a letter that teenage Zooey Deschanel wrote to Vogue magazine, from The Huffington Post, Zooey Deschanel, Age 17, To Vogue: 'Is Insecurity Something You ...
Why would you want to limit the spectrum of beauty to an “ideal” when you, as a popular women’s magazine, have the opportunity to expand it? I don’t think any woman should have to feel as if she needs to shove herself into an “ideal” to be beautiful. Beauty should be something that is celebrated and something that is enjoyable, not something that people should feel uncomfortable about achieving. Most of the women, and certainly most of the adolescent girls, in the United States do not feel completely secure with themselves, especially with their appearance; is insecurity something you want to advocate? As American women, we don’t need discouragement, but inspiration.
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Actress Zooey Deschanel has appeared in such films as ‘(500) Days of Summer’ and on the hit TV sitcom ‘New Girl.’
Who Is Zooey Deschanel?
Born in Los Angeles in 1980, Zooey Deschanel started her career in supporting roles. She earned raves for All the Real Girls (2003) and landed parts in the big-budget movies Elf (2004) and The Happening (2007). In 2009, Deschanel starred in the hit independent film (500) Days of Summer. She went on to star in her own sitcom, New Girl, which debuted in 2011.
Born into the Business
Born in Los Angeles, actress Zooey Deschanel has built a career on playing offbeat yet charming characters. She is reportedly named after one of the title figures in the novella Franny and Zooey, written by J.D. Salinger. With her dark hair, bright blue eyes and pixie-like manner, Deschanel seemed to personify the indie-film dream girl.
Deschanel grew up in the entertainment business. Her father, Caleb, is an Academy Award–nominated cinematographer, and her mother, Mary Jo, is an actress. Her older sister, Emily, is also an actress. Zooey spent many of her early years traveling around the world as her father worked on different films.
Deschanel attended the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California. There, she befriended the likes of such future stars as Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson. Deschanel, who loved music and acting, later told The New York Times, “All through high school I thought I might be a Broadway singer.”
‘Veronica’s Closet,’ ‘Almost Famous’ and Other Early Roles
In 1998, Deschanel made her television debut with a guest spot on the Kirstie Alley sitcom Veronica’s Closet. She briefly studied at Northwestern University before dropping out to pursue acting full time. A supporting role in the dramatic comedy Mumford (1999) gave Deschanel her first major career boost. She quickly followed up with another well-regarded performance, in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000).
Becoming a popular actress in independent film, Deschanel appeared in Manic (2001), with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and in The Good Girl (2002), with Jennifer Aniston. She earned raves for the little-seen but critically acclaimed All the Real Girls in 2003, co-starring with Paul Schneider and Patricia Clarkson.
Film Successes: ‘Elf’ to ‘500 Days’
Deschanel made the most of a small role in the box-office hit Elf (2004), starring Will Ferrell. The comedy gave the actress the opportunity to showcase some of her musical talents, including her ukulele skills. Deschanel played best friend to Sarah Jessica Parker in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch (2006), with Matthew McConaughey. The film proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment, as did one of her next efforts, M. Night Shyamalan’s environmental thriller The Happening (2007), which also featured Mark Wahlberg.
Reteaming with Gordon-Levitt, Deschanel had a career-changing experience with (500) Days of Summer (2009). The film, sometimes called an anti-romantic comedy, reflected on a couple's relationship in reverse—from their breakup to their beginning. Both she and Gordon-Levitt won wide critical praise for the movie.
After appearing in the silly Your Highness (2011), Deschanel continued down the path of comedy with Rock the Kasbah (2015) and The Driftless Area (2016). Also in 2016, she provided voice work for the animated Trolls.
‘New Girl’ Star
In 2011, Deschanel conquered the small screen with another quirky-girl persona. Her sitcom The New Girl debuted that fall and quickly won over television audiences. Her cute and goofy character, Jess, moves in with three single guys after splitting with her boyfriend. Deschanel shared the Critics’ Choice Award for best comedy series actress with Amy Poehler in 2012, and went on to earn numerous other award nominations, until the show signed off in May 2018.
The multitalented Deschanel has also enjoyed some success as a recording artist. She met singer and songwriter M. Ward in 2006. The pair worked on a song together for the soundtrack of Deschanel’s 2007 film The Go-Getter, and they really hit it off. They formed their own musical group, She & Him, and released their first self-titled album in 2008. Two years later, She & Him, Volume 2 came out.
Deschanel was also tapped to play famed country singer Loretta Lynn for a musical based on Lynn’s autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Deschanel married singer Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie in 2009, but the pair announced their plans to divorce two years later. She announced her engagement to producer Jacob Pechenik in January 2015 and the couple secretly married before the birth of their baby daughter, Elsie, that August. In May 2017, they had a son, Charlie.
The Twee Revolution - The Atlantic James Parker, July/August 2014
Eight years ago or so, the alternative paper I was working for sent me out to review a couple of folk-noise-psych-indie-beardie-weirdie bands. I had a dreadful night. The bands were bad enough—“fumbling,” I scratched in my notebook, “infantile”—but what really did me in was the audience. Instead of baying for the blood of these lightweights, as in the Darwinian days of old, the gathered young people—behatted, bebearded, besmiling—obliged them with patters of validating applause. I had seen it before, this fond curiosity, this acclamation of the undercooked, but never so much of it in one place: the whole event seemed to exult in its own half-bakedness. Be as crap as you like was the message to the performers. The crapper, the better. We’re here for you. I tottered home, wrote a homicidally nasty nervous breakdown of a review, and decided I should take myself out of circulation for a while. No more live reviews until I calmed down. A wave of Twee—as I now realize—had just broken over my head.
Is Twee the right word for it, for the strangely persistent modern sensibility that fructifies in the props departments of Wes Anderson movies, tapers into the waxed mustache-ends of young Brooklynites on bicycles, and detonates in a yeasty whiff every time someone pops open a microbrewed beer? Well, it is now. An across-the-board examination of this thing is long overdue, and the former Spin writer Marc Spitz is to be congratulated on having risen to the challenge. With Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film, he’s given it a name, and he’s given it a canon. (The canon is crucial, as we shall see.) And if his book is a little all over the place—well, so is Twee. Spitz hails it as “the most powerful youth movement since Punk and Hip-Hop.” He doesn’t even put an arguably in there, bless him. You’re Twee if you like artisanal hot sauce. You’re Twee if you hate bullies. Indeed, it’s Spitz’s contention that we’re all a bit Twee: the culture has turned. Twee’s core values include “a healthy suspicion of adulthood”; “a steadfast focus on our essential goodness”; “the cultivation of a passion project” (T-shirt company, organic food truck); and “the utter dispensing with of ‘cool’ as it’s conventionally known, often in favor of a kind of fetishization of the nerd, the geek, the dork, the virgin.”
The aesthetic lineage that Spitz proposes—his connect-the-dots survey of Tweedom across the decades, from Peanuts to Jonathan Richman to New Girl—starts with Mickey Mouse. Mickey’s shorts, his hooting eunuch voice, his taking arms against a sea of troubles: Spitz appoints him “the first American Twee icon.” Close behind in the Twee parade trots Ferdinand the Bull, followed by the contemplative elephant Horton, and then—trying hard not to be a virgin—Holden Caulfield. The point of these characters is the bravery with which they assert their tender selves. Or perhaps the tenderness with which they assert their brave selves. Whatever: in a shitty world, they’re taking a stand for beauty. We might quibble, you and I, with elements of Spitz’s Twee taxonomy, his Tweexonomy, what he calls his “heroes’ gallery of pajama people.” I can’t accept, for example, that Sylvia Plath, rising from the ashes with her red hair and eating men like air, was ever Twee—although I can accept that thinking she was Twee is Twee. And shouldn’t Kerouac be in there somewhere? (“Don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?”) What about Vonnegut? But all of this just puts us further inside the Twee-dome. To bandy names like this, to compare pedigrees, is to play the deep game of Twee.
“Everyone has an anthropology,” wrote Walker Percy, right on the money as usual. “There is no not having one. If a man says he does not, all he is saying is that his anthropology is implicit, a set of assumptions which he has not thought to call into question.” Mother, father, doing laundry for your Twee son, washing his bike-messenger shorts or his “Three Wolf Moon” T-shirt, you may ask yourself, What does he stand for, this kid? What does he believe? Your hard-core Tweeniac, in the 21st century, appears quite settled in his floating-ness, quite rooted in his void. His anthropology looks like an aggregate of encrypted style statements, rarefied consumer choices, B sides, punch lines from canceled sitcoms, teeny-weeny totems and teeny-weeny taboos. In his mind, at least, he’s off the grid. He is easily ironized because he comes, in a sense, pre-ironized. Consider the cultural degradation of the “hipster”—once a jazz-and-orgasms spirit warrior with battle hymns by Norman Mailer, now a dude with a funny hat rooting through a bin of used vinyl. And he is easily exploited. One of the most beautiful lines in Spitz’s book, curiously or perhaps fittingly, comes in a description of the famous 1999 Volkswagen Cabriolet ad that (blech!) appropriated Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.” Spitz calls it “a sort of blue-bathed grace moment of shyness and gentleness.”
The Twee food fads come and go, as do the tribally sanctioned T-shirts and the weekly musical subgenres. But I am grateful to Spitz for reminding me that Twee has, beneath all the chirping, something passionately affronted and defiant; that its embrace of underdogs—their flops, their freak-outs, their difficult third albums—has an actual moral application. Spitz plants the British singer Morrissey upon the throne of Twee. I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour / But heaven knows I’m miserable now. The yearning, the susceptibility. But Morrissey is too sleek and magnificent an ego for that ambiguous seat, I think. (He is also responsible for the radically un-Twee couplet When we’re in your scholarly room / Who will swallow whom?) Spitz is on firmer, which is to say much more unstable, ground with Kurt Cobain. Here was the Elvis of Twee, a complicated angel, “rock’n’roll’s own Little Prince,” not only a shockingly potent performer but a militant Twee ideologue. He inveighed against sexism and homophobia; he loathed jocks; he sang Grandma take me home; he painted his toenails; he used his fame to promote unpromotable bands. It may have been the massive drumming of Dave Grohl—nothing could be less Twee—that powered Nirvana into the mainstream, but Cobain, like all great figures, had already invented his own historical inevitability: he was, briefly and tormentedly, the bursting-through of generations of Twee.
Spitz describes Twee as a “revolution.” A gentle one, to be sure, but revolution is revolution. Has it happened? Is it happening? Have we lit the fuse of a transformative explosion on the twinkling tips of those Brooklyn mustaches? In Boston, as I write, two former college-football players have just been arraigned for beating a homeless man—a beating that might have been fatal were it not for the intervention, as reported by The Boston Globe, of “a petite woman in her 20s who asked not to be named.” The woman’s intervention was apparently literal: she placed her body between the victim and his attackers. Truly Salingerian, or Cobainian. A paradigmatic instance of Twee heroism, one might say. Defend the vulnerable. Disarm the tormentor. Be strong. Be Twee.
The Twee Pantheon
Wes Anderson: Outsider boy-heroes and tinkling glockenspiels? Check. Perennial struggle between innocence and experience? Check. Sudden, disorienting swerves into the dark side? Heavy, heavy check. Cinema’s primary auteur of Twee.
Zooey Deschanel: “Who’s that girl?” she inquires in winsome song, from behind the wheel of her comedy vehicle New Girl. Well, who is she? An actor-musician with a smoky voice for whom battalions of Twee roar in praise. “Kooky,” “quirky,” “dorky”—terrible words. But she did co-found a Web site called HelloGiggles.
Belle and Sebastian: More than the Smiths, more than Nirvana, Belle and Sebastian—with its Glaswegian jinglejangle and wry depressive undertow—is the folk music of Twee. Although of course folk music is the folk music of Twee.
Jonathan Safran Foer: Or at least the Jonathan Safran Foer of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, heartlessly excoriated by non-Twee critics for its “kitsch” take on 9/11. Meanies! Bullies!
All the Single Ladies -- From "That Girl" to "New Girl" | HuffPost Marlo Thomas, March 21, 2012
Television takes a lot of heat from its critics — for its excesses, for its lack of subtlety — but no one can deny that it is a true reflection of the ever-changing times we live in. So as part of our ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to explore the evolution of single women on TV — a cultural time capsule that not only reveals this remarkable journey, but has also given us plenty of laughs.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago, when I was asked to present an award at a dinner honoring Linda Lavin, the gifted actress who starred in the hit television series “Alice.” As I did my research about Linda and “Alice,” I began to see how they perfectly fit into the colorful — and historic — transformation of single female characters on television.
Those were radical times for women on TV. Until then, women’s characters were primarily housewives, wearing gingham aprons and permanent smiles. I was just breaking into TV at the time, and as a young actress I felt the sting of those limitations. Whenever I was lucky enough to land a job on TV, I’d either be playing someone’s wife, or someone’s secretary, or someone’s daughter.
Then I read The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and thought, Wouldn’t it be great if we could see a show where the girl was the “someone?”
ABC was brave enough to green-light my idea as a new TV series called “That Girl.” My character, Ann Marie, would be an aspiring actress living alone in New York who was independent and ambitious — and had the courage to utter the earth-shattering words (usually to her protective father): “But I don’t want to get married!”
Although network researchers didn’t think a single girl had a chance in prime time, “That Girl” found her audience — because there were millions of That Girls in homes across America. We were not our mother’s daughters. We were a whole different breed.
But even with our success, women still had a way to go. Yes, Ann Marie was a revolutionary figure — but she had a fabulous wardrobe right out of an Audrey Hepburn movie, and you could’ve landed a 747 in her apartment.
And when Mary Tyler Moore came along a few years later, as one of TV’s first single women in the workplace, her first job on the show was pretty high-end — a television news producer. For many women in America, TV was still in fantasy land.
Then in 1976, in walked Linda Lavin’s “Alice,” who gave TV viewers a true dose of reality — as a widow and single mom, living with her son in a small apartment in the Phoenix desert, and slinging hash at a greasy diner. Her dream was not fame or success or the big corner office. It was simple survival.
From then on, this amazing transformation would continue, as women across the TV dial passed the baton to one another in their depiction of the modern single woman.
Linda Lavin’s single woman would eventually clone herself into a twosome — in shows like “Kate and Allie” and “Laverne and Shirley” — doubling the impact women were having on TV, while pointedly illustrating the enduring potency and warmth of sisterhood.
Bonnie Franklin’s Ann Romano in “One Day at a Time” — like Alice, a single mom, but with two daughters — would deliver dependable laughs each week, but the show also pushed the envelope in exploring serious social issues, including teen runaways and teen suicide.
Candice Bergen would a introduce a more complicated version of the single working woman in the character of Murphy Brown, a temperamental and tough-skinned TV journalist who thought nothing of berating her boss (would Lou Grant have ever tolerated that from Mary?); and whose seismic decision to have a baby out of wedlock (imagine Ann Marie doing that!) would not only rock television viewers out of their La-Z Boys, but also have a thunderous impact on that year’s presidential election.
And the once taboo topic of sex — which for decades had made the boys at the networks squeamish — would be confronted head-on in a host of women-driven shows — from “Will and Grace” to “Ellen” to “Sex and the City.” In fact, sex was not only discussed but flaunted among the quartet of sassy seniors in “The Golden Girls,” as the ladies continued to reject the notion that their life was over, just because they’d reached the golden age.
And now the latest member of the club is “New Girl”‘s Zooey Deschanel. Like her predecessors, she’s quirky and big-hearted — but this time, our single girl is rooming with three guys. Is her character once again redefining women on TV? Put it this way: Ann Marie wore Halston in “That Girl”; Zooey wore a dominatrix outfit in a recent episode of “New Girl.” ‘Nuff said.
But seeing is believing. So take a look at this slide show we put together, which will remind you of those television programs that helped chart the course for women in the latter part of the 20th Century. To paraphrase the “Laverne and Shirley” theme song, “We did it our way.”