Zosia Mamet is not a newcomer to showbusiness, even if she only recently started seeing her heyday emerge thanks to her lovable performance on the buzzy HBO show "Girls." Her Pulitzer-winning playwright father, David Mamet, and actress mother, Lindsay Crouse, kept her far from the limelight throughout her childhood, even as she longed to break into the industry.
Her résumé now includes memorable roles in the Oscar-nominated film "The Kids Are All Right" and on acclaimed TV shows like "Mad Men," "United States of Tara" and "Parenthood." She’s becoming more and more of a household name, and recent profiles in The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Examiner are helping to shed light on who this young, stylish ingenue really is.
• Her first name is pronounced "ZAH-SHA."
• Prior to reading for her part as Shoshanna on "Girls," Zosia Mamet had never heard of Lena Dunham. Mamet’s agent sent her a copy of Dunham’s debut film "Tiny Furniture," and Mamet loved it. "I have to work with this person," she said.
• The show’s excutives auditioned more than 100 actresses to play Shoshanna. Jennifer Euston, the casting director, and executive producer Jenni Konner had seen Mamet on "Mad Men" and "United States of Tara" and liked her.
• When Euston, Konner and Dunham asked Mamet to travel to New York for a table read, the actress was battling an intense cold that bordered on pneumonia. She tried to stifle it by swallowing doses of cough syrup and NyQuill, but it wasn’t effective. Mamet says she doesn’t remember anything about the reading except getting to meet Judd Apatow. She left thinking she’d never get the part.
• Mamet has only ever wanted to be an actress. Her mother wouldn’t allow her to enter showbusiness as a child, something Mamet is grateful for today. Mamet says if she weren’t an actress she’d want to be a pirate. She has a small anchor tattooed on her hand.• "Girls" was originally supposed to center on three New York gals instead of four. Shoshanna was intended to fade into the show’s periphery after the pilot episode, but Dunham liked Mamet’s characterization so much that she enhanced Shosh to a major character.
• About a year and a half ago, co-star Jemima Kirke, who plays Jessa, gave Mamet her first tattoo.
• Like Shoshana, Mamet says "like" a lot. She also curses up a storm.
• Mamet is still taken aback by strangers approaching her to discuss her work, calling the experience "jarring." She says many people call her Shoshanna when they approach her.
• Mamet says she "literally almost dropped out every year of high school," feeling like teachers just wanted her to regurgitate information back to them without learning anything.
• Mamet says she’s generally a loner, preferring to drift about on her own — an increasingly difficult task for someone who is now recognized on the street often. She has a few close friends and a relatively new boyfriend who she prefers not to discuss publicly.
• The actress says she does not relate to her character, even as many people come to think her real-life presence must be comparable to Shoshanna. Unlike most of the characters on "Girls," Mamet feels like she had it together by about age 17, when she began to pursue her acting dreams.