From the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and the pages of the Victoria’s Secret catalog to movies like Battleship and Just Go With it and TV comedies New Girl and The League, Brooklyn Decker is that rare supermodel who has successfully transitioned to acting. And now the 26-year-old blonde has landed her highest profile role yet, playing one of six compadres in the new CBS comedy Friends With Better Lives (Mondays, 9/8c). She talks candidly about acting, her idols and the wonders of Photoshop.
I’m not gonna bite the hand that fed me and say, “I’m pretty therefore I can’t get good roles.” That’s bullshit because doors have opened for me, but now I have to prove I can stay here.
How do you find doing a series?
I’m loving it. It’s been such an incredible experience. And to have a live audience watch what we’re doing, it definitely keeps you in check. It keeps us motivated week to week to just perform, and it’s been so much fun. It’s definitely been an unconventional path, but I’m surrounded by really talented people. They’ve helped me the whole way, which is really good for me.
Are there parallels between modeling and acting?
A few, yes. I think more lifestyle than the actual work. The work that goes into acting takes time and energy and I feel like modeling is completely different in that aspect. But as far as the lifestyle, the inconsistency, the travel, the last-minute unexpected flight to shoot something, that’s the same.
Was it always a goal to act?
I never thought I could. I grew up in North Carolina where people didn’t move to L.A. or New York to act, so it was never a realistic option for me. I moved to New York when I was 18 years old, and I started working with an acting coach so I could read scripts. I started reading a lot of Tennessee Williams, and that’s how I fell in love with acting.
When did you stop modeling?
Two years ago. I felt like if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna commit to it and not have a backup plan.
Were the guest roles you did good preparation for this job?
Yes and no. I didn’t take those roles in order to get a sitcom. I took them because they were really fun roles to play. They were really crazy and quite different from who I am, and I loved the shows and the casts. As far as doing this, I had never gone out for pilot season before. I had done a couple movies and a few guest bits. I read the script and completely fell in love with it. I really fought for this one.
So your plan didn’t include a series?
Not necessarily, I wanted to do good work, and the lifestyle of being on set and laughing every day is great. Comedy is difficult and I feel like one of the best formats to do it in is on television. I got really lucky that this show worked out for me. But that was not the end goal. I wanted to work with really good people. I was out of my element especially with multi-cam live audience. It’s a very particular type of acting, which I had to get used to. Also I talk superfast so letting the jokes breathe and letting the audience respond is a huge part of it, and it’s an unnatural thing to get used to.
Do you prefer comedy to drama?
Honestly, I love both. I love little tiny quirky comedies and I love dramas and they couldn’t be more different. Up until this point I’ve made my decisions based on who I’m working with and the material and I’ve been really happy so far. I have a couple of movies coming out, an action dramedy called Stretch and a romantic comedy called Casual Encounters.
Whose career would you like to have?
I look at Goldie Hawn, she’s one of my favorite actresses of all time and Maggie Gyllenhaal who makes incredible choices that vary from movie to movie. Or Reese Witherspoon, who can do everything. There are so many women out there right now who are making really interesting choices and they’re not completely consistent, but that’s what excites me.
Do you ever not get parts because of your looks?
Maybe, but I also know that people take meetings with me because of that. I’m not gonna take credit for my looks, I had nothing to do with that. My parents gave them to me and hair and makeup and Photoshop makes it better. I’m not gonna bite the hand that fed me and say, “I’m pretty therefore I can’t get good roles.” That’s bullshit because doors have opened for me, but now I have to prove I can stay here.