Elisabeth Moss: Mad About the Woman

Jane Lynch hit on her, Bette Midler yelled at her, and she’s followed in Madonna’s footsteps.

BY Brandon Voss

March 23 2012 2:30 AM ET

We’ll buy whatever three-time Emmy nominee Elisabeth Moss is selling on AMC’s acclaimed drama Mad Men, which returns March 25 for a fifth season after a 17-month hiatus. Moss plays Peggy Olsen, an ambitious ’60s-era copywriter thriving in the male-dominated world of advertising. Next appearing in the comedy Darling Companion, which is in theaters April 20, the 29-year-old West Wing alum looks at Peggy’s lesbian leanings and shares her personal stance on gay rights as a Scientologist.

The Advocate: First of all, may I call you E.Mo?
Elisabeth Moss: [Laughs] A few friends have called me that, actually, so you’d be in good company.

Mad Men has resonated with LGBT viewers from the start. Are you aware of Peggy’s queer appeal?
The gay community’s support of Mad Men has been really awesome for us, and we’re all very appreciative. Aside from the whole style and look of the show, Jon Hamm’s appeal to men and women is pretty much a no-brainer, and it’s the same thing with Christina Hendricks. I think what appeals to the gay community about Peggy in particular is that she’s a strong, independent, feminist character, who represents the younger generation coming up in the ’60s. She has a lot of integrity, and she stands up for what’s right.

Last season Peggy befriended Joyce, a lesbian beatnik, and it seemed entirely possible that they might hook up.
Absolutely. Of course Peggy would have a really good lesbian friend, and it was fun to toy with that flirtation. I loved all the respect and kudos I got from the gay community about that storyline. People were so excited that Peggy might be a lesbian.

How close was Peggy to testing those waters?
Peggy is open to a lot of new experiences, and I loved that Peggy wasn’t put off by Joyce’s flirtation. The attention and the whole idea of it was titillating for her. I don’t think Peggy’s gay, but who knows? I mean, if anyone’s going to be gay, it’s Peggy.

The tension between Peggy and her adversarial office mate Joan might actually be sexual tension.
That would be really awesome, wouldn’t it? If they just totally attacked each other on top of a desk one day?

Peggy also seems intrigued with the idea of dating women when Jane Lynch hit on her in the opening sketch of last year’s Emmy Awards.
That was so cool for me, because I love Jane Lynch. Honestly, I’m such a huge fan of hers that I couldn’t even speak around her that day when she was on set. When I got that script and found out that I was going to be hit on by Jane Lynch, I could not have felt prouder or more honored.

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