Q&A – January Jones (Betty Draper)

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AMCtv.com asks January Jones (Betty Draper) about her delivery scene in Episode 5, her own modeling career, and Betty’s smoking and drinking during her pregnancy.

Q: Betty’s hospital and delivery scenes were intense. How did you prepare?

A: I tried to do a little bit of research but every person I asked didn’t have a clear memory, because of what they went through…

Q: ”The Fog”?

A: Yes, exactly. The makeup and hair were a big help — the chapped lips and blotchy skin. It was my biggest fear to do the whole “pushing out a baby” scene. Luckily we didn’t have to do that, but I tried to think of something really painful.

Q: The Demerol dream sequences were mesmerizing. What was it like shooting those?

A: It was fun — it was new and weird. Don has a lot of flashbacks but Betty hadn’t yet. It was good to see her interact with her father. The more abstract stuff, working with the caterpillar on a green screen while on a treadmill, that was a challenge.

Q: By now Mad Men viewers are used to seeing pregnant women smoke and drink.  What was it like to actually do it in the scenes?

A: She’s drinking and smoking more now that she’s pregnant! Matt [Weiner] gets a kick out of it. It’s fiction — it’s not like I advocate it — but you have to just laugh at it.

Q: How did you feel about Betty’s wardrobe during her pregnancy?

A: Janie Bryant and I discussed it and decided: She’s still Betty, she’s still fabulous. She’s not going to look dumpy. She has some amazing gowns with that belly. I have a lot of fun with fashion — it really helps you get into character. We have a bunch of silhouettes this season with petticoats, and more form-fitting shapes segueing into mid-’60s.

Q: You began your career as a model at age 18. Betty Draper also had a modeling career.

A: Actually Matt pulled that from my life and brought it to Betty’s character. I didn’t really enjoy modeling. It was a means to an end for me.

Q: Betty’s character has faced many traumatizing events (Don’s infidelity, the death of her father, etc.). How do you adjust to the character’s shifting circumstances?

A: We get the script the day before the table read, which is a day before we shoot. At this point, I look over the script and don’t do a lot of mental preparation. I never had any training — it’s all very instinctual. It’s a blessing to be on a show for this long. Nobody knows the characters better than we do — except, of course, for Matt. We all respect each other so much on the show and all really love each other.

Read an interview with January Jones from Season 1 »
Read an interview with January Jones from Season 2 »

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