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Zooey Deschanel On 'New Girl' Role And Reality TV

Zooey Deschanel

First Posted: 10/26/11 02:19 PM ET Updated: 12/26/11 05:12 AM ET

FOX's hit "New Girl" is officially one of this TV season's breakout shows and star Zooey Deschanel is simply on cloud nine. Born into a showbiz family -- mom Mary Jo is an actress, dad Caleb is an Oscar-nominated cinematographer and big sis Emily stars on "Bones" -- the actress brings her off-kilter goofiness and hipster cred to the new show. The 31-year-old actress also has a beautiful singing voice and is half of the musical duo "She & Him."

Deschanel spoke to The Huffington Post about the dangers of actors trying to sing and her deep love for the "Real Housewives" series.

So this is a big deal, starring in your own show. Do you feel like Mary Tyler Moore?

Oh my gosh, I feel so happy, it's so nice, I'm having the best time working on this show. It's a dream come true. I didn't set out for this at all. I had actually taken a couple of years off acting. I was doing my music, touring with my band. I was sort of looking for the next thing to do but I hadn't really thought about doing a network show. I'd been looking for interesting characters which is very hard to find, and if you do it's often the smallest part in a movie. But I'd sort of put myself in that mindset that if I wanted to play interesting characters, I would just have to take small parts and be ok with that, and then I got this script and I fell in love with the character. I told them I was interested and they offered me the part. It happened very quickly.

Your sister Emily is a successful actress. Did you ever compete for roles?

No, she has a very different vibe from me. She's the strong but sensitive one; I was always the one who was a little bit more goofy and silly and clown-like. We never went out for the same parts.

You're both on the FOX studio lot. Ever carpool or meet up for lunch?

Film and TV schedules break for lunch six hours after crew call, which changes every day and it's different on every production. We're on the same lot but it's way more complicated to see each other than you think. She's also on maternity leave right now.

What TV do you watch?

I'm into a lot of reality shows. I love the "Real Housewives" -- especially the Beverly Hills one -- and I love "Top Chef" and "Intervention."

You also have a band. Did you ever worry that people wouldn't take your singing seriously because you're an actress?

It's funny, when you set out to do anything there are always people who say, "Well you can't do that." I feel like you can't let those people stop you. I took all the precautions necessary so it wasn't perceived like that. We put a band name on it so people wouldn't immediately connect it with me. If you're an actor and you put out a record, it can be perceived as a vanity project. Like, "I want people to know how great I am at this thing," but if you're willing to slum it a little, I guess, and not have people treat you as somebody with an established name, I think that's the best way to do that sort of thing. You want people to appreciate it with fresh ears.

You grew up in the business. Did you always know you wanted to be a performer?

When I was tiny, like from age two or three, before I even knew what it was.

Wow, that's young.

Yeah, and I was very focused my whole childhood. I begged my parents to be a child actor but they said I couldn't go on auditions until I could drive myself to them. And then I figured out that Rudy on "The Cosby Show" was a real kid and not an adult pretending to be a kid.

You really love the '90s.

I love being nostalgic about my childhood from the '90s. I love my American Girl dolls, Molly and Samantha. I even had a party at the American Girl store a couple of years ago.

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