At first glance, Diana Trout, the unapologetic head of marketing at a publishing house on TV Land’s Younger, is one difficult boss. As a twenty-something coming into the workplace fresh out of college eager to make your mark in the world, she’s probably not the most obvious candidate to mentor you as she shouts at you from her office to get her coffee that doesn’t taste like an ashtray.
But, as you slowly (and cautiously) begin to peel away her accessory-filled layers, you’d come to find a softer side to the often temperamental executive that no one would anticipate. Sure, she’s tough. And oftentimes straight up aggressive, but being ruthless doesn’t void your humanity, and we’re seeing a plethora of progress on that front as the seasons unfold.
Miriam Shor, who embodies the put-together powerhouse who took a chance on Liza (Sutton Foster) as her assistant, is absolutely nothing like her character in real life. Which, I suppose is both a good and bad thing. hehe. Shor not only brings hilarity to the already solid hit series, but will also make her television directorial debut with an episode of Younger set to air July 10. Talk about a triple threat. Now in its fifth season, we’re able to see necklace queen Diana overcome many challenges, insecurities, and hope she’ll finally find love while remaining on top in the publishing world.
Shor, best known for her memorable performance in the rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” as well as TV shows such as The Americans, and The Good Wife, took the time to chat with me about what’s on the horizon for her character, especially when it comes to love (and no, Diana and Charles aren’t endgame), how she’d like to see Diana react to the news that Liza isn’t 26, and I even dug into her soul to talk about my OTL (one true love)… donuts.
Let’s do this!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Welcome! I’ll be honest, I had Younger on my list for a while now and just finally got a second to binge watch all four seasons. I successfully did it in two days, I might add, so it was time off well spent.
MIRIAM SHOR: Oh my god! Wow.
MM: For those who are total late comers like me, can you give a synopsis of the show and the character that you play?
MS: The show is about a woman named Liza, played by Sutton Foster, who is 40 and her daughter is going off to college and she is getting a divorce and she decides “I want to go and work again. I started out in the publishing business when I was in my early twenties and it’s what I had a passion for and I’m gonna go back and do it.” And what she encounters is that no one wants to hire a woman in her forties who is just starting out. So her best friend, Maggie, played by Debi Mazar says “why don’t you just say you’re in your twenties?” And she does. And low and behold it weirdly works. That sets up the premise of the show. She comes to this publishing house, Empirical Press and I am looking for an assistant and I am not the boss you want when you’re entering back into the workforce. Scary Boss lady, Diana Trout, head of marketing. And I’m no joke. I hire her and it’s the start of a beautiful friendship. Hilarity ensues. She also meets a young man who also believes she’s young and she has to deal with this duality in her life and what that does to her and how it changes her.
MM: I’ve been wanting to watch it for so long and I was so happy that I watched it just in time for the new season to come out so I didn’t have to wait, but now waiting each week is so hard. I want it all!
MS: Now you’re like the rest of us. One of the greatest things about binge watching is that you feel like you’re winning every time you have another episode and you’re like “aha! I don’t have to wait!”
MM: It’s the worst! How similar to Diana trout are you? Is there something you admire or think she could work on?
MS: There are many things she could work on. I kind of walk through the world operating on this idea that kindness is the right way to deal with everyone as much as you can. Because it’s a rough world out there. There’s a lot of cynicism. What I love about her is she’s unapologetic about the power that she has. She is 100% confident in her abilities and she doesn’t suffer fools and these are qualities I wish that I had. I tend to be the kind of person who apologizes when someone else steps on my foot or when I have any power in a situation I’m uncomfortable with it. I think women are conditioned to feel that way. And I love that she owns her power and doesn’t apologize for it. I would love to get some of that for myself.
MM: Never apologize. Never explain. That’s the motto you gotta live by.
MS: Well, if you do something heinous I think you should say sorry, but you shouldn’t apologize for taking up space [laughs].
MM: Very true. You guys have a lot of Millennial slang on the show. What’s one word or phrase that you had no clue what the meaning was?
MS: Listen my friend. I’m going to tell you a true story that happened on set maybe three, four weeks ago. We’re in the conference room and we’re doing a scene and we’re in between camera set ups and we’re looking at our phones, hanging out, talking. And Hillary’s phone keeps dinging, making a sound and she’s like “oh my god, I keep getting so many texts from my gram” because she just posted something on her Instagram. And I was like “oh my god, your grandma texts you? That’s the sweetest.” That is a true story that happened on set. I said “are we filming this?” That was me. Just looking like the mom that I am.
MM: That’s priceless. Obviously things are starting to heat up on the show. Charles now knows that Liza isn’t 26 and it’s hitting home pretty hard. Do you think that if and when Diana is brought into the fold, she’s going to react similarly or differently?
MS: Here’s how I dream Diana will react: Liza will tell her and Diana will say “I know, I’ve known from the start. What do you think, I’m an idiot? Of course I know that. Whatever you have to do to get the job done, I am behind you. Now go get my f***ing coffee.”
MM: I feel like she knew at the beginning. When they were first introduced to each other, I was hoping they’d play it out that way.
MS: I would love that. I think they left the door open for any kind of reaction. The thing about Diana is you don’t know how she would react. And you’re a little afraid.
MM: The premise of the show focuses on ageism in the workplace. Throughout the series, your character goes through her own struggle when it comes to almost aging out of the industry. How do you think she stays on top when all of these young people are up and coming at Empirical Press?
MS: Well, as an actress in Hollywood, I have no understanding of what ageism is like [laughs]. No, I think she’s very much aware of it and what’s infuriating to her and to me and any woman of a certain age in an industry when they know they have talent, is how discarded their experience is. They’ll just throw it aside for youth, and the knowledge and experience a person brings to their job can be so easily forgotten. It’s infuriating to anyone who is experiencing ageism, certainly for a character like Diana who often feels like she’s the smartest person in a room and often is. It should be mind boggling. It should not be happening. She should be infuriated, rightly so. I like that she’s grappling with that because then we can talk about it on our show and it’s great.
MM: I know and it’s great that you guys touch upon real world issues and do it in a way where it’s not super heavy but important at the same time.
MS: What I like to say about the show is that it is a delightful confection that is actually about something.
MM: I would agree. Diana went through a difficult but much needed break up recently. Can you tell us if there’s love on the horizon or a little side something for her?
MS: Oh yeah, there’s hope. There’s a blast from the past that comes and rekindles something. It’s good. I like it. Her romantic life keeps on rolling. It’s great.
MM: I can’t wait. She’s one of my favorite characters. Alright, time for the great debate when it comes to Liza, are you Team Charles or Team Josh?
MS: I’ve always said this. Liza is a modern woman. I see no need to choose. I say Team Both. It’s the year 2018.
MM: Team Both. We need some of that.
MS: Let’s make it a thrupple.
MM: You film younger in New York CIty which must be nice for a change. What’s your favorite hidden gem thing to do in the city?
MS: Eat. It’s not hidden. I want to eat all the time. There is no shortage of unbelievable food in this city and not for nothing, every kind of person from every kind of country and every kind of place on the planet lives here and creates the best food of anywhere because of it. Even today I was talking about how one of the reasons I moved here was so I could hear different languages, taste different food, experience different cultures. It feels like the epicenter here. I’m raising my kids here for the same reason. It’s something I love. It’s something I’m proud of. I have a mad, passionate love affair with New York City that will never end.
MM: Aw, that’s amazing. Because I was a fan of GCB I had to throw in this question. If Diana and Cricket went up against each other in a battle of oneliners, who would win?
MS: Oof. Oh, God I don’t know. That is a really tough one. I think that Diana is a little more culturally aware than Cricket and because she has more things at her fingertips to draw on, being a New Yorker, being someone who loves different cultures and someone who loves literature as opposed to Cricket who is a little closed down by her environment and being a businesswoman and not being as culturally aware. I’m going to give the win to Diana. I mean it would be close because when you say something with a southern accent it gives it an extra couple notches. It raises the bar a little. But I’m going to give it to Diana just because of cultural awareness.
MM: Diana for the win! Now, what’s something that fans might not know about you that you’d like to share with us today?
MS: I am an absolutely slob when it comes to dressing and never wear jewelry. That’s the actual me.
MM: So you’re nothing like Diana wearing her elaborate —
MS: No! No. I mean I love doing it because it’s so far from my own experience. It’s so fun to get to literally put on a different person’s skin and experience life that way. It’s why I do it. It’s why I act.
MM: You get to be somebody else, that’s the whole point. Fans sent in questions for this interview and many of them are wondering if you’ll ever give twitter a try?
MS: You know, I have two young girls and whatever social media they engage in when they get to do it — I’m gonna say I’ll let them do it around the age of 30 — I will of course be stalking them. So, I don’t know if it’ll be Twitter or whatever the next new thing is. I’m going to get there eventually if only to stalk my children [laughs]. I can’t guarantee it’ll be Twitter but it’ll be something.
MM: Well we’re looking forward to whatever that is… I always see great comments from the fans.
MS: It’s an interesting dance you do with your privacy when you become an actor and how much you want to reach out to fans because you appreciate them and how much they give you by loving your show. But I also like to create a bit of mystery about who I am so they can more readily buy into who Diana is and they aren’t clouded by this idea of who Miriam Shor is. They can really just live in Diana’s world.
MM: That’s true. That seems to be a more frequented route, that actors want to separate themselves from the narrative.
MS: When someone is super famous, I find it a bit of a burden when I’m trying to watch them act. I know everything about their personal lives so I can’t believe who they’re playing. I like the mystery. I’m a fan of certain actors too and I like not knowing much about them and getting to believe who their character is that they’re showing me.
MM: So you’re not stalking them on the gram?
MS: I don’t stalk their grandmothers. Why would I do that?
MM: [Laughs] As we conclude, I like to add my signature question in. If you were to create a donut based on Diana trout’s personality, what kind of donut would it be?
MS: It’s like you read my mind. You went in to my soul. First of all, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a place called Donut Plant. They’ve already created it and it’s the creme brulee donut. You know what I might add to that? I’d just wrap that little sucker in chocolate.
MM: Yes, I have been to the Donut Plant and a Diana inspired donut sounds amazing. I haven’t tried it there so I’ll have to do it next time I come in to the city.
MS: Oh my god you haven’t tried it? Just leave wherever you are right now. Drop the phone and run.
MM: On it, boss!
Watch Younger on TV Land, Tuesdays at 10/9c