Elisabeth Moss Has Become an Ad Aficionada

The Mad Men star on her Bravo addiction and "special relationship" with her DVR

Headshot of Emma Bazilian


Who Elisabeth Moss

Age 30

Accomplishments Portrays Peggy Olson on AMC’s Mad Men (season 6 premieres on April 7); currently stars as Robin Griffin on Sundance Channel’s mini-series Top of the Lake (Mondays at 9 p.m.)

Bases New York and Los Angeles

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

To a probably unhealthy degree, I’m attached to my phone. So the first thing I do is check any texts or emails I’ve gotten. Then, on the computer, it depends on if I’m being a good girl or not. If I’m feeling like I need to do something mindless, I’ll go to People or The Huffington Post—not the serious sections—or Just Jared, stuff like that. If I’m being good, I’ll try to answer emails.

What occupies your mind in the car or subway?

In L.A., I love just listening to music. Nobody likes driving in L.A., but it is kind of nice when you get to just listen to music and chill out. I’m obsessed with the Mumford and Sons album, like everyone else in the world. And at night when I’m driving home from work, I like listening to country music.

Are you a TV junkie, and what do you watch?

I really love television, and I love my DVR—we have a very special relationship. I suppose my obsession is anything on the Bravo network. I watch all of the Real Housewives shows, and when they do the marathons, I watch those to catch up so I’m prepared for the new season. I’m also watching House of Cards, Nashville, Parenthood…

How about late night shows?

I love Colbert and I watch it when I can, but I’m usually too busy catching up with my DVR. I do watch Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Bravo. It’s awesome. I’m going to be on it in a few weeks! I need them to reserve an hour or two because I have a lot to say.

What do you do to wind down before bed?

I like to read because that really chills me out. Usually I’ll read on my phone, actually, on iBooks. But I love books, so even if I buy a book on iBooks, I’ll buy the real copy just to have it. I just started reading the Chelsea Handler book, Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me. She’s so funny and strong and cool.

When you’re shooting Mad Men, do you use any apps or games to occupy your time between takes?

Everybody plays Words With Friends with each other—that’s the big thing on set—but it’s too hard for me! I don’t want to think that much.

Do you ever read magazines or newspapers from the ’60s to get into character?

Not to get into character, but just out of boredom. They have all the old Life magazines on set as props, and it’s always really interesting to open them up and read interviews with people like Elizabeth Taylor now that we know what their lives ended up to be. I also love looking at the ads. We have boards in the office that are filled with finished ads or ads that are in process, and I always end up staring at them.

What do you think about the ads from that era?

What I find interesting in some of the older ads is how much copy there was. There would be an actual paragraph about the product. Now it’s very much about the visuals and catching someone’s attention in a world where we don’t have time to stop.

What are your favorite recent ads?

I like those ones for AT&T with the guy talking to the kids. He just sells it! It’s great. And I really loved those old Apple ads from the ’80s that would just make you cry. They were amazing.

Have you found yourself paying more attention to advertising since you joined Mad Men?

Definitely. It’s not something that I ever thought I’d have any sort of connection to, but I’ve always had a great appreciation for advertising. I think it’s cool that you can get these big directors and cinematographers to make commercials that are really beautiful. I love when people elevate this commercial business into art.

@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.