In 2009, Alison was voted #18 in the list of 100 Most Beautiful Famous Faces From Around the World by The Annual Independent Critics. In 2010, Alison ranked #5 in the same list.
Alison has Dutch, Irish, and Scottish ancestry from her father side, and her mother is a Ashkenazi Jewish.
Alison attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, after her degree from the California Institute of the Arts.
Alison started acting early in her childhood in produtions of the community theater Jewish Community Center in Los Feliz, with her first role being in a production of Wizard of Oz as Toto.
Alison is 5' 3" (1.6 m) tall.
Before she was cast as Trudy on Mad Men, Alison worked as a clown at children's birthday parties in South Pasadena, California.
During her senior year in high school, Alison was the president of their Drama Club.
If she were stuck on an island with only one set of TV series DVDs, Alison would want to have Six Feet Under with her.
Film, Video, and TV Movie Credits: • Us One Night (2009) as Alyson • The Deadliest Lesson (2008) (TV) as Amber • The Thacker Case (2008) as Grace • Parasomnia (2008) as Darcy • Salvation, Texas (2008) as Lisa Salter • Not Another High School Show (2007) (TV) as Muffy • Dickie Smalls: From Shame to Fame (2007) as Mya • Born (2007) as Mary Elizabeth • Stolen Poem (2004) as Alice
On the school's website, Alison is featured among the notable alumni of the theater program of the California Institute of the Arts, where she received a BFA in Acting.
In 2007, Alison won an Indy Award for her portrayal of Ophelia in the Rubicon Theatre production of Hamlet.
• Singer/Performer, Mad Men Live Revue at El Rey Theatre LA, Hollywood Theatre@MGM Grand Las Vegas
• Ophelia, Hamlet at Rubicon Theatre
• Margot, The Diary of Anne Frank at Rubicon Theatre
• Becky, It Came From Beyond at Write Act Theatre
• Ensemble, Fools In Love at The Odyssey Theatre
• Gina, The Return of Lance Bass at The Hudson Mainstage
• Pu$sywillow, Peach Blossom Fan at REDCAT Theatre
She has natural dark brown hair and blue eyes.
Alison has been living in South Pasadena, California.
Her parents are Terry Charles, a musician and entertainment reporter, and Joanne Brenner, director of the family service organization Para Los Niños. She has a sister named Lauren.
In 2009, Alison won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her role in Mad Men.
Alison: (on the cancellation of the TV series Community) Thank you, Community fans, for 5 seasons of incredible, heartwarming support. So deeply proud to have been a part of this.
Alison: (on getting her information from Twitter) Twitter is the first information that I ingest in the morning. When there are important things happening, friends of mine who follow news feeds will report on it, so I find out about most major news on Twitter.
Alison: (on building a character) You wanna do a lot of backstory for your character - as an actor, you wanna research that. But on the show, it's fun to remain in that naive place as you go along, and be able to continue to discover things about your character as the writers come up with them.
Alison: (on Twitter) I think Twitter is such a cool thing because it really is a direct line to the fans and for fans back to you, and it's such a new thing. I think in the past there's been usually fan mail and that's really good, but Twitter, it gets an immediate response.
Alison: (on prefering watching movies to TV) I'm really not a TV junkie... OK, I kind of am a TV junkie, but I'm much more of a movie junkie - my junk food is romantic comedies I've seen a million times.
Alison: (on doing movies) I've always loved film and wanted to work in film. I just love working and creating new characters, and trying different genres and different things. For me, I just love to work and I love movies.
Alison: (on liking to get flowers) If you're a guy, you should get girls flowers all the time. They never get old and you can never get them enough. I'm never disappointed when I get flowers. I always thought guys who don't buy women flowers are such fools. All it takes is one. A little goes a long way with flowers.
Alison: (on watching movies in matinees) Your opinion is not influenced by anyone when you're alone at a matinee. It's just you and the movie.
Alison: (on weddings) A wedding, people decide to get married, it comes out of such love for one another and then women can turn into these other people. They're planning something that's the biggest event they'll ever plan in their lives and it turns them into this other person, so it's not totally the guy's fault that he's feeling disconnected from this person.
Alison: (on dancing) Honestly, my favorite kind of dancing is just lettin' loose. There's something great about the carefree flinging of your body to great music. It can be so joyous.
Alison: (on the process of writing and running a show) I don't know much about writing a show or being a show-runner on a show, but I can only imagine that when you first cast a show and you first do a pilot, there are so many components that you're throwing into the mix and you're not sure how they're going to develop.
Alison: (on liking attending weedings) I kind of love going to weddings - it's a guilty pleasure. I've never been the wedding-y type girl dreaming about the big day, the dress, but I always cry. Always. Even if I don't know the bride that well, I'm verklempt!
Alison: (on her preferred daily routines) I like to have my breakfast in bed, and I use that time to watch the recorded shows on my TiVo. I seldom watch shows in real time - I'm always at work.
Alison: (on her personality on and off screen) I get pigeonholed into type-A personality characters, but I'm really not type A. I'm kind of a spaz.
Alison: (on being low or high maintenance) I think I used to be lower maintenance. I think I'm slowly becoming higher maintenance.
Alison: (on being honest) I think it's important to be honest with yourself about what you want and it's important to be honest with your partner about what you need.
Alison: (on comedy) I think that a big part of comedy is being made fun of, and it is looking silly or looking stupid.
Alison: (on having work ethic) I try to be very much in control when it comes to work. I have a strong work ethic.
Alison: (on being a jokester in real life) In my personal life, I'm hilarious! I was always a bit of a jokester.
Alison: (on the importance of learning) I think it's never too late to learn - or it's a lesson that's good to continue learning - that you need to treat everyone on a set with respect.
Alison: (on wanting to play a mental patient) I always wanted to play a mental patient. I was fascinated with playing crazy people in college, and I don't know if I ever quite perfected it.
Alison: (on liking drama and comedy equally) I enjoy doing drama, and I enjoy doing comedy equally.
Alison: (on religion when her father is Catholic and her mother Jewish) My mother, God love her, is a very proud Jew and would always make sure we knew we were Jewish. I remember being 6 years old and her saying, you know you guys are Jewish. If Hitler came today he would take you...
Alison: (on her preference between doing comedy or drama) I've flip-flopped on both throughout my career. When I was in college and growing up I was like, 'It's comedy for me! I'm so funny!' Yikes. Then when I started acting, right away it was drama, and with Mad Men it's my first success in television and obviously it's a heavy drama. What I like about it is, [drama and comedy] both appeal to both sides of me.
Alison: I'm pretty mellow, and I stay around South Pasadena and Pasadena a lot because I'm a homebody who's fine with dinner and a movie. But my boyfriend is from Texas, and two years ago, I went there with him on the ultimate trip where we shot guns, drank beer and saw the rodeo. When I got back, I was like 'Let's go to the gun range!' My parents are so anti-gun and I used to be, but now I feel so empowered when I go to the L.A. Gun Club downtown. It's sort of seedy, but hey, I love going.
Alison: (at a party, you'll find her) Dancing and probably taking my top off.
Alison: (about working on "Mad Men") That's what makes it such a joy to work on. It's not like shows that try to distract you with fireworks while nothing much is happening with the characters. Mad Men is really an actor's piece; everything has deeper layers.
Alison: I have had vocal training, at Cal Arts we had very extensive vocal training, it's an hour and a half per class of sticking out your tongue, exploring your soft palate, all that. It's proven to come in handy all the time. You learn all the tools you have, your body (as an actress) is your greatest asset.
Alison: For me, God is more of an idea than an actual person.
Alison: (recounting her worst date) It was our second date and we were supposed to go to this concert. I'd just gotten a new car and it ran out of gas, so I was stranded in the middle of Hollywood. I called this guy thinking that he'd be like, 'Oh, that's terrible, I'll come pick you up on my way.' But he was like, 'What do you mean? You were supposed to be here 10 minutes ago!' I had to walk two miles and buy a gas can and fill up the can. When I finally got there, he was totally wasted.
Alison: I cherished my time at CalArts. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
Alison: (about the effect of Mad Men on her personally) In the past I would just throw on jeans and a T-shirt and kind of schlep around and now I'm like, 'Oh I should curl my hair today.' I'm wearing more dresses and heels in the afternoon which I never used to do -- I was born and raised in California and I was all sandals, all the time. Now I'm like, 'What bracelet would match this blouse?'
Alison: (on '60s fashion) It amazes me how much time it took to get ready to go out. All the clothing: girdles, slips, stockings. You couldn't just pop on the nylons and throw on a dress. I think people appeared to be adult so much sooner because they dressed up.
Alison: (about being recognized for her work on Mad Men) I've had a couple encounters with people recognizing me and the first thing they usually ask is, 'How do you like working on the show?' I find that to be a funny question because I just don't think you could ask for a better television show to work on.
Alison: I think people are too hard on kids in the entertainment industry. It's a really tough industry to be in.