St. Louis-born actress and “Episodes” star Mircea Monroe rings in 2015 with plans for her biggest year yet.
Mircea Monroe has been lighting up the screens in Hollywood for more than a decade—and as her latest roles attest, she’s definitely hitting her stride. The St. Louis-born actress got her first big break in 2004’s thriller “Cellular,” starring Kim Basinger and Jessica Biel. Following a string of guest spots in dozens of TV shows and bit parts in movies, her next big break (two of them, actually) came in 2011, when she was cast as Tansy Truitt on the CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and challenged to play the hilarious Morning Randolph opposite Matt LeBlanc in Showtime’s “Episodes,” whose fourth season premieres Jan. 11. Her character is a 50-yearold actress who looks 30 thanks to heaps of plastic surgery—and Monroe, though only 32, has the acting acumen and comedic acuity to pull it off.
This year holds a few more highlights for the comedic bombshell. She’s started filming an edgy dark comedy for TV Land to premiere later this year called “Impastor,” starring Michael Rosenbaum, in which she plays a “church lady with a dark past.” You can also catch her in “Dr. Cabbie,” a comedy about an Indian doctor who illegally transforms his taxi into a doctor’s office when he’s denied the right to practice medicine after emigrating to Canada.
We caught up with the say-anything actress to talk Hollywood, her greatest vice and what she really thinks about plastic surgery.
ALIVE: You were born in St. Louis, but grew up in the South Pacific, where your father was stationed for the United Nations. What was that experience like?
Mircea Monroe: It was incredible. I didn’t realize how incredible it was until now, reflecting back as an adult, because it was familiar and that was the norm. We were in the Solomon Islands and in Fiji. It was vibrant with beauty and incredible culture. And the most fantastic people in the world. I moved back [to the US when I was] around 10 years old. What is that, eight years now? [laughs]
ALIVE: Have you been back to St. Louis to visit?
MM: I’ve been back once. I loved it so much! It was really heartwarming to feel like I had some ties there and see it when I was “all growed up.” We went to the Arch, of course, had dinner and walked around. I wanted to see it and get a feel for the city.
ALIVE: Is acting something you always wanted to do?
MM: I didn’t understand—growing up with no TV or radio—that it was a career choice, but it was always something I loved, playing make-believe and being different characters. I had no idea that feeling deeply for other people and what they were going through would then lead me to be able to emulate them and get paid for it.
ALIVE: Tell us about your new movie “Dr. Cabbie.”
MM: It’s so much fun. It’s a comedy about the health care system, which sounds super serious. I play Rani, a very sweet, ditzy woman who’s super interested in the Indian culture and is trying to immerse herself in it but kind of gets it all wrong. She’s super endearing and maybe not the smartest. I don’t want to call her dumb because I love her!
ALIVE: You are also very funny in “Episodes.” What’s it like working on the show?
MM: It’s so gratifying in every area. The people, including the other actors [and] the writers, are the smartest, kindest, most interesting men to work with and for. And the crew is lovely. We shoot in London, which is just stupidly awesome.
ALIVE: Do you guys hang out much when you’re not shooting? Where do you go?
MM: We hang out a ton because we’re all away from home and we just have each other. For me, my favorite place is the parks. They are just gorgeous. A pub once in a while is great after work. I don’t drink beer because I’m allergic, but it’s so fun to go and soak in the energy.
ALIVE: So what do you drink at the pubs?
MM: If they have it and we don’t work the next day, maybe a little tequila.
ALIVE: How would you describe your own sense of humor?
MM: A little dirty. I also really appreciate satire. That’s such a great question. I’ve never been asked that before. I just love to laugh so much. I appreciate humor in all its forms. Oh, that’s such a diplomatic answer.
ALIVE: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen recently?
MM: I watch comedy specials all the time. I just watched a Maria Bamford special. I can’t say enough about it. She’s so funny. I respect and admire and just want to be her. [Comedy specials are] my go-to if I’m going to be on a plane or have any down time. I respect the art form so much. And it’s so difficult. But if it’s done well, it makes my day. I’ll be thinking of the jokes throughout the day, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving.
ALIVE: Your character on “Episodes” has had a lot of plastic surgery. What’s your take on the subject yourself?
MM: I have never had anything done. I’m not against it. I think it’s unfair for me to comment on it when I’m young and don’t need it. Ask me again in 20 years and I’ll probably be all about it.
ALIVE: Do you approach that role any differently since the character is actually in her 50s?
MM: Absolutely. I struggled with it when we started because she was so confident and lived twice the life that I have. So I approached it as someone who’s been through things and is more comfortable in certain situations and maybe partly as this person that I wanted to be when I was older. And then [I] added into that her issues and the reasons why she has to stay young and the plastic surgery and insecurities. It’s a really interesting mixture.
ALIVE: When you do turn 50-something, what do you hope you can say you’ve accomplished?
MM: You’re really making me think—it’s awesome! I hope I have accomplished a really full life. With wonderful relationships still in place and so much love. It’s all personal, not work related. I mean, I hope that work is great, but the personal is much more important.
ALIVE: If you weren’t acting, what would you want to do?
MM: Social work. I work a lot with Covenant House, which works with homeless youth. It’s so important to me. I’ve seen the youth transform with love and resources, so anything I can do to contribute to that.
ALIVE: Do you have any vices?
MM: I’m perfect!
ALIVE: Did you really say that with a straight face?
MM: [Laughs] I love sleeping. Is that a vice? I will take sleep over anything.
Cover and Inside Photo by Jason O’Dell/Contour by Getty Images.