Meet Zozia Mamet: actress, Anglophile and scene-stealer in hotly-anticipated new US show Girls. By Katie Wright
Zozia Mamet’s character might be to blame for the many comparisons made between Girls and Sex And The City.
The 24-year-old – familiar to Mad Men fans as Peggy’s lesbian friend Joyce – plays ditzy virgin Shoshanna in the US comedy drama, which finally landed on our shores on Monday.
Shoshanna is obsessed with the show, and has a big poster of Carrie and Co. on her wall.
Only life in Girls isn’t just one big long brunch date, and much of the comedy arises from its frank portrayal of young womanhood, complete with awkward sexual encounters, humiliating drunken escapes and botched eyebrow makeovers.
Mamet was bowled over when she read the script, and when she watched show creator Lena Dunham’s film Tiny Furniture, on which Girls is partly based.
She recalls: “I thought it was really different to anything I’d ever read. And then I watched her movie and that just sort of sealed the deal and I said, ‘I have to work with this human’.”
Having been ill on the day she had to film her audition tape, Mamet admits she didn’t rate her chances to land the role.
But, with her 100mph delivery of Shoshanna’s chatter, it’s obvious why she did, and she gets some of the funniest lines of the series.
Mamet’s own tastes in TV comedy were formed by a rather bohemian upbringing with her Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright father David Mamet and actress mother Lindsay Crouse.
“I wasn’t allowed to watch television growing up,” she reveals, “so I grew up watching old British television shows on DVD, like Fawlty Towers and Ab Fab.
It was, therefore, a “dream come true” for Mamet when she got the role of Saffy in an American pilot of Absolutely Fabulous, but a full series didn’t follow.
Mamet is confident that Girls will have trans-Atlantic appeal, partly because it shares certain British characteristics. She compares Girls to The Office, saying: “It’s not afraid to make people uncomfortable.”
With the second series of Girls already wrapped, Mamet is keeping schtum about any spoilers. She’s equally secretive about another stint on Mad Men.
Joining the cast of such a well-established franchise was somewhat daunting for Mamet.
“Having experienced being a series regular, you really become a family and you get so entrenched in this world. It’s hard to be an outsider going into that, but [on Mad Men] they welcomed me with open arms.”
Mamet says her own family were “very supportive” of her chosen career, which is handy as she believes she was born, almost literally, into acting.
“My mother was pregnant with me on stage, so I was a goner from the womb,” she quips.
Girls is on Sky Atlantic