Teyonah Parris is best known for her role as Don Draper’s secretary Dawn Chambers on AMC’s “Mad Men,” but the actress has definitely moved on now that the offices of Sterling Cooper and Partners have shut down for good. On Saturday, Vulture posted an interview with Parris, who’s currently co-starring on the new Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse.”
Parris plays Missy Vaughn, the wife of a basketball star’s manager on the new comedy, which is produced by LeBron James and centers on the life of a fictitious NBA superstar (Jesse T. Usher). But if you didn’t know it was Don Draper’s Dawn on the Starz series, you might not believe it. “I get that a lot,” Parris told Vulture. “And even if you’ve seen both of those things, if you saw me in the world on a normal day, you probably wouldn’t recognize me. My friends call me a Transformer because I can look so different.”
While she gives credit to “Mad Men’s” Emmy winning costume designer Janie Bryant for making her look so retro for her previous role on the AMC series, Parris revealed that she also carried herself in a different way for her part as Don Draper’s secretary. “For Dawn, I made sure that … her limbs never got too far from her core, in the sense that she didn’t take up too much space and she didn’t draw too much attention to herself,” the actress revealed. “So she was always pretty self-contained, and her hands were always in front of her or right by her side or something like that.”
Parris’ character introduced the first African American employee to the 1960s-themed series back in Season 5. At the time, the actress told the Los Angeles Times she realized “a lot of responsibility comes with this role.” Parris also revealed that when she landed the part she didn’t have to do much research on the 1960s, despite the fact that she wasn’t even born during the time period that her character appeared. “I’m pretty familiar with this time period,” she said. “I actually have been wanting to do something in this time period for a long time because it was such an important time.”
As for her new show, Parris can plan to stay in the present for the near future. “Survivor’s Remorse” has already been picked up for a second season, just days after its premiere episode debuted on Starz. Sounds like a slam dunk already.