Before endless security lines, full-body pat downs, cramped seating and inedible food, there was Pan American World Airlines, the glamorous era of air travel now being depicted in ABC’s “Pan Am” -- a “Mad Men”-esque show set in the skies.
On the show, Christina Ricci, 31, plays a rebellious stewardess who -- gasp! -- doesn’t always follow the rules. The well-seasoned actress spoke with HuffPost Celebrity about playing such a sassy role and her personal guilty pleasures.
Does Pan Am make you wistful for how glamorous travel used to be?
It certainly does look glamorous and fun and beautiful, but it also reminds me about the clothes and having to have my makeup done like that every day. My mother told me it took her two hours every day to get ready during those times. It reminds me that getting dressed today -- the way we get dressed -- is also a luxury.
Those times may have been glamorous, but they were pretty awful for women.
Yeah, there is that as well. You can’t show this period of time without acknowledging that it was a misogynistic period of time for women. There were certainly not just double standards but blatant rules that excluded women and were very hurtful to women.
It seems like everyone was sleeping around in those days.
I think they were having a good time. One thing I have to say about stewardesses -- they were very much in charge of their own lives and sexuality. It was a job where they could sleep with who they wanted to and travel around and not be married. Actually, they couldn’t have the job if they were married. While certainly flirting with passengers was encouraged, sleeping with passengers was not encouraged and that is something we deal with in the show.
You play the rebel steward who doesn’t always wear her girdle.
Yes, I flout authority. My character, Maggie, uses the plane as her own personal runway. When she’s out and about, she’s the glamour queen and gets into fights and fights for everyone else’s rights. She has her nose in everything.
Are you like that at all?
A little bit, yeah, unfortunately. Not the glamour puss and strutting stuff, but I do tend to get involved way too much in other people’s business. Karine Vanasse -- one of the other girls on the show -- and I made an agreement early on because I don’t know when to stop talking. She tells me when to stop talking.
Are you embarrassed when she does that?
No, I turn to her sometimes when I’m kind of feeling maybe I should and she’ll nod at me and be
like, ‘Yup, now,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Um, okay.’
You were an amazing child actor. Ever catch yourself on cable and go, ‘Hey, I was good!’
(Laughs) No, I look at it and think it’s funny because I look like such a kid. I think when you know yourself, you can recognize your little kid acting voice or the way I read a line. I’m more like, ‘Oh, look I was 12,’ or, ‘Look what I looked like when I was 10.’
What’s one show that you’re ashamed to say you watch?
Probably this show called “Dance Moms.”
Oh like, “Toddlers and Tiaras” but for dancing?
Yeah, it’s less the moms pushing [the kids] than the dance teacher pushing them. She yells at the moms. It’s absolutely genius and I love it.
Do you eat any forbidden food while watching it?
No, but I have to say my favorite forbidden food is Cheetos and any kind of McDonalds. I once ate McDonalds three times in one day.
Maybe you could be in an ad for them.
I don’t know if I want to take it that far, but I am revealing my secret food choice.
"Pan Am" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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