Jessica Paré

The much-envied actress (she plays Don Draper’s wife on <em>Mad Men</em>) talks werewolves, hoarding, and competitive yoga
Photograph courtesy Eric Ray Davidson

My first acting jobs were in Canada, where I’m from—first a miniseries and then one episode of a Canadian TV series called Big Wolf on Campus. I know you’re jealous. Rein it in. A few years ago I was shopping for a Christmas tree in the Valley and I saw the guy who played the lead in that—a werewolf. I was staring at him like, “Where do I know that guy from?” And he looked at me like, “All right, honey, I see you checking me out.” At the same moment I realized, “Oh, Big Wolf on Campus” and “Oh, you think I like you.” But werewolves aren’t my type.

I moved to L.A. in 2004, and for the first two years I didn’t drive. I had some great friends who would pick me up, and I was dating a guy who drove me around. I would carpool to work with other actors who were kind enough, and I took a lot of taxis. I learned to drive at 25, and it was scary. Drivers are kind of aggressive here and can be pretty rude, but at least they are consistent—you know to anticipate it. I’ve learned that two cars turn left on a red. That’s the rule.

For years I also didn’t have a television, though I do have one now. It’s one of those things like sugar or alcohol: When you have a little bit, you want more. I try to keep it to the good shows—Breaking Bad and Homeland—but I have also been known to sit through a three-hour Ice Loves Coco marathon. And I like Hoarders. You should see how clean my house is after I watch a couple hours of Hoarders. I’m whatever the opposite of a hoarder is: a purger.

I was never athletic. I did ballet in elementary school, but I didn’t have much of an affinity for it. And then I started doing yoga in L.A. and I was competitive, like, “My Downward Dog is better than that crap!” It was the antithesis of yoga—I was ruining it. Only Bikram gets me out of my head, so I’m not challenging the girl two towels over in the stupid purple leotard.

Moving here was a big change for me. In Canada you are raised to think you’re responsible for the people around you. That goes for your words, your actions, and your taxes. But while I miss a lot of things in Montreal, I love L.A. I started off living in West Hollywood, then Laurel Canyon and Santa Monica. Then Silver Lake for a couple months, then Atwater Village, and now I’ve moved to a place in Los Feliz.

The Eastside of L.A. is so multicultural, with so much amazing food and great comedy and music. As strong as the celebrity and beauty culture is—I once heard about a studio executive who just hated my teeth, to which I could only think, “I know! What was I thinking? I’m so sorry!”—there is an equally strong counterculture, especially where I live now. All my Eastside places have sort of cemented my happiness. Los Angeles is my home. I don’t think I’ll ever live anywhere else.