Classically trained actor Melinda McGraw plays Bobbie Barrett, the wife/manager of comic Jimmy Barrett. In this exclusive interview, she talks to AMCtv.com about her character’s philosophy, her own love of the girdle, and kissing Don Draper.
Q: One of Bobbie Barrett’s most memorable lines is: “This is America. Pick a job and then become the person that does it.” Do you agree?
A: I don’t think it’s quite as black and white as that. I do believe that one way to have a destiny is to choose one. We live in a world where action is what counts. But I also think that there are circumstances that get in our way. The ideal is that America is an even playing field. Is that an ideal? Absolutely. Do I love Bobbie Barrett for believing it? Absolutely.
Q: Bobbie Barrett’s wardrobe is stunning. Do you take any inspiration from the show’s fashions?
A: I’m ruined now, because I don’t want to live without a girdle! But I’ve always loved and dressed in period clothes — my mother was a model in the ’60s. I love rediscovering the glamor. It reminds me of how casual we’ve become. It’s fun to dress just for your husband. It’s fun to dress just for work.
Q: Do you see Mad Men style infiltrating the larger culture?
A: Absolutely. The show has influenced so much contemporary fashion, go to H&M or Michael Kors. I sent (Matt) Weiner a link to a furniture store and there’s this actor that looks like Don Draper holding a drink sitting on a sofa and the headline says, “Mad About Modern” and its called the “Draper Sofa.” And Weiner said, “Is this flattering?”
Q: Can we talk about that scene outside the ladies room in Episode
A: When I read it, I thought, “He does what now?” But it was also exciting because I’d never seen anything like it. And we had this amazing level of trust established. The very first scene I had with Jon Hamm, I had to kiss him in the car. And he was wonderful. He’s what every leading man should be. Besides being talented and professional, he’s very protective of his cast.