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From Hairspray to Melissa & Joey Marissa Jaret Winokur Dishes on Her Career and Hope For a Spinoff

marissa jaret winokur intervoew

Marissa Jaret Winokur has had a successful career appearing in everything from the Broadway musical, Hairspray to Curb Your Enthusiasm, Just Shoot Me!, Dharma & Greg, Dancing with the Stars, and The Talk. Winokur is a girl that seems to be able to do it all. Most recently, Winokur revealed she would be appearing in ABC Family’s hit show, Melissa & Joey. Winokur said she still can’t believe where her career has taken her.

Q: You are the girl that is in everything. You are hilarious in everything. You do it all.

Winokur: [laughs]. That is what an actress likes to hear. I would like to be in more. If I could be in more, I would be more. People will stop me and say ‘Wait a minute, you are that girl from…’ and I am like if you can’t name one thing I am not going to tell you. [laughs]. Yes, I am in everything. I like that.

Q: You have been in some of the biggest movies of all time, Never Been Kissed, Scary Movie. Television shows like Felicity.

Winokur: I am old! [laughs]. I have been around. I look like I am fifteen, but I am not.

Q: What draws you into the roles you play because everyone is either hilarious are incredibly in-depth and interesting.

Winokur: I wish I could say to you that I read scripts and decide on the role. However, I literally do the jobs that I am offered. I like to work. I am not above anything. There is never a job that doesn’t feel like a right fit for me. I am not a picky actress. I pretty much try to do everything. I don’t take anything too seriously, I like to have a good time. Sometimes it’s a very little part and sometimes it’s a huge part. I am very lucky, I feel like I have been extremely lucky.

Q: What is it about acting that you love? I find it very interesting that you are Marissa and then you walk on set and become someone else…

Winokur: I think the trick, is how am I like this character. How can I bring me into it, rather than try to figure out how they are different then me. I try to figure out how to make the character special besides whats on the page. Then I try to find out what resembles me the most from the character and try to relate that way. I try to keep it as true to me. Sometimes it’s hard. I have lost parts because that’s the way I went with it because it was meant to go a different way, but the parts that felt the most real to me are the ones I have been able to do that. None of them are me, because I think playing me would be the hardest character on the planet to play, but I find it easier to make it true by finding some way making it my own and making it close to me.

Q: So talk to me now about being on Melissa and Joey?

Winokur: My favorite thing about doing Melissa and Joey is my wardrobe and my hair. I wish that I could just be this character in my real life. I wish that I was that girl. I wish I was a Jersey girl. That’s what I always aspire to be, but I am a forty-year-old mother and I am not a Jersey girl. But like I love this character. This character is amazing. I want this to be my spin-off. I want to be that character in everything. It was so much fun, I love doing sitcoms. I feel like I am most at home because it’s live television, like theater. I play Joey Lawrence’s sister. It’s a riot.

Q: I am so excited.

Winokur: My character is hilarious. She is so out there and she is so brassy. This was awesome. I get to be a mom. I loved it all. We didn’t have a lot of backstory for her, but every line I had I was like oh I know this relationship. You can just tell by looking at me and Joey what our relationship is.

Q: You are not just playing a random person… so does that mean you will be back?

Winokur: I have no authority. But I want to come back. I told them a thousand times. I hope I get to come back. We need a spin-off!

Q: What can fans expect in the finale?

Winokur: It’s going to be a hilarious chaos. I am so excited for fans to see it. It’s just going to be funny, heartfelt, and just amazing. I am so excited.

Watch Melissa & Joey on ABC Family and stream the first two seasons now on Netflix.

About the Author

Monica Gleberman began writing in 2000. She has been published on CNN and in the Suffolk Times, Examiner, The Daily Collegian, Demand Studios, Patch, and The Tattoo.

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