You waited for eight years to meet her on How I Met Your Mother. You wished for more than just one hilarious episode with "sexy baby" Abby Flynn on 30 Rock. And, even though you felt pretty bad for her betrayed character in The Wolf of Wall Street, you still envied the fact that she got to kiss Leo.
Now, after what feels like a million teasers, actress Cristin Milioti is finally breaking through.
She's currently starring as Zelda in the freshman NBC sitcom A to Z, and although it was announced this month that the series will end its run after just 13 episodes, Milioti herself shows no signs of slowing down. Her work on the comedy showcases her ability to deliver a performance that is both hilarious and heartbreakingly relatable. That's a valuable, rare talent — and Hollywood is taking note.
We sat down with the budding actress to talk about the downside to being funny, why starring on a TV show is kind of weird, and, of course, what it was like to make out with Leo.
You’re still filming A to Z now, right?
"Yeah. It’s definitely been bittersweet though — I’ll miss everyone very much."
It seems like things happen very suddenly in the TV industry. Is that hard to get used to?
"It’s very sudden! The whole industry is, though. It’s like a gambling addict's dream. Anything can happen on any day. One day you have this job, and the next day you don’t. I don’t think I’ll ever fully adjust to it. I’ve gotten better at not thinking, I’ll never work again!, all of the time. But, having had a couple of shows under my belt, I’ve tempered that a little bit, which has been nice."
Did you originally want to go into comedy, or did it just kind of happen that way?
"It just kind of happened. I never really set out to do comedies. It just sort of started happening. Acting is fun, acting is great. But, there’s something about dramatic work that’s particularly draining. So, comedy sets tend to be buoyant places to work. And, really, I just love laughing so much."
Are you ever afraid that you're not going to be funny when you're supposed to be funny?
"Oh, absolutely. I have that on set every day. I mean, I was just doing a scene now where I was improvising all this stuff in it. And, the first three [takes] got a laugh, and then the second two got such silence that I immediately wanted to dig a hole and lay down in it. But, you have to! You can’t be afraid of looking like an idiot."
True, but those moments must make you appreciate the fact that you’re not doing standup comedy...
"Yeah! I would never do standup. I’m not that much of a masochist."
Okay, so, real talk. What was it like to kiss Leo DiCaprio?
"Well…why don’t you ask him what it was like to kiss me?! No, but, seriously, he was a lovely gentleman, and made me feel very safe. All of our kissing was cut though — there was a lot more!"
Photographed by Kathryna Hancock. Makeup by Kate Denno. Hair by Marcus Francis. Styled by Anita Patrickson. Shot at Lightbox Studio LA.