Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Breakthrough Jew – Lizzy Caplan

This ‘Masters of Sex’ star was just nominated for her first Emmy.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: July 10th, 2014 in Culture » TV » News

Breakthrough Jew - Lizzy Caplan

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Lizzy Caplan

Age: 32

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Breakthrough Cred: Played Janis Ian in the cult comedy, Mean Girls.

Unlike many actors who essentially know from birth that they must be a thespian, Lizzy Caplan had only a passing interest as a wee child in the art of acting. Granted, her first role was in the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof.

“I was a Russian dancer in my elementary school production of Fiddler on the Roof when I was in third grade of fourth grade. I was one of the younger kids accepted into the play, and the plays were pretty impressive, let me say. When we did Wizard of Oz, one of the girls few through the air on a harness,” Caplan explained to TV Line last month.

It wasn’t until she attended Alexander Hamilton High School, that Caplan wholeheartedly began pursuing acting after first studying the piano. Her first real role came in 1999, on that spring-board-of-so-many- a-career, Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks.

“My first acting role as a kid was on Freaks and Geeks. I did it when I was 15 years old, I played Girl No. 1, I was in the pilot and I had one line. Ben Foster was in the scene with me, and I had no idea what I was doing, and then I came back for three more episodes — still didn’t know what I was doing and was very nervous — and since then I’ve been very proud to have been a part of what is probably one of coolest shows ever made,” she said.

After a string of TV movies, series, Caplan played Janis Ian in the cult comedy, Mean Girls.

Caplan in ‘Mean Girls’

“The second after that movie wrapped I dyed my hair blonde and just went a completely different direction, so I was never recognized on the street. But when I’m with Daniel Franzese, a good friend of mine, who is in that movie, he gets swarmed by people and says, “Oh, and that’s Janis,”‘ and then they kind of freak out a little bit. Otherwise I could be standing right next to him and people would have no idea, which is great. I don’t know how to react to people wanting to take pictures of me. I just get really uncomfortable, it’s pathetic, and it’s totally my problem,” Caplan told Mass Appeal Magazine in 2008.

Find out more about this week’s Breakthrough Jew, Lizzy Caplan, on the next page!

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