She starred in cult shows Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek and Cougar Town, but actress, author and social media phenomenon Busy Philipps says her true calling is to be a late-night TV host, as she tells NET-A-PORTER’s weekly digital magazine, PorterEdit, that acting has never been easy for her:
Acting is exhausting and heartbreaking and I truly think it doesn’t get easier for anyone. For years, I feel like I tried to fit into something that I thought I was supposed to be in order to procure work as an actress. I have many friends at all different levels of accolades and fame and none of them have an easy road. It’s always a f***ing struggle, you always feel like you’re beating your head against a wall.
Philipps’ upcoming new show on the E! channel will make her one of only a handful of women with a late-night spot on mainstream US TV, but the mother-of-two (she has daughters Birdie, seven, and Cricket, five, with screenwriter husband Marc Silverstein) reveals that she was initially gunning for someone else’s show, instead of her own:
I turned to Marc and said, ‘I know what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to be a woman in late-night TV.’ Well, I actually said, ‘I’m supposed to be the first woman host of The Tonight Show’, but Marc was like, ‘Jimmy Fallon already has that job; maybe you’re just supposed to have a talk show.
The 39-year-old also makes the surprising divulgence that she preferred her former shows Freaks and Geeks and Cougar Town to beloved teen drama Dawson’s Creek – because she never watched it:
Freaks and Geeks I think is ultimately the classic. And then probably Cougar Town. I never watched Dawson’s Creek. I didn’t watch it before I was on the show and I barely watched it after I was on the show, so I don’t have the same connection that other people have to it.
Philipps also dashes any hopes of a Dawson’s Creek comeback, as she explains how a retail clerk recently withheld her change until Philipps would agree to say there would be a show reunion: “I said, ‘OK, yeah sure. It’s not going to happen, but, yeah, go on then.’” But while the actress might not have as strong of an affinity to Dawson’s as she does for her other roles, the show did give her a lasting friendship with former castmate Michelle Williams: “It’s so interesting that [our] friendship became basically mythological after that show. We had very few scenes together; Jen and Audrey were unlikely friends. But in the last season, sometimes they would give us scenes together, just to make us happy.”
Modeling ’90s-inspired T-shirts, jeans and lingerie in PorterEdit’s shoot, Philipps is the picture of ease and confidence. But the actress explains she hasn’t always felt that way when having her photo taken:
Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s when I would show up for photo shoots, all they would have pulled was sample-sized clothing that I didn’t fit into and I would feel like a burden to the stylist and embarrassed. [Photo shoots] weren’t ever a place where I felt supported, or like people wanted to take a great picture of me that looked like me. I always felt like they wanted me to look like Tara Reid.
For PorterEdit’s shoot, Philipps was photographed by Matthew Sprout and styled by Catherine Newell-Hanson in the season’s stripped-back off-duty pieces and ’90s-inspired lingerie by Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, The Row, Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Totême, Hanro and more. All items can be purchased straight from the magazine’s pages via the NET-A-PORTER app, available on Android as well as iPhone and iPad, and through www.net-a-porter.com.
In an accompanying mini film shot exclusively for PorterEdit, Philipps, who is a self-confessed skincare obsessive, shares the health and beauty mantras she swears by – and reveals a time when things went very wrong…