Thursday, August 27, 2009

Magazines: Velvet

An interview from the June issue of Velvet, an Italian magazine.


Velvet | People
Rashida Jones
by Manuela Cerri Goren, photos by David Slijper

In the upcoming comedy film of the year, "I Love You Man", she plays the brilliant bride-to-be. With a childhood featuring John Travolta and Michael Jackson, and a passion for food, shopping and civic engagement... meet the latest It-Girl (and daughter of the legendary Quincy).

Read the article here (in Italian)

A roughly translated version:
Rashida had a busy morning before the interview; she did some exercising, went shopping and had brunch on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California, a strip that winds from the freeway to the sea, with a range of shops and restaurants of a decidedly bohemian flavor. The weekend is sacred to her, after a working week where each day is spent between home in the West Hollywood hills and the studio where television series "Parks and Recreation" is filmed. ... Alongside Amy Poehler's character - so enthusiastic, so obtuse - Rashida plays the 'shoulder' she leans on, the intelligent and down to earth one, a young nurse trying to help her fellow citizens and improve the local community. She identifies with her character and thinks there is something very relatable about her. She says "I also believe strongly in social responsibility and there is no better time than this in America to try to participate in positive change."

She has a BA in philosophy and religion, an unusual background for a Hollywood actress, and especially one best-known for her work in comedies. "I love to entertain people and am proud to be part of things that make people laugh," she says. "For actresses of my age, the parts are often limited to being 'the wife', 'the friend', 'the girlfriend'. But I'm not complaining, since the roles that allow an actress to really show her dramatic talents usually arrive when you are older and more experienced. This is why I bypassed the problem by writing (and successfully selling) my own starring role in a film. It is set in New York, my favorite city. Filming there also means I can enjoy my apartment in the West Village."

Born and raised in Los Angeles in a house where dinner with Michael Jackson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar was normal, Rashida says her heroes are her Mom, Dad and Oprah Winfrey. Although she has had famous boyfriends such as DJ and music producer Mark Ronson and actor Tobey Maguire, she values someone who loves their work and family. "We are a close knit bunch," she says of her own family. "My mother taught me to identify and empathize with the feelings of others and my father to make decisions based on love and not fear. My parents are very proud of me; Dad even carries around the latest articles and press clippings about me to show everyone. People think my sister Kidada and I grew up in luxury, but while we did have a wonderful childhood, the focus was on being good people and getting a good education. I must confess that most of the time we preferred to play with our dolls rather than sit in the living room with the 'grown-ups'. The only time we were left speechless was meeting John Travolta. We were both hardcore fans of "Grease" and he was our idol... Even today, when we meet, John continues to tease me for that childhood crush."

An excellent singer and actress (who would not exclude a Broadway musical in the future), she is never without her blue iPod currently loaded with Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Radiohead, punk rock and opera. "Being the daughter of ... one might expect I only listened to R&B or jazz, but I have eclectic taste. For a good time I sometimes go to Little Branch in NY: they have good live music and good cocktails." Some other favorite places downtown: for brunch she likes Dell'Anima, for dinner Momofuku Noodle Bar, and for clothes Mick Margo and Steven Alan, boutiques which sell designer lines from Europe and America that aren't too well-known (or too expensive) such as Alexander Wang, VPL, Rachel Comey and Isabel Marant. If she decides to spend more she likes Stella McCartney and Derek Lam. Often photographed by magazines, Rashida knows her body and its limits (she's only 1.63 meters tall). She appreciates rich fabrics, intricate details and impeccably tailored clothes, evident today in her jeans, Converse All Stars, cashmere sweater and blazer.

"It took me 13 years to get where I am," she confesses. "But that's not to say my career is confined to just film and television. In the future there might be political activism or perhaps a return to school for a Master's degree. I love writing and could attempt more of that. I am also part of the board of an organization called Peace Games that teaches kids tolerance and rejection of violence. I feel a responsibility towards others and therefore, because people know my name and my face, it is my job to use that fame well. "Yes we can," said Obama. It is a great truth. We can all at least try to live by it."

(Posted on 08 June 2009)
Scans from the June 2009 issue via