Q: I read you auditioned for Midge. How did you end up as Joan?
A: I actually auditioned first for Joan and then was brought back to audition for Midge and then was brought back to audition for Joan again. [Laughs] … I told my manager, “I want to be a part of this project, and I’ll take whichever sticks because they’re both amazing roles.”
Q: What, for you, is the most unexpected thing that’s happened on the series so far?
A: Betty being fat. I mean I think that’s a shocker for everyone… January [Jones] was so game and thought it was a really cool storytelling technique and so she was enthusiastic about it and a true sport.
Q: You normally have to wear really elaborate era-authentic underwear. Did that change this season with the more modern styles?
A: No, that stayed. Although the first couple of episodes I have a little extra baby bump…so I had a little cushion to look like post-delivery baby weight.
Q: Joan is effectively a single mother. Did you do any research into what life was like in the ’60s for a woman in that position?
A: To be quite honest, it’s the same as any woman who is trying to raise a baby on her own [today]… Babies are a tremendous amount of work, and you need help.
Q: How many babies were you working with?
A: There were about six “Joan babies.” They can only work for like twenty minutes at a time, I think, is the law. So once one baby’s time is up, we bring in a new baby… I can tell a difference between them, but hopefully the audience can’t! [Laughs]
Q: You’re in pajamas and a maternity dress in the season opener. Was that an adjustment from Joan’s normally dressier looks?
A: What we ended up choosing was really, really cute, but you should have seen the options that I tried on before we decided on that one… There were some that looked like shirts that nurses would wear; really sort of loud prints and really weird, stiff fabric.
Q: Is there any other character’s outfit that you wish could have been for Joan?
A: I think Peyton List, who plays Jane [Sterling], always wears outrageously amazing, high fashion outfits. Through the seasons, I’m always like, “Oh gosh, what she’s wearing is beautiful.”… The red and white dress she wore to [Don’s party] in the premiere was amazing. It was stunning.
Q: The scene last season where Joan and Peggy finally have their bonding moment was incredible. Did it feel like an “at long last” moment?
A: I don’t think it had the full impact on me until I saw it. [Elisabeth Moss] and I watched the episode together and I got teary-eyed. It really was a long time coming… It was a moment of respect and a moment of two smart women talking about office politics and talking about their lives in a completely normal way.
Q: You’ve now worked on the big screen, the small screen, and even a video game. What’s your favorite medium?
A: I love each and every [role I play] and I feel so lucky that I get to try all of them. But just as far as trust and quality and knowing and loving the people that I work with, it’s Mad Men.
Q: Have any of the other characters you’ve played reminded you of Joan?
A: I think I’ve been really lucky in that Joan is really a one-of-a-kind character. She’s not a stereotype and you don’t just see roles like that in every script you get. People have asked me if I’ve worried about being typecast, but there is no “type” for Joan.