Young(er) At Heart

Miriam Shor with her family; photo by Ali Smith
Miriam Shor with her family; photo by Ali Smith

An actress of stage and screen, and a super-cool downtown Manhattan mom of two, Miriam Shor will soon be coming to TV Land in a great new show exploring gender and age in the workplace (oh, and don’t miss her cameo on the recently launched “Mysteries of Laura” either). With her dry wit and expertly-honed acting chops, you won’t want to miss seeing her alongside Sutton Foster and (fellow show biz mom) Hilary Duff in Darren Star’s upcoming comedy set to premier on March 31, 2015.

Tell us about your family—what are your kids and your husband like?

I have two kids: a 5-year-old, Ruby, and a 17-month-old, Iris. It’s a huge learning curve; no parent knows what they’re doing when they start. Everybody will tell you when they hold that baby in their hands for the first time it’s incredible, but you’re still like: “What the hell happens now?”

What’s it like for you as a working actress raising a family in NYC?

It’s tough, but it’s great. I just started filming this show in New York. I just love filming here, it’s a dream come true. All of the series regular jobs I had in the past were in LA and shooting one here is what you want as an actor. But then again when you’re doing something you’re thinking: “We’re taking an awful lot of time doing this, I know that’s my job but I’d like to give my kids a bath before I put them to bed.” I don’t want to miss out on that.

Who have been some of your role models?

As a parent, my role models are my parents. I am amazed they were able to move to another country with small children having never been to the country before. I’m sort of in awe at the fact that they were able to pursue their careers as educators and still really be parents. You really can’t appreciate your parents fully until you become a parent, and obviously that’s a cliché but it’s completely true. I always felt loved and supported. I always felt that I had the capabilities to do anything I wanted, and you don’t feel that unless someone teaches you to feel that.

Your latest project is “Younger” which will premiere on TV Land in March. What drew you to this project?

It’s a show that deals with issues from several different women’s perspectives, and they’re all true individuals. They’re not characterized as someone’s mommy or wife. Oftentimes women are relegated to the role of a sounding board for the male or a foil and their stories are stock stories or reactive stories to the “real” story. I also think talking about age is important because there’s nobody who doesn’t think about it on the planet because we all age. For women it seems age determines whether or not we get hired and how we are perceived on the job. I’m sure age comes into play for men as well, but for some reason it’s a bigger issue for women.

What do you like about the character that you play—Diana—and how do you get into this character since you’re very different from her?

Yes, I am very different from her. I like to play characters that I am very different from. That’s part of the fun to me. I like that she’s unapologetically strong because I find that when I am strong or stand up for myself, I will then kind of undercut it with an apology or make fun of myself in some way. But I don’t need to apologize for everything so I struggle with that. Diana does not apologize for it. She does not apologize for anything so she does take that quality a little too far. In terms of getting into character, for some reason I really enjoy tapping into that because I know I won’t hurt anyone’s feelings since I’m acting so I go balls to the wall.

Obviously “Younger” touches a lot on ageism. Have you encountered ageism in your work and do you think it’s a problem within the entertainment industry?

It is 100 percent a problem. I don’t think it’s a problem specific to the entertainment industry either. We don’t respect older people in this country. It’s pretty despicable actually how we treat older people. It’s almost like we view aging as a disease that we’re trying to find a cure for. It’s insane. The only way to not age is to die. That’s not really a cure. I have encountered it in my career. I mean I’m an actor, I’m also not a man but I can play one. If you believe I’m a particular age aren’t we’re just playing pretend here? It is very much something I think about being a woman in this industry, being a mother, being an older mother, age is just always there.

Do either of your children ever ask to see your work, and if they do, what do you show them?

Iris doesn’t really ask, since she’s just learning how to ask, and that usually involves food and toys. I don’t think I would show Ruby the whole of anything I’ve done because they’re not appropriate for a 5-year-old. She’ll someday see them if she likes, that being said, I’ve played her the recording of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” [editor’s note: Shor played the role of ex-drag queen Yitzhak in off-Broadway and film roles in the iconic musical]. I had to turn the volume down a couple times at certain parts, but not because I don’t want her to be exposed to it, but because I don’t want her to be confused and afraid by something she can’t quite grasp yet.

To get more info about “Younger,” tvland.com/shows/younger!

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