► Either way, we have established that you are a geek and/or a nerd. You’re a gamer, too, which kickstarted your current career. There was a certain necklace involved, if I’m not mistaken…
Yeah, I had the original Nintendo remote control as a charm necklace and I was bartending at the time. One day I was wearing that necklace while working, and a guy, who was working in development at G4, came down to my bar. He saw the necklace and he asked me about it. I told him I was playing games since I was five. His response was “But you’re a girl?!” After that he sat there for two hours and asked me about video games and nerdy stuff. At the end of our conversation he said, “You should really be on our network.” Two weeks later I had a meeting with the head of talent at G4. And two weeks after that they screen-tested me.
► How was that?
I was awful. It was the first time I had ever seen a teleprompter, let alone try to read one. I was so bad that I read the stuff like “roll the tape” or “turn to camera B”. I didn’t know what I was doing. But, for whatever reason, they took a liking to me. A couple of weeks after that disaster they hired me for my first field package and sent me to New York to shoot guns and fly a helicopter and interview Justin Long for the DVD release for Live Free or Die Hard. They just kind of stuck with me, and all of a sudden the audience started really liking me. So they brought me on full time, and now I got a career because of it.
► Justin Long for Live Free…? Isn’t this a small world? Kevin Smith was on that movie with Justin – and of course this year Justin played a lead role on Kevin’s latest movie, Tusk. Which is funny to me, because I wanted to ask you about something Kevin recently said on one of his podcasts: Being from New Jersey is almost currency; you tell people you’re from New Jersey and they instantly take a liking to you because, for some reason, New Jersey feels familiar to them. As a Jersey girl, do you think that’s true?
Oh yeah, absolutely! We have the slogan “only the strong survive”, which is kind of ridiculous because it makes it sound like New Jersey is this war zone you have to fight your way out of. Jersey is also called The Garden State – it’s this gorgeous part of the country. It just has some very not-so-gorgeous parts to it, which are the parts people usually drive through. So it gets a tough rep. But it definitely gives you a strange kind of street cred. I can’t even tell you how many people have told me that their ex-girlfriend was from Jersey and that she was the coolest chick ever. It just creates really solid people. And of course mobsters, but whatever. I definitely realise that, when people start getting to know me and then hear that I’m from Jersey, there is this moment – almost like this one piece of information makes me make sense all of a sudden.
► So even Jersey Shore or the – again, Kevin Smith – movie Jersey Girl didn’t tarnish that reputation?
(whispers) I haven’t seen that movie.
► Neither have I, to be honest. But you hear that it is awful. And you probably hear that from Kevin Smith more than from anyone else.
I guess that’s why I have never watched it. But when Jersey Shore first came out, someone put that on to show me. I watched it for 30 seconds and I knew they were in Seaside Heights. There is only one part of the Jersey Shore that is like that. We call it Sleaze-Side Heights. I mean, now these poor people have been hit by that awful hurricane, so now there is a whole different story. But back then we would go down there to drink after dances and proms, because no one there cared about underage drinking. In the end, that show does not represent what New Jersey really is. It’s so specific. But I definitely grew up with people who tanned too much and had too much gel in their hair. That’s Jersey for you.
► Between Tewksbury, New Jersey, and going to L.A. – to be accidentally discovered as a professional nerd – you went to Boston, right?
Boston College, yes. To study theatre.
► Did that include voice lessons? Because on your YouTube channel there are a few videos in which you sing. And, let me say, Alison Fesq Haislip certainly can hold a note.
Thanks. I actually started singing at a very young age. Both of my parents are musicians. There would always be music in our house, like my mom would sing while cooking dinner. And I was singing well before I was acting. Actually, it was singing that got me into acting. I started doing musicals, which is where I learned acting to begin with and where I realised that acting was the path I wanted to take. I did take voice lessons in college, but that was ancillary to the acting classes, directing, theatre history and all the other stuff.