Gillian Jacobs

Gillian Jacobs


10/19/1981, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth Name


  • Gillian Jacobs as Britta on Community.
  • Gillian Jacobs as Britta on Community.
  • Gillian Jacobs as Britta on Community.
  • Joel McHale as Jeff and Gillian Jacobs a...
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Gillian Jacobs is an American film, television, and stage actress known during the early stages of her acting career to perform roles of lost girls with tortured souls.

She grew up in an upper middle class suburb called Mount Lebanon, just outside of Pittsburgh. It was there that…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Gillian got accepted to Harvard University, but opt to go to the Juilliard School for the Performing Arts.

    • Gillian enjoys crime novels, and read all the Sherlock Holmes while she was growing up.

    • Gillian is a fan of wrestling.

    • Gillian is a teetotaller, defending not using of achool.

    • In 2000, Gillian graduated from the Mt. Lebanon High School.

    • While growing up, Gillian studied acting at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

    • In 2010, Gillian won two awards in the Phoenix Film Festivalfor her role in the movie Nonames (2010). The first, a Special Jury Award in the category of Acting Achievement . The second, the Copper Wing Award in the category of Best Ensemble Acting, shared with James Badge Dale and Barry Corbin.

    • In 2010, Gillian was nominated for an award at the Method Fest in the category of Best Actress for her role in the movie Nonames (2010).

    • In 2012, Gillian, as part of the cast of Community, won a TV Guide Award in the category of Favorite Ensemble.

    • Gillian was Irish, Scottish, German, and French ancestry.

    • Gillian first play out of Juliard, as a professional, was in the production of Cagelove, where her performance received positive reviews.

    • Gillian's nickname is Gill.

    • Gillian is 5'4" (1.63 m) tall.

    • Gillian was voted #43 in BuddyTV's 'TV's 100 Sexiest Women of 2009'.

    • Gillian appeared in her first play when she was in third grade and performed at Little Lake Theatre and in Ken Gargaro shows as a child. Her mother enrolled her in an acting course when she was eight years old.

    • Her father, Bill, worked as an investment banker while her mom, Martina, was employed at Carnegie Mellon University, working with alumni relations.

    • Gillian was one among the 31 featured rising Hollywood stars in the "On the Edge of Tomorrow" feature in NYLON magazine's May 2009 issue.

    • As a teen, Gillian used to read through the American Theatre magazine and dreamed of starring in an Off-Broadway production.

    • She considers watching "super trashy TV" like America's Next Top Model as her guilty pleasure. Her favorite TV show is 30 Rock.

    • Her favorite non-healthy snack is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She likes snacks that have the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.

    • Gillian considers her nude scenes, shot at a strip club in Newark, to be the toughest scenes she's done for the movie Choke. Although she has done nudity on her prior films, Gillian was still hesitant to do those scenes in the film.

    • She won the annual Shakespeare Monologue Contest at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Pittsburgh Public Theater twice.

    • Gillian takes her coffee black.

    • Film and TV Movie Credits: • Bad Milo! (2013) as Sarah • Made in Cleveland (2013) as Marth • Teddy Bears (2013) as Emily • The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) as Miranda • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) as Waitress/Katie • Adventures in Sin Bin (2012) as Lauren • Revenge the Jolly (2012) as Tina • Watching TV with the Red Chinese (2012) as Suzanne • Let Go (2011) as Darla DeMint • Coach(2010) as Zoe • Nonames (2010) as CJ • Helena from the Weeding (2010) as Helena • Solitary Man (2009) as Tall Girl • The Box (2009) as Dana Steward • Gardens of the Night (2008) as Leslie • Choke (2008) as Cherry Daquiri/Beth • Blackbird (2007) as Froggy • Up All Night (2007) as Marni • Building Girl (2006) as Katie

    • In Fall 2007, Jacobs starred as Amanda Blue in the Off-Broadway production of A Feminine Ending at Playwrights Horizon. She also appeared in Stephen Adly-Guirgis' The Little Flower of East Orange at The Public Theater during the Spring of 2008.

    • In May 2004, Jacobs, then a 4th-year student at Juilliard School in New York, wrote a feature article for the school's online journal entitled "For Drama Students, It's California Here We Come".

  • Quotes

    • Gillian: (on her part in the movie Walk of Shame) I kind of push her to have a crazy, wild night. And then it all sort of goes wrong for her, because she loses the keys to her car and her phone, so then I'm then trying to find her to make things right.

    • Gillian: (on her movie Hot Tub Time Machine) Oh, definitely. That cast is amazing and they have such great chemistry that I was just really lucky to join them and they just made me laugh all of the time. Yeah, it was super-fun.

    • Gillian: (on being a pessimist) I'm a worry-wart, I'd say. I don't think I obsessively fixate on things that are going wrong, but I think sometimes it's hard to do. I don't know. I won't be a sunny optimist all of the time, but I think I try to balance it out with the reality that, yes, things are going well in my life and certainly being back in New York, my life is a lot different than it was before Community. And I've accomplished a lot and I'm really grateful, so, I have a lot to be happy about.

    • Gillian: (on still not felling 100% secure in getting acting jobs) I mean, you know, I'm very grateful for everything that's going on, but I always have the fire in the belly to do more. But, I'm sure my therapist would say that I should say that things are good and I should enjoy it more.

    • Gillian: (on how she compares to her role in the TV series Community, Britta) Well, I definitely stumble over my words or get things wrong and now that everyone on the internet is very quick to tell me I've 'Britta'ed' something myself. So I think I'm reminded every time of the fact when I mess anything up whether I make a spelling error, a grammatical error or factual error.

    • Gillian: (on the beginning of her acting) I did a play when I was 8 years old. I think that was the first acting job I ever had. In Pittsburgh, they used to list all the auditions in the paper on Fridays and my mom and I would just go through the paper and see if there was anything that needed a kid. That was basically how I started acting and I sort of never stopped from there.

    • Gillian: (on her Life Partners' co-star, Adam Brody) Well, Adam and I have known each other for a couple of years now. This is our third movie together, but the first one that we actually shared scenes; [there was] no crossing of paths. With Adam, I knew him, so it wasn't like Leighton, where I was meeting her for the first time. And I think I know Adam well enough that I feel at ease around him. But it's always then weird to kiss someone that you've known.

    • Gillian: (on her Life Partners' co-star, Leighton Meester) I think we're just two goofballs — we're straight-up goofballs. And thank God, she's as weird and silly as I am. Just felt like we tapped into that right away and making voices and doing goofy moves. Even though I had only known her for days, I felt very comfortable around her and I think you see it on the screen.

    • Gillian: (on her Life Partners' co-star, Leighton Meester) I think we're just two goofballs — we're straight-up goofballs. And thank God, she's as weird and silly as I am. Just felt like we tapped into that right away and making voices and doing goofy moves. Even though I had only known her for days, I felt very comfortable around her and I think you see it on the screen.

    • Gillian: (on her role in Life Partners) It is such a great depiction of female friendship that I thought was really accurate and nuanced and specific and real. And I felt like it was so different: it felt closer to me than a lot of things that I do and so different from Community and things that people are used to seeing me in. It felt really nice.

    • Gillian: I'm a trained actress. I can do anything. That's what they tell you in drama school.

    • Gillian: (on kissing her Life Partners's co-star Adam Brody) I wouldn't say icky because that would imply it's gross to kiss Adam Brody, which it's not. But I'm way more awkward than Leighton and Adam are. They're way more chill, cool, laid-back people who don't really get ruffled by things. I'm much more neurotic, so I would get very awkward and blush. I don't think I really had to kiss him in front of her. But they were far more chill about it. I'm like, "Ooooooh!" So it was a non-issue that I probably worked up in my head.

    • Gillian: (on the movie Life Partners, where she had a major role) Joni and Susanna have been writing partners for years. Obviously there are some autobiographical elements to this, and so it's really exciting to see women putting their own stories up on screen. It's a really funny, specific, relatable story about friendship that certainly resonated with me. But I think women and men will enjoy the film.

    • Gillian: (on the type of roles she was getting in the start of her career) I don't know what it was exactly about me that led people to only cast me as a runaway stripper/prostitute.

    • Gillian: (on learning about comedy from doing the TV series Community) I definitely feel like I've learned a lot about comedy working on this show. I'd never really done comedy before Community, so getting to work day in and day out with all these great people, directors, writers, and actors, I feel like I've learned a lot. I don't know if I feel more confident, but it feels more familiar, and thats really nice.

    • Gillian: (on working in Community) I really feel so lucky, and I think that people do see that on screen, that we really do get along as friends when the camera isn't rolling. Also, I feel like we've developed such good energy and chemistry together as a cast when were in front of the camera, that it makes the work day so much easier. It's just a bunch of really nice, smart, funny people who sit around all day trying to make each other laugh. It's a great job.

    • Gillian: (on foods she learned to like) Foods I forced myself to try in adulthood that I now love include blue cheese, beets and pickles. And spinach. And kale. And rye bread.

    • Gillian: (on the TV series Community) I have to think of what episodes we've shot. I think we always get a lot of fun out of big group brawls and chaos. Also, I think we continue to have those episodes where we try to help someone, and it goes awry. I think that's a really nice staple of our show, good intentions gone bad. Boy, you know, it's amazing how your brain can turn into a sieve and you can literally forget episodes that you have shot.

    • Gillian: (on the frustration of starting an acting career and how it relates to her character in Community) I had some years of definite frustration. Auditioning and not working as much as I would have liked to, or working and being paid a pittance, and sort of scrounging by in New York and sleeping on a chair that folded out into a bed. I've always had sort of a guiding passion, which has been acting, since I was a kid, which Britta doesn't have, but I definitely had that struggle: 'Am I gonna pay my rent? Am I going to be able to have this as a career?' I relate to that. And I relate to having this idea of yourself, the person that you want to be, and falling short of it. So all of that, I can relate to.

    • Gillian: (on consequences of her actions) I think the nice thing about our show is that it's not like a cartoon, where you hit somebody with a hammer and they bounce back. There's always repercussions, and were always referencing things, and there's always fallout. So I don't know exactly how it's going to play out, but that happened between them, so that will always be there.

    • Gillian: (on her move from New Yor to L.A.) I moved with a job, and I feel like that makes a lot of difference, because it gave my life instant structure. Then I'm able to enjoy my free time, and I've discovered a lot of things about L.A. that I really like. So yes. I'm not one of those New Yorkers that's constantly bitching about L.A.

    • Gillian: (on her choice of shorts for the audition for the stripper role in Choke ) Yes! And I thought I should wear these. And I had to walk down Canal Street in New York to the audition and that's where the truckers are coming off the bridge. So I got a lot of honks. So I thought I'm doing something right.

    • Gillian: (On feeling out of her element compared to the comedic background of her cast mates on the TV series "Community") I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot from this man, Jim Rash [who plays Dean Pelton]. He's a Groundling and he actually asked me to go and do improv one night at the Groundlings. I was foolishly like, "Yeah, sure!" And then I got there and was instantly terrified, like, "What have I done?" But I feel like I've absorbed some stuff … The only reason I was able to pull it off is getting to work with people like Jim and Donald Glover and Chevy Chase.

    • Gillian: (On if she prefers the episodes on the TV series "Community" to be big themed episodes, more grounded, or mixed) I like that we don't have to pick. 'Cause I don't think I would want to be on a show that was all one or the other, you know? But it's really nice to go from doing something hyperrealistic, like the hospital episode, which was faux-documentary style-to go from that to something that's really heightened reality, I think that's really fun. And you feel sort of challenged as an actor. You've got to keep all your chops up rather than just doing the same thing week after week.

    • Gillian: (on being compared to other actresses) I've gotten 'a blond Liv Tyler' a lot but I'd never gotten an 'Elisabeth Shue,' But I was happy to get the compliment. I'm not gonna turn it down.

    • Gillian: I realized I didn't want to do anything else. I was a boy in Oliver; I was in Annie and everything else.

    • Gillian: I had play rehearsal at Juilliard while the MTV awards were filming at Lincoln Center. You're trying to get to class and it's like, 'Out of my way, Whitney Houston!

    • Gillian: Once, these girls on Bedford Avenue audibly mocked my outfit. One says, 'Those shoes are so stupid!' And the other says, 'The dress is OK but is that a Boston bag?' I had this tote that said 'Boston' on it, which solidified that they were indeed talking about me. My heart pounds when I think about the red carpet. But I still wear those dumb shoes. I carry my Boston bag with pride.

    • Gillian: (on working as a teaching assistant at Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, where she previously studied drama) I was extremely lucky to get a chance to return to Governor's School. Being surrounded by this enthusiasm and dedication provided me with new inspiration for my own work. At times, it is possible to lose the joy and drive in your work, but the students of Governor's School reminded me why I have chosen theater as my life's work and why I am so privileged to do so.

    • Gillian: I'll always go back to the theater. It's fulfilling and there's an immediacy to it.

    • Gillian: (describing her audition for the stripper role in "Choke") I thought, 'what shall I wear to this audition?' And I just bought these ridiculous shorts. No, they weren't just shorts. They were shorts that had like suspenders attached to them.

    • Gillian: (on exploring her other talents) I want to be Jackie Onassis and have a second act as a fiction editor. I don't think I wanna write.

    • Gillian: (on playing an exotic dancer in "Choke") It's so different from who I am, but it has been an opportunity to be a character actress, which I think is sometimes rare for young actresses starting out.

    • Gillian: (on "Gardens of the Night" writer/director Damian Harris helping her prepare for her role in the movie) Damian lent me hours and hours of taped interviews he had conducted with street kids, counselors, pimps and parents of missing children. I remember having to stop the tape and go for a walk after hearing a particularly chilling tale of parents forcing their toddlers to participate in pornography.

    • Gillian: If you grow up doing one thing you don't always think you can do another, but I always loved improv comedy.

    • Gillian: (on making the film, "Gardens of the Night") Shooting the film was exhilarating and exhausting. Our locations were scarily authentic. I have spent more time in cheap motels, highway underpasses and a closed boy's reformatory than one ever should. Spending day in and day out in these locations brought me face to face with the world we were attempting to portray.

    • Gillian: (on playing the role of lost girls) I'm not conservative, but I am kind of clean living in my own life. I've had to learn how to fake taking drugs - I've snorted fake coke, smoked fake heroin. It's been an education.