Number 2,” but it’s not like anybody is going to ask, “Where did you grow up, Delivery Girl?” At one point I told my manager I was thinking about quitting, and she said, “Give me one more season; you owe it to me.” And that was the year I booked The Office.
RB: You went through a fake pregnancy on The Office while your sister, Emily, was going through a real one — and Pam and Jim’s baby was named after your new niece, Cecelia. Has becoming an aunt made you want to have kids of your own?
JF: I already wanted kids, but even more so now. When Cecelia was 3 weeks old, Pam was on maternity leave, so I had a whole week off to spend with her. I took charge of the night feedings. It was so awesome: Every night at 9:30, I’d say, “You guys go to sleep now.” I wanted CeCe all to myself. We really bonded.
RB: So how did you lose the baby weight? Just kidding. But seriously, you’ve talked about going through a total body transformation via diet and exercise. Have you managed to keep that up?
JF: I go back and forth all the time. Basically, I care until I’m at a weight where my jeans feel awesome, then I eat and drink my way out of them. And then I have to care again. It’s like a five- to seven-pound gain/lose cycle.
RB: As an actress, do you feel pressure to stay in shape?
JF: In a normal job, if you gain or lose a few pounds, it’s no big deal. But in my business you have to tell someone so that the next time you go to a fitting, the clothes are the right size. It’s really embarrassing to have to say to your manager, “I’m now a 6 pant instead of a 4.” Emails go out, and they cc the agents: “Jenna would like everyone to know that she’s now a 6 pant.” This is why actresses obsess about their weight. It’s not a private affair.
RB: You’ve also talked about not going glam (veneers, etc.) because Pam has to look real. What’s it like to be in “plain Pam” mode?
JF: It’s nice because it doesn’t take long to get ready in the morning. But there are times when I wish Pam could be… I don’t know, maybe a little prettier. I think the most common compliment I get — which is very sweet, and I’m not complaining — is “You are so much prettier in real life.” And I’ll say thank you. And then I think, What does that mean, though? That I’m very unattractive on the show? But I’ve never been the kind of girl who turns heads. And that’s a good thing — it’s served my career.
RB: When you do dress up, do you like that part of the job?
JF: I like doing hair and makeup and putting on the dress, but then I want to take it all off 45 minutes later. Because you have, like, a corset in your ribs and then you’re bruised for two days.
RB: Your MySpace blog is full of great, candid details like this.
JF: When I’m writing my blog, I think of myself at 13 years old, back in St. Louis, daydreaming about Hollywood. I try to write to “me” from before. It’s exciting to go to an awards show and shake George Clooney’s hand. It’s fun to geek out with people over that, take them along for the ride.
RB: You’re a newlywed. Has your idea of The One changed?
JF: In a way, yes. After my divorce, someone said to me, “Finding love is not as hard as picking the right person to spend the rest of your life with.” It was Paul Lieberstein, the executive producer of The Office; he also plays Toby on the show. I held on to that advice when I was searching. I’d start to fall for someone and think, But that’s not a good match. The fluttery feelings aren’t enough. When I was younger, I thought you married the person you fell in love with the most. But as learned what we wanted, I realized there was a whole other set of criteria. You have to ask, Do we have the same goals?
RB: What was it like to date after your divorce?
JF: I thought I’d go wild with freedom, but instead I pretty much did what I did in college — stay home with my cat . I didn’t want to waste time flitting around. I remember going out with one cute and funny guy. I thought, We could have a really fun eight months, but that’s eight months I’m taking away from finding Mr. Right. I can’t afford that. So I ended it.
RB: And even though you were hanging out at home with your cat, Prince Charming managed to find you.
JF: It’s amazing, right? In the midst of all that, I was having weekly script dinners with Lee, and I realized, I’m looking at basically the perfect man. It doesn’t get better than this.
RB: Switching gears a little, you’re involved with several pet rescue organizations, and have even fostered cats. What is that like?
JF: It’s a lot like being a new mother. They have to be fed every two to three hours. You’re teaching them to use a litter box, so it’s a lot of cleaning and baths. But it’s so wonderful.
RB: On The Office, Angela is cat-obsessed. Would you ever set up a video cam to watch your cat, Cadillac?
JF: I don’t think so. But when my husband and I Skype when I’m out of town, we always make sure to include Cadillac.
RB: So when Pam hangs up her sensible skirts for good, what’s next on your list? A spray tan? A really long vacation?
JF: I’d love to color and cut my hair into a style, any style: bangs, a bob, go blonde. I’ve had the same hair for eight years, and it’s starting to get to me!
JENNA BLOGGED ABOUT OUR COVER SHOOT!
On her MySpace blog, Jenna writes all about her life at The Office. Here, the star tells what it was like to pose for REDBOOK.
“In the movies, posing for a magazine cover looks fast and fun: A photographer yells, ‘You look beautiful!’ as rock music blares. While that’s not all wrong, it’s a more intense process than I expected.
“To get the one photo for this cover, we actually shot four to five outfits. It’s funny because even as I write this, I have no idea which outfit made it on the cover. I had a favorite: a leopard print, formfitting Dolce & Gabbana dress. I wonder if that’s what they picked!
“Personally, I trust the professionals to make a good choice. Because, the truth is, I’m not much of a shopper. My daily wardrobe consists of something like sweats, hoodie, Uggs, and a baseball hat. My best friend Angela refers to my personal style as ‘Hobo Jenna.’
“Standing still and posing is also very different from what I thought. In order to give yourself curves in the right places while simultaneously hiding your gut, you have to stand in very unnatural ways. You have to hold the same position for a long time, usually far longer than is comfortable.
“My favorite part was when I got to lie in a comfy bed pretending to eat breakfast. I was starving so I really ate the cereal, and my achy feet appreciated the break from high heels.
“The whole experience took about 10 hours. Afterward, I called my husband and told him to meet me for dinner. I figured, I’m all dolled up, so it’s the perfect excuse for a date night. It was a good chance for him to eat with someone other than Hobo Jenna.”
It’s been four months since Jenna Fischer gave birth, and like most new moms, The Office star is struggling to get her pre-baby body back.
“Let me please stand in solidarity with all of the women who are not a size 2 six weeks after leaving the hospital,” the 37-year-old told Us Weekly at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in L.A. Sunday. “I thought, you read all of the stuff in magazines like, ‘Oh, I breastfed my baby and I am so skinny now.’ I am breast-feeding my baby and I am not getting any skinnier!”
“I think I’m just going to be a little bit bigger for a little bit longer,” Fischer said, “and that’s fine with me.”
The Office star wore a custom-made dress by Max Azria Atelier, which “made me look the smallest I could possibly look right now after just having had a baby,” she told Us.
Fischer, who married screenwriter Lee Kirk on July 3, 2010, said motherhood has changed her in ways she never imagined. “I love being a family. I love going from two people to three people, and it has deepened the bond between me and my husband. We love being together, the three of us. Our little unit.”
The new mom added that she was excited to get all dolled up for the star-studded event. “It took a special occasion for us to leave at first, but we have a babysitter that we really trust now, so I feel like because of that, tonight we can really relax and have fun,” Fischer told Us. “We’ll check in and make sure Weston gets to bed OK.”
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Jenna Fischer’s Real Take on Healthy Living
Jenna Fischer, star of The Office, relies on back-to-basics strategies her TV character, Pam, would approve of. But youll never catch her at a vending machine!
“I tell myself that from Christmas to New Years, Im not going to worry about whats happening foodwise. The start of the year is an easy time to commit to a new health plan. If I know Ill be eating a lot around the holidays, I make sure I set up extra training sessions. And Im fortunate to live in L.A., where I can go hiking and be active outside year-round.”
She thinks preservative-free
“I spent two weeks in France last summer. I ate everything and came back two pounds lighter. Someone told me its because of all the fresh food
I had while I was there. So now I try to eat preservative-free.”
What she cant resist
“Sushi. Its healthy, so I let myself have it once or twice a week.” (Read why sushi can also boost energy levels.)
To do in 09
“Being fashionable is against my nature. For me, its 100% about comfort. But this year Id like to be a little more fashionable. I need to give up the hoodie. Im all about hoodies from the mall!”
Skin tweaks? Nah
“I went to a gifting suite, and a woman was displaying Restylane treatments. She said, ‘Youre on TV; its a good idea to fill in the lines. She was actually pointing at wrinkles on my face. I said, ‘Have you seen my show? I dont think my character would use Restylane! Ill keep those laugh lines, thank you.”
Her cat, the stress-buster
“Playing with my cat, Andy, relaxes me—just having him lie down and purr and let me pet him.” (Read more about pets and health.)
Natural is beautiful
“Im very curious about what Ill look like when Im older, about how I am meant to look. Im starting to look like my mother more and more. One day she will pass away, and I want to be reminded of her when I see my own face.”
Jenna Fischer: Smart, Funny, and Fit
Jenna Fischer, the star of The Office reveals in the November issue of Shape, how she stays slim and healthy…and still maintains her sense of humor.
She may be an Emmy-nominated actress for her role on The Office but talk to her for a few minutes and it’s clear just how like the rest of us she really is.
It was her can-do attitude that convinced Jenna to move to Los Angeles 12 years ago with nothing but her cat, Andy, and her 85-words-a-minute typing skills. For seven years, she worked various temp jobs while waiting for her big break. These days, despite her fame and bigger paycheck, Jenna works hard to stay grounded-and healthy. The actress talked with Shape about how she does it and offered our readers an inside look at exactly which gym-moves are her favorites.
Take this job and love it!
On The Office, Jenna plays Pam, the receptionist. It’s a profession she got pretty familiar with while working as an executive assistant before landing her role on the show. “I actually liked the routine of going to an office every day, having a desk, and making coffee,” she says. “And when I had a good boss, I liked anticipating his needs. Even when it came to making lunch reservations, I’d think, “How can I do this better than just calling up and saying, ‘Table for two’? I know! I’ll make friends with the maitre d’ and get the best seat in the place.’ It was little things like that that made the work fun.”
Get over it…
Just over two years ago, Jenna fell down a flight of stairs at a restaurant in New York City and broke her back in four places. “And to add insult to injury, I ended up throwing my own drink in my face. My hair was caked with a putrid pineapple smell. It was awful,” she says. To make matters worse, she couldn’t work out and used feeling bad as an excuse to indulge in cheeseburgers and doughnuts. “Before the accident, I wore size 26 jeans! I was truly in the best shape of my life,” says Jenna. “Afterward, I gained 10 pounds and got flabby.” Once she recovered, she started hiking with friends and cutting back on her high-fat favorites. “I lost the first few pounds, which was a great motivator,” she says, “but I had to do more.”
Make yourself the “butt” of your own jokes
“If I could tell women one thing, it would be that everyone worries about their bodies and what they look like in their clothes,” says Jenna. “I’ve heard gorgeous actresses say, ‘My ears are too pointy’ or ‘My feet are horrible.’ But rather than complain about it, we should be laughing at our imperfections to make ourselves feel better. I’ll squeeze the jiggle on my thigh for you just to show you I’m not perfect!” Of course, that doesn’t mean Jenna wasn’t thrilled when she got back down to her pre-accident size 26. “I went shopping with my girlfriends recently, and I fit into my old-size jeans. I’m like, ‘Do you like these? I don’t care!’ They could have been acid-washed and I would’ve bought them simply because of the size!”
Editor’s Note: This is part of a new GoodHousekeeping.com series, Month of Me. In January, we’re officially banning “should” (as in, “I should go on the treadmill,” or “I should clean the garage”) and encouraging you to give yourself a break after the holiday season. All month long, we’ll be sharing personal essays and more inspiration to help you take time for yourself. Here, 15:17 To Paris co-stars Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer share what they do to stay healthy despite the craziness of Hollywood.
Jenna Fischer as Heidi and Judy Greer as Joyce in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ The 15:17 to Paris, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer are considered veterans in Hollywood, with a number of successful TV shows and movies to their name. Fischer famously played Pam, the subtly hilarious better-half of Jim in The Office. And Greer, well, she’s been in everything from 13 Going on 30 to the animated show, Archer.
Throughout their careers, both women have learned that to be better at their craft, they need to take care of themselves — in all aspects of their life. “My favorite thing to do just for me is sleep. But as the mom of two little ones, I rarely get as much sleep as I want,” Fischer told GoodHousekeeping.com.”My second favorite thing to do for me is drink coffee.”
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Sunday New York Times. Coffee. Cozy blanket on a cool LA morning. Kids watching cartoons. #happysunday #meandmycoffee
A post shared by Jenna Fischer (@msjennafischer) on Jun 4, 2017 at 7:33am PDT
She has learned that even if she doesn’t get to hit snooze — a rarity these days — she can treat her body in different ways. Her first stop: yoga class.
“When I do yoga regularly, I feel so good,” says Fischer. “It’s my mind, body, and spirit cleanse.”
“After a long weekend of play dates and sporting events and kid birthday parties, I can’t tell you how much I crave my Monday morning yoga class,” admits Fischer. She typically heads to class after dropping off her kids at school, allowing her to feel completely in the moment. “As we get started with stretching, the first 20 minutes of every class is usually me fighting my brain to relax, to stop making to-do lists, and to stop making notes on my mental calendar,” she says. “The more poses we do, the more my brain gets quiet.”
Within an hour, her mind and body are reset. “As the hour goes on, I feel like I’m literally wringing out the weekend and resetting myself. I leave feeling refreshed and clear-headed,” says Fischer. Although it’s difficult to find time to rest and recharge in her busy schedule, she tries to make time for yoga once or twice a week. “I don’t see yoga as an exercise class — I see it as a sanctuary,” she explains. “I love yoga almost as much as my coffee.” And that’s saying something.
Greer’s me-time doesn’t look all that different from Fischer’s. Funny enough, sleep is also one of her favorite ways to treat herself. “Reading a book in bed before I go to sleep helps me wind-down from whatever day I’ve had,” Greer told GoodHousekeeping.com. “To be honest, I prefer to read while taking a bath but my bathroom is being remodeled so I’ll take what I can get.” Greer doesn’t mind the switch up, and neither does her dog, Mary.
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#sundays #squattingatsteves #inbedwithmary #calmbeforethestorm #lastmelloweekend #holidayseason #holidayheadaches #thinkingofhashtags #anygivensunday #rimfire
A post shared by Judy Greer (@missjudygreer) on Nov 20, 2016 at 10:35am PST
Along the way, Greer has learned a thing or two about finding downtime in her hectic schedule. “I try to arrive to a dinner 30 minutes early so I have some alone time to decompress before I have to jump into socializing,” she says. In addition to some peace and quiet, this gives her ample time to let go of stress and enjoy her meal even more. Take that tip and save it for later — and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have some of Greer’s star power.
Fischer and Greer in 15:17 to Paris, out February 9. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Evidently, the secret to success in the entertainment industry is a big cup of coffee, a good book, and a consistent exercise routine. Oh, and a lot of hard work.
SHOP JENNA FISCHER AND JUDY GREER’S “MONTH OF ME” KIT:
Yoga mat ($22, gaiam.com)
Bath tray ($70, thewhitecompany.com)
Coffee mug ($16, amazon.com)
15:17 To Paris, a biographical thriller about the 2015 Thalys train attack, arrives in theaters on February 9, 2018.
Amanda Garrity Associate Lifestyle Editor As the Associate Lifestyle Editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, Amanda oversees gift guides and covers home, holidays, food, and other lifestyle news.
Jenna Fischer is an American actress best known as Pam Beesly Halpert on the NBC sitcom The Office, where she acted alongside Rashida Jones and Ellie Kemper. Jenna Fischer has also appeared in the comedies Blades of Glory, Hall Pass, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story with Kristen Wiig. Fischer has been nominated for numerous awards for her role in The Office.
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