“There's More To Life Than Pleasing Men” (Part 1)

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She hates bitches, believes women should support each other and loves her pyjamas – but why does Zooey Deschanel still feel like an outsider?

Description: “Why do we need to act like men to be strong?”

“Why is being girly a bad thing? Why do we need to act like men to be strong?”

Zooey Deschanel has a lot to be proud of. Because when she burst on to our TV screens in New Girls – all big blue eyes and bouncy bangs – she turned the archetypal screen siren on her annoyingly Botoxed head. Instead of a size-zero, bodycon-wearing seductress, Zooey gave us Jess Day, the polka-dot-loving, funny, real kind of TV heroin who doesn’t make you feel guilty for devouring an entire tub of Ben &Jerry’s in one go. The Zooey effect hasn’t gone unnoticed by men, either. The 175,000 male readers of Askmen.com recently voted her the most desirable woman in the world. Even President Obama is a fan and sent Zooey a letter on her 32nd birthday this year.

But despite her current reign of telly, fashion and music (she’s one half of indie duo She & Him), Zooey is no new girl to fame. Her father Caleb is an Oscar-nominated cinematographer, her mother Mary Jo an actress and big sister Emily is the star of long-running US drama Bones. Zooey herself made her debut in an episode of Veronica’s Closet aged 18 and has since built an impressive movie portfolio, holding her own alongside Kate Hudson, Jenifer Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker. Then there was her legendary turn as the blonde, singing girlfriend of Will Ferrell in Elf and her stand-out performances in (500) Days Of Summer and The Happening with Mark Wahlberg.

And we love that Zooey’s no bland, media-trained starlet. As Cosmo quizzes her about every inch of her life, including her ex – Zooey and her husband of two years, Death Cab For Cutie front man Ben Gibbard, split earlier this year – she “erms” and pauses the way anyone would. So how does she stay no normal in the face of megawatt fame? We found out…

Description: Zooey’s wardrobe is stuffed with many a vintage frock

Zooey’s wardrobe is stuffed with many a vintage frock

Welcome to Cosmo and thank you for giving us New Girl! Is the show as much fun to film as it is to watch?

“Thank you so much. Well, the days are ready long. There’s not a lot of downtime on set – it’s not like with a movie, when you wait around. But it’s with a great bunch of people and the one thing that keeps me going is that we’re always laughing on set. The show has totally changed my life. It’s so all-encompassing; before, I kind of had my own schedule, but now I know what I’m doing every day and I enjoy that”.

Do you still have time for friends?

“Yeah, for sure, but it’s not like I see them every day. Unfortunately, it’s never the same as when you’re at school and you get to eat lunch with your friends each day. But if I didn’t have time for my friends, that would be terrible. I’m close with the people I work with, then I have friends who I’ve known since I was a little kid, and I’m still close to my best friend from kindergarten too. The one thing I can’t always give as a friend is time, but I can be thoughtful in other ways instead.”

One of your mates is Alexa Chung. How did you meet?

Description: Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung

“We met through my friend [fellow actress and musician] Tennessee Thomas. She lives in New York, so when I’m out there I really like hanging out with those two gals. Alexa’s so funny and clever.”

Does she let you steal her clothes?

“God, I don’t know if I’d fit into them! She’s like this amazing super-tall bean pole [laughs]. She looks amazing in everything.”

How do you feel when girls turn on each other and are bitchy?

“It makes me sad. Girls get competitive, as though there’s only one spot in the world for everything – but that’s not true. Just because one girl gets something doesn’t mean you won’t get something else. I think we can make that less true if we encourage each other more. We need to stick together and see there’s more to life than pleasing men. It’s important not to cut yourself off from female friendships. I think sometimes girls get scared of other girls, but you need each other.”

You’ve been criticized by some so-called feminist for being “too girly”…

“Which is weird, right? It’s the total opposite of what we should be doing. Why is being feminine or girly a bad thing? Why do we need to act like men to be strong and powerful? We all have different qualities but they’re equally as good.”

Too right. We love how you’ve opened people’s eyes to how women are seen on TV…

“It’s exciting but I find that I will be misunderstood a lot because of it too… but that’s OK. I’ve never done any of those shoots for, like, Maxim or any of those magazines. It’s not me. But I’m not knocking anyone else for doing it.”

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