Jessalyn Gilsig was born in 1971 in Montreal. She began acting at the age of twelve. In 1995 she moved to New York, where she appeared in several off-Broadway plays. Despite having appeared in several Canadian productions in the late 80's/ early 90's, her television career began in…more
Jessalyn won a 2010 Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" along with her co-stars in Glee.
Jessalyn is fluent in the Canadian French, called Quebecois.
Jessalyn has a daughter named Penelope, born September 26, 2006.
She is 5' 3" (1.60 m).
Jessalyn was warned by her theater friends not to go to Hollywood.
Jessalyn's mother Clare works as a writer and translator and her father Toby is works as an engineer.
Jessalyn received her theatrical training at the American Repertory Theatre's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. While there she appeared in The Cherry Orchard, Henry V, The Oresteia, Tartuffe and The Tempest.
When she was 12 she really wanted to be an actor but her parents kept saying 'Wait till you are 18, then you can do whatever you want.'
In Nip/Tuck Jessalyn plays a sexaholic, she actually had a friend who was a sexaholic.
At first Jessalyn's character in Nip/Tuck was supposed to be a two-episode arc character, but the creator, Ryan Murphy, liked the character so much that he asked Jessalyn to continue working on the show, which she did.
If she had the opportunity to portray a real life person in a movie, Jessalyn would choose Hillary Clinton.
Jessalyn is also a painter.
Jessalyn is a huge hockey fan.
Jessalyn provided all the art pieces of Patricia Clarkson's character in 'The Station Agent', written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, her Boston Public co-star.
In 1999 Jessalyn was to replace Paula Marshall in the series Snoops. However the show was canceled before she could join the show. The producer, David E. Kelley gave her a role on his next show, Boston Public instead.
Jessalyn attended McGill University in Montreal Quebec from 1989 to 1993 and graduated with a degree in English.
Jessalyn: (On the fans' reaction to her character on Glee) Oh my God, it's been so mixed that I don't even look anymore. People get so angry. It's a comedy, it's a TV show. People get really upset about it. It's fun for me the morning after because a lot of people will quote her to me. Like today, I got this email on my Facebook that was like my favorite this line this week - it was my line about how I had a big crush on the Karate Kid (laughs). So, she definitely has some great gems of lines and people like to quote those to me. And I think there are just a lot of people who think she's a nut job, basically. Which I guess she is. But it's fun to play those parts. You kind of want to be the person who stirs up controversy. It keeps the show interesting I think.
Jessalyn: (On her worst job) I was a chamber maid in a hotel. And I just remember–I couldn't believe how people leave their hotel rooms. I had no idea. It was almost as if they're entire visit–the goal of the visit was to just leave something disgusting for me. And the first night I stay anywhere, I always tip the housekeeping, because I just want to send a message–like respect. Because that was seriously so brutal. I don't know if I'll ever get those images out of my head.
Jessalyn: (On her high school experience compared to what is portrayed in Glee) I was an art geek. I was most comfortable in art class and in theater class, so that's when I felt most like myself. And then when those classes would end, and you go back out into the hall, I was uncomfortable. I found high school kind of hard. And I knew that when I was in the arts, that was when I felt like I could be myself and I was accepted and understood and I could feel a real connection with other people. So in that way, I really relate to the show. I think it really speaks to the high school spirits. Whether or not you're in the arts or the sciences or sports or whatever it is, you hope to find that club that speaks to you.
Jessalyn: It takes someone pretty persistent to stick it out with me.
Jessalyn: When I moved to LA to act, I was offered a film on the condition that I get a nose job. Can you imagine? And they were going to pay for it. I opted out obviously, but it was a big wake-up call, because it was the first time that anybody was really saying, 'You have a big nose.'
Jessalyn: I absolutely had tons of imaginary friends as a kid. Although now that I have a daughter and I can observe her, I'm not sure if my friends were imaginary, or if after a certain age, we just can't see them anymore.
Jessalyn: I wish that I could say that I have so much choice. I think, more often than not, actors are going where the work is. The blessing in that is that you learn not to be particularly judgmental in the sense that there have been some jobs that I've taken that I thought were going to be a paycheck, and they actually turned out to be amazing growing experiences. In many ways, I think as an actor, you have to be open to the unexpected.
Jessalyn: (About the hardest part of being in Glee) The most challenging part of the role so far has been to restrain myself from singing or dancing when I'm hanging around set in hopes that someone will give me a song to sing. I am surrounded every day by Tony-nominated Broadway stars, so it's important that I sit on my hands and speak when spoken to. That way I hope to do the least amount of damage possible.
Jessalyn: (On why she wanted to be on Glee) To sing. Which I have NOT been asked to do. The script was one of the most original pilots I've ever read, and Terri was an opportunity to play a role that is really different for me, but honestly, if Ryan Murphy was producing a reality show about Canadians who were willing to live without their big toes, I would probably have done that too. Nip/Tuck was one of the best creative experiences of my career, so to work with Ryan Murphy again, along with much of the crew from Nip/Tuck is something I have wished for when blowing out my birthday candles, or throwing a penny in a fountain.
Jessalyn Gilsig:(On her character in Glee) I see Terri Shuester as pro-marriage. There is nothing she won't (and doesn't) do to save her marriage. Nothing. Some may be shocked by her choices, but I would ask those people, 'Have you ever walked in the neighborhood of a person you had a crush on even though it's on the other side of town for you, just in hopes of running into them? Have you ever pretended to have seen a movie they loved? Or laughed at a joke they told that you weren't sure was funny?' If so, don't judge Terri. As her sister Kendra explains, deceit may be the basis of a healthy marriage.
Jessalyn Gilsig: I'd go be a cop in the morning (On NYPD Blue) and interrogate and arrest people, and then in the afternoon I'd go to Nip/Tuck and have sex with random partners. It was really the yin and yang of life.
Jessalyn Gilsig: (on what she would change about her high school days) Everything. I would relax a little more. I thought everybody knew what was going on except me, and that I was completely missing the boat. Now, I think I was probably on par with everybody else. So, I'd just cut myself some slack and have more fun.
Jessalyn: I didn't play hockey as a kid. I played this sport called Ringet, (kind of) like girls' hockey. They don't play it anymore. Girls now play hockey. (Ringet's) kind of like a no contact kind of hockey, so I could always skate.
Jessalyn Gilsig: When I came out to LA I didn't know that much about film and TV and part of why I really wanted to explore it, other than the obvious reasons, was that there's a way in film that you learn to be specific and simple. When I went back to do the stage, that was an amazing element to bring back. You really learn in film that less is more. You then learn how to be more economical in what you're doing on stage, so I find that the two have really communicated for me.