I missed the Community boat, so for me, Alison Brie will always be Trudy from Mad Men. As a die-hard Pete Campbell enthusiast (yes, I freely admit it and am happy to justify), I was fully invested in that pairing's ups and downs. Their season 7 reunion warmed my heart more than any Peggy/Stan hookup ever could.
When the show ended in 2015 (RIP!), Brie seemed poised for a big break. Her first starring role in a major movie, as a sex-addict who falls in love with Jason Sudeikis in Sleeping With Other People, was supposed to shed her type-A persona, demonstrating range and mainstream star-potential. But for some reason, her big break has been elusive. She's been around, but not at the center of things — until now.
The actress is finally having a moment this summer. She's starring in GLOW, the upcoming Netflix series about a group of badass lady wrestlers in 1980s L.A. Brie stars as Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress whose only option is to join a fledgling cast of women wrestlers for a TV show called GLOW: Glorious Ladies of Wrestling. She's a Glee Club nerd who is more earnest than Laura Ingalls, but, without giving it away, she also has a wild side that gets her in some deep trouble. And her mom jeans — I could write an entire sonnet about those mom jeans.
When she's not throwing down in the ring, she's rocking a habit in The Little Hours, as raunchy nun Sister Alessandra, alongside Aubrey Plaza and real-life husband Dave Franco. And, she was just cast in Steven Spielberg's upcoming film about the Pentagon Papers with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Sarah Paulson, and Matthew Rhys. (Insert requisite Prince Of Egypt "Playing With The Big Boys Now" singalong here.)
Full confession: Alison Brie is a hot topic in my house. My boyfriend would literally leave me for her if given the chance. In fact, after very unscientifically polling the young Jewish men in my life, including my brother, I have discovered that Alison Brie has dethroned Natalie Portman as the ideal NJG — nice Jewish girl. She's that funny, dorky, smart girl you can bring home to your mom, but who's also probably really hot in bed.
I suspect that's actually part of her wider appeal. She's relatable, and not in a "cool girl" Jennifer Lawrence, eats french fries at the Oscars way, but as a regular girl who gets really pumped about dressing up for events; who tells really long-winded stories about her "stalker" only to reveal that said creep is a coyote; who does the cute shruggy shoulder thing when talking about her partner, but also spent most of her college years naked, and who casually learned to freestyle rap from Donald Glover. She's fun, but she's also serious and thoughtful. (She also does a fantastic Wonder Woman impression. Listen up, Patty Jenkins, I have found you an Amazon for the sequel!)
Brie is outspoken about her commitment to making things better for women in Hollywood. She recently made headlines when she described an audition for a part in an episode of HBO's Entourage, where she was asked to remove her top to show off her bikini. And like most actresses, Brie has struggled against being typecast in the type-A, goody two-shoes roles she's played in the past. Even for GLOW, the casting of which she described as a positive experience, Brie had to go all out to get considered for the role, showing up at auditions with no makeup, in workout clothes, her hair permed in '80s frizz. "They didn’t even want to bring me in," Brie told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't think they thought I was gritty enough. I fought for this one."
So, I call on all of you to help me make this Alison Brie's big moment. This is her year, and I'm excited about it! Click through for a couple of reasons why you should be too.