Elisabeth Moss | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Elisabeth Moss

My So-Called Life

Aug 02, 2010 Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar’s Summer 2010 Issue is a special issue named the Wasted on the Youth Issue that features musicians and actors talking about their childhood memories and things they loved when they were kids, including this story from Elizabeth Moss.

Growing up there was definitely a lot of stuff pop culture-wise that I didn’t catch onto until I was older. Of the things I did experience as it happened, My So-Called Life was the one that was most important to me.

As a 12-year-old, there were two sides of it that I loved. One was the fact that it was about a teenage girl. I think any teenage girl that’s awkward appeals to real teenage girls living through that sort of thing. At the time, I remember even wanting to dye my hair like Claire Danes. But I actually really appreciated it as a young actor. Claire Danes was so incredible in that show, and she became my role model at that young age for acting.

It was different to see someone who was portraying a really interesting, multifaceted character who just didn’t fit that mold that you used to see with teenagers on television. She was dark and deep and had problems, and I had never seen that on TV before, and I think it had a huge influence on me as an actress for what you could bring to television, and how you could elevate the medium to portray real life. I remember very vividly even certain scenes having an effect on me. There weren’t a lot of young actresses portraying such emotional depths and with such complexity, and I felt that she had this wonderful complexity to her. It wasn’t all black and white. So many emotions would play across her face. At 12, I couldn’t really think of anyone besides her who was doing that, especially on TV.

Many years later I actually met her, but never told her any of this. I didn’t want to be annoying. But she had a huge influence on me as a young actress. I definitely felt passionate about it and was devastated when it was cancelled. I still can’t believe it went for only one season. I think some people just weren’t ready for it. They might not have been ready for a show like that. Now I think a show like that would definitely survive and thrive. At the time, it was pretty revolutionary. It portrayed the everyday reality, as opposed to things that were more sitcom-related or melodramatic.

I wasn’t in the normal high school. I have no idea what the experience was like. I couldn’t identify with that. I wasn’t a super awkward child. I really wasn’t dating. But I think it was just Danes’ portrayal that got me, someone who had more feelings than “are we going to the football game?” She had real feelings and real emotions and real conflicts, and that was very interesting to me.

(Elisabeth Moss began acting at an early age. She played the First Daughter to Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet in The West Wing and currently stars as Peggy Olson in AMC’s Mad Men, for which she’s been nominated for an Emmy. She also recently starred opposite Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in Get Him to the Greek.)


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Owosso Web Design
May 20th 2012

That show really started here career.

Rajendra Swain
October 15th 2017

it is a great article