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Jacobs started acting at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and competed in the annual Shakespeare Monologue Contest. After she graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 2000, she moved to New York City and attended The Julliard School, graduating in 2004.
She said, “I had play rehearsal at Julliard 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!” She added, “I got no academic education, but I got very intense acting training.” She later said of her experience, “[Julliard] sort of tore me down and then, to some degree, forgot to put me back together” (ohnotheydidn’t.livejournal.com).
Gillian Jacobs’ big break came on the series “The Book of Daniel,” playing the role of Adele Congreve. She also landed roles on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Fringe,” “Gardens of the Night,” “Blackbird,” “Choke” and “The Box.” Though she has a steady gig on “Community,” her first love is theatre. She has also appeared on “Funny or Die,” and will be in “Walk of Shame.”
She said of her roles, which include strippers and drug addicts, “I thought I was going to be the ingénue, playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet or some innocent young thing, and instead I’m playing these lost girls. I’ve snorted fake coke, smoked fake heroin. It’s been an education.” Before “Community,” she was never hired for comedic roles.
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Gillian Jacobs said, “I think Britta’s silliness comes from me. I’m a pretty goofy person. I’m an awkward dancer, for instance, and a terrible singer.” She added, “I hope my character feels relatable, like she seems smart and funny but also flawed, like a unique, individual person. I feel like that’s sometimes a rarity on TV, to see a woman who is three-dimensional, and so I really enjoy that about the character.”
Gillian Jacobs listens to a lot of NPR. “I think I shocked Yvette Nicole Brown because I don’t really listen to a lot of music.” She gave advice to lonely teen girls, saying she, too, was lonely in high school. “High school will be over before you know it and then you’ll meet cooler, better friends.”
Gillian Jacobs lives in Los Angeles.
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