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Following Cristin Milioti‘s breakout role as the titular mother in How I Met Your Mother, the actress returns to the small screen this fall on NBC’s new rom-com series A to Z. Starring opposite Ben Feldman, Miloti plays matter-of-fact lawyer Zelda, who starts dating Feldman’s character Andrew (the “A” to Miloti’s “Z”), a hopeless romantic who works at an online dating site.
Through the show’s intro, we’re told that the pair will date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour, but “they could break up, get married — no one knows. That will be covered in the first season, but we don’t even know,” admits Milioti to Pret-a-Reporter while sitting under the open-air Skybar at the Mondrian hotel.
Ahead of A to Z”s Oct. 2 premiere, we met up with the doe-eyed beauty to chat about the new NBC show being compared to HIMYM, being anti-social media (online dating included), her ideal date night with boyfriend Jesse Hooker and the perfect outfit for it, and who she counts as one of her fashion heroes (Hint: she’s an exec producer of A to Z).
A to Z‘s story has been compared quite a bit to How I Met Your Mother — what are your thoughts on that?
You know, I had not seen any similarities until people started to point them out, then I realized that yes, there are similarities. It’s interesting because it didn’t even cross my mind because I was still doing How I Met Your Mother when I got this show, and I started filming two days after I wrapped. I think I had a week off, but it was all fittings, preproduction and rehearsals. There was no downtime. So that’s why it’s so strange that it never crossed my mind at that time. It definitely has the same warmth to How I Met Your Mother. Like sure, I keep saying how it’s like How I Met Your Mother, but it’s almost saying that Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter are the same. Sure, they both revolve around Abraham Lincoln — that’s where they would intersect in the venn diagram, but that’s kind of it, so I totally get it. I do think it looks quite different. We shoot it like an indie film. Each episode looks like a little movie.
What made you interested in being part of this project?
It’s interesting because I never thought about the romantic aspect of it. I just had so much fun on HIMYM, and I knew that I wanted to do another comedy series because it’s just the most fun in the world. I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have a wide variety of work, but a lot of what I had done before HIMYM was dramatic, which is awesome, and very depressing to do. (Laughs.) There are absolutely heartfelt moments in this show where there are tears and tragedy, but it wasn’t every day so that really appealed to me as well. The people behind it really appealed to me, too — such a dream team.
How was your first meeting with Rashida Jones?
Oh, she is the loveliest — have you ever met her? She’s such a kind, generous, supportive human being. She’s obviously so talented. She wears the best outfits I’ve ever seen. Every time I see her, I’m like, “You’re wearing a floor-length cape, and it looks perfect.” And if I wore floor-length cape, I would look like a small wizard. I’m not very tall.
Ha! How would you describe your own style?
I sort of do a couple of things when I’m getting ready. I go the Annie Hall route, where I really love wearing menswear. I love a suit. I just wore a Ralph Lauren suit; it had this delicate gold chain, and I just felt so bad-ass. It was wool but also this kind of alligator pattern, which you couldn’t see unless you were really close, and it had a leather trim — oh my god. I love a suit, but I also love a white button-up shirt and high-waist trouser. I wear denim-on-denim almost every day of my life. I wear J Brand boyfriend jeans that is actually full of holes — some which were there when I bought it, many of which have just appeared; Acne pistol boots; a denim shirt tucked in and a straw hat.
Oh, you’re really into the Canadian Tuxedo.
Every day. Then at night, I wear black-on-black. That’s my transition outfit. I like a boyish style, but if I want to turn it out, like so many girls, I look to Audrey Hepburn, sort of gamine. I’m a terrible shopper because I’m so indecisive, but when I find something, I’ll wear it. I only own about 20 items of clothing — enough to transport between New York and L.A. in one suitcase. It’s a large suitcase, but it’s pretty much all I own.
That’s impressive. Tell us about today’s non-denim outfit.
This is a vintage Chanel dress. I fell in love with this dress — obviously the color is amazing. So I work with this incredible stylist named Anita Patrickson — she’s the loveliest human being on the planet — and she styled me all throughout Wolf of Wall Street, which was so exciting and terrifying because I hadn’t really done big red carpets, and one of the first fittings we ever did, this (points to dress) came out, and I felt like such a connection to it, like, “Yeah! That’s what I want to wear every day.” This is the dress that I feel like I want to be skipping down the streets of Paris with a baguette in my satchel, with flats and a scarf and a ponytail, on the back of a moped. I was just so lost in this dress.
How about the heels?
These are Stuart Weitzman, which I’m obsessed with. They’re the perfect shoe. I always want to wear these shoes. I would say one of my style icons, who I’m always secretly trying to dress like but will never achieve, is Solange because she wears a power suit like no one’s business and she always has a Nudist heel. She can wear anything and obviously so can Beyonce, but I’m always so excited to see what Solange is going to wear. It’s almost like performance art, but she also looks like she rolled out of bed, literally looks like, “I woke up like this.” She just looks so at ease.
Her Instagram is pretty awesome. Do you follow her for wardrobe inspiration?
No I don’t. I’m not on any social media.
Why won’t you join social media?
Terrified. For me, I can absolutely see the benefits of a social media platform; interacting with people is incredible. I love meeting new people. I would love the opportunity be able reach out to artists and tell them, “Just so you know, you’re the bomb.” I don’t have a very thick skin. It would just take one person to send or tweet me something that would make me end up at the bottom of a very long rabbit hole, so I’ve sort of stayed away from it.
Would you consider signing up some day?
I don’t know. I mean, right now, I’m on Instagram, but I’m private. I’m under a ridiculous name.
What is it called?
I’m only friends with people I’ve had dinners with, but my Instagram name is @beyonce_clinton, [named] after my two favorite women.
So if you wanted, you could still follow Solange.
Well, I check on Kim Kardashian. I don’t follow her, but I check on her. You know the account @fuckjerry? Get into it. You know the account the @thefatjewish? I love @thefatjewish, but for me, @fuckjerry works better for me. There’s also @earlboykins. I don’t know who these people are. I just love it. Of course, sometimes I check up on Beyonce’s Instagram to make sure she’s doing OK. The part of Instagram I like is being able to keep in touch with people I can’t see, but the idea [of social media] on a wider platform gives me a panic attack. So yeah, I kind of stay away.
Isn’t that a little ironic since A to Z involves Andrew working for an Internet matchmaking site? I assume you’ve never tried online dating then?
No, I’ve been in a relationship for five years, and we were introduce through a mutual friend. What I will say is that Andrew and Zelda don’t meet through social media; they meet the old-fashioned way. It’s only through social media and Googling that make it more complicated and weird.
Since you have been in a long-term relationship, describe your ideal date and the perfect wardrobe for it.
Well, I’d probably wear denim-on-denim. (Laughs.) No I would be wearing something in this vein (looks at dress) but probably in flats instead of heels. It would either involve the beach — and you know what, I’ve never been to Paris, so I would love to walk hand-in-hand in Paris but also with a glass of champagne on the streets. I would love that.
1. Vintage Chanel dress
2. Dana Rebecca rings
3. Stuart Weitzman Nudist heels
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