Gretchen Mol was born on November 8, 1972, in Deep River, Connecticut. She was born to parents who were both teachers. In high school, Mol was avidly interested in drama, and performed in school plays and musicals. She went on to attend the William Esper Studio and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She worked in a summer stock theater in Vermont for a time, acting in various stage plays. However, after this, her acting career stalled for a while. Mol took on odd jobs, working as a theater usher and a hat check girl. Her lucky break came when a photographer, David Powell, recognized her unique beauty. By 1994, Mol was being hailed as a potential new "It Girl." In 1996, director Spike Lee featured Mol in his movie Girl 6, which brought her to a new level of stardom. In 1998, at the age of 26, Mol starred in two high-profile films, Celebrity and Rounders. After this, however, her newfound fame started to falter. In 2006, Mol made a triumphant comeback in The Notorious Bettie Page. Mol was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress for this role. She has also appeared on television, in shows including Boardwalk Empire. Mol has two children, Ptolemy and Winter.