There is a reason why playing one of the sultriest women on TV looks so effortless for Jessica Paré. The 33-year-old is a self-taught sensualist in real life who loves to indulge (spas, chocolate, travel, designer clothes, you name it) so stepping into her role as Megan on the award-winning drama, Mad Men, was something she felt completely suited for. In the last two seasons of the series (a new episode airs on April 13), the Québécoise actress particularly brought the heat as she managed to eclipse every scene she was in by her smouldering portrayal of Don Draper’s secretary-turned-wife. While immersing herself into the art deco surroundings of Beverly Hills’ Crescent Hotel, Paré is just as sleek as her television counterpart. Insisting on starting her interview with features editor Elio Iannacci with a glass of pino grigio, Paré offered her thoughts on style, stardom and the women of Sterling, Cooper & Partners after shooting FASHION’s March cover (on stands nationwide on February 17, 2014). Here is a sneak peek of her inside story:
On her most challenging Mad Men scene:
It would have to be the last episode of season six when Don tells her they are not moving to L.A. I didn’t want Megan to cry in the last—I wanted her to be strong and stand up to Don and not take his sh*t anymore. I wanted to say ‘that is not f*cking fair—you do everything for you and you don’t do anything that considers me!’ Not crying was actually more difficult. I can cry all day long—that’s easy for me. I live for those kinds of scenes.
On her idol:
I’m a huge Marlene Dietrich fan. She’s got this raunchy kind of strength. It would be hard to find a man who could come up with something hard for her to handle. She’s seen it all and done it all. I read her biography as a kid and it stayed with me since.
On starting a family:
I do want kids. I am dating [musician] John Kastner—who is also from Montreal. We’ve been together for 4 years so we have discussions. There’s something about meeting someone from your hometown… you have a lot in common with them. Montreal is a special place in the world to be from—there is nowhere like it so we understand each other.
On her fashionable upbringing:
Dressing up is a big deal in Montreal—there is some wacky sh*t that goes on in that city, fashion wise– but it’s really all about being an individual and having your own voice and expressing yourself.
On the importance of female friendships in Mad Men:
They make all the difference. If you go back and look at that episode in season 5, there is a scene where Megan and Peggy became friends. It was important for the audience to see that they’re not being competitive or cutting each other up. It helped people side with Megan as a character that the two of them genuinely like each other.
To read our cover story, pick up the FASHION Magazine March 2014 issue starring Jessica Paré, available on newsstands or digitally on February 17, 2014.