Elisabeth Moss Is the Queen of Peak TV

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Covering the walls at every booth of Elisabeth Moss’s favorite place, Café Fiorello, across the street from Lincoln Center, are brass plaques bearing the names of devoted regulars: Katie Couric! Paul Shaffer! Richard Belzer! And soon — major, breaking news — Elisabeth Moss and her mother, Linda, a professional jazz and blues harmonica player. “Isn’t that crazy?!” says Moss with the sort of breathless excitement one might feel winning a Golden Globe, as she did in 2014 for her performance as a police detective confronting her dark past in Jane Campion’s mystery series Top of the Lake, or getting six Emmy nominations for playing Peggy Olson on AMC’s Mad Men, which, yup, Moss did, too. “I mean,” she goes on, “it means so much to us! We’ve been coming here for over 20 years, so to get a plaque is just, it’s truly a milestone for us.”

In fact, her mother will be here later to meet her for dinner, which they’ve been doing twice a week since Moss got back from six months shooting the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale in Toronto, which premiered its first three episodes on Wednesday. If you somehow missed the billboards or the Super Bowl ad (Hulu’s first for an original series), the streaming service is pretty clearly betting big on it not just as appointment television, but as an awards contender. The ten-episode series is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel (now back on Amazon’s best-seller list in the age of Trump) about a future in which the United States has become a terrifying fundamentalist patriarchy where women have been stripped of all reproductive rights — so, you know, total fiction. At the center is Moss giving the performance of her life, in her first major project since Mad Men ended in 2015. Like many other young, fertile women in this new Puritanism-redux world order, Moss’s Offred, the titular handmaid, has been forced into a gilded prison as a “two-legged womb,” bearing children for the barren wives of the elite.

But first, our waiter wants to know, would we like to order drinks? It’s 4 p.m. “I will have a cocktail when it hits an appropriate hour, the right hour for the public,” Moss replies. Which would be what — 5 p.m.? “Five, exactly. Four fifty-nine, come back.”

Moss’s Fiorello habit dates back to another lifetime, when she was a preteen spending her summers training at the School of American Ballet nearby. Dance gave way to acting, but Moss’s love of the neighborhood never faded. And now, on the edge of 35, she’s come full circle, with an apartment a few blocks away in an old doorman building near her other favorite place in the world, Central Park. She’s angling to live there until she’s like the sweet, wizened best friends I find in the Fiorello ladies’ room arguing over how to turn on the faucet.

“I’m like an 82-year-old woman. I live in my Upper West Side apartment alone with my two cats, and I love it,” Moss says, referring to the two orange tabbys, Ethel and Lucy, she adopted as strays. “I shouldn’t even be telling this story. My publicist would be like, ‘Are you trying to ruin everything?’ But I was in Duane Reade when I was really sick the other day and I was dressed in god knows what, just terrible sweats and hat and jacket. I was sniffling, and I was rolling my Duane Reade cart around and buying Kleenex and cat food — the worst, most embarrassing stuff — and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I literally have become an old lady on the Upper West Side. This is amazing!’”

She looks thoroughly healthy, young, and modern today, though, in Rag & Bone jeans, a black bomber jacket made of embroidered Japanese silk, and one of her many Cubs shirts. (Her mom’s whole side of the family is from Chicago, and Cubs fandom is “in the blood.”) She tells me she picked her outfit just for this paragraph — her favorite part of any profile — when the writer describes what the subject is wearing. And who am I to deny her that? On her right hand is what looks like it could be an engagement ring, except, she says, “It’s on an appropriate finger for me seeing that I’m single.” She gifted it to herself after she won her Golden Globe. “This sounds so potentially lame, but January Jones taught me this: to buy jewelry for yourself,” she says. “That way it’s never like, ‘Oh, a man got me this so I can’t wear it now that we’ve broken up.’”

Best of all is the necklace her assistant gave her for Christmas, bearing the words, Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. It’s a significant Latin phrase from Handmaid’s that means, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Consider Moss’s track record for playing flawed, intelligent, relatable characters with stories that seem to dovetail with real women’s lives — Peggy, with her demands for equal pay; Top of the Lake’s Robin and her dogged quest to solve the mystery of one girl’s rape; Offred, whose red robe and white bonnet became the uniform of activists protesting an anti-abortion measure in the Texas state senate last month — and it looks like a motto she’s been following her entire career, too.

Nothing has managed to grind down Moss’s career so far (except for, perhaps, a recent gaffe during a discussion of Handmaid’s and feminism, but more on that later). Her first real job came two years out of high school (she graduated at 15) for this show called The West Wing, where she spent seven seasons speaking Aaron Sorkin dialogue as President Bartlett’s daughter, Zoey. After that, she did seven seasons on Mad Men as Peggy, a character who just happened to get the most interesting evolutionary arc, from meek secretary to badass copy chief, on a show that just happened to define the Golden Age of TV.

How did Moss wind up on not one, but two, canonical shows? She says she just looked for good writing, “and I think that enabled me to say yes to some television things perhaps before everyone was saying yes to television things.” In other words, she had good timing, and she wasn’t a snob who would only do movies. Moss points out that The West Wing and The Sopranos both debuted in 1999, before the popular notion of “prestige” TV existed. And even when she did Mad Men in 2007, she says, “We were still in a world where, as an actor, you weren’t really supposed to do television. It was kind of like the lesser group of people. But because I never put those parameters on things, and I was just like, ‘This is an amazing script and an amazing project; of course I’m going to do this,’ it became part of one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.”

If Mad Men announced Moss as an undeniable acting talent, then The Handmaid’s Tale and Top of the Lake, which debuts its second season this fall, have vaulted her into a class of her own. Someday we will look out on the TV landscape and countless actresses will have Moss’s career: natives of the medium who were raised on some of the best shows in history and bring with them a purity of experience in serialized storytelling that only adds to the depths of their characters. But today she stands alone, as perhaps our first homegrown superstar of peak TV, uniquely positioned to take on complex roles for women at a time when they’ve never been more abundant. Moss tells me she’s constantly turning down projects she would love to do: “That’s the hard thing right now, there’s so much great stuff to do and I can’t actually physically do it all.” And why wouldn’t she be in demand? She’s been making shrewd choices, and turning in high-quality TV work for so long — 28 years, since she started acting in a Sandra Bullock mini-series at age 6 — it’s like she’s already going for her Ph.D, while movie stars from Meryl Streep to Nicole Kidman, who’ve just started to flood her territory, are still trying to find the bathroom in the freshman dorms.

Moss certainly took her time getting back into TV after shooting wrapped on Mad Men. She went on vacation to Capri. She shot a bunch of movies that are just starting to come out — Chuck, starring Liev Schreiber as a boxer; the adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull; and a satire of the art world called The Square, from Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund (“I’ve had to consciously try not to do all television and try to do films”). She starred in the Broadway revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, as an unmarried career woman navigating her relationship to feminism in the 1980s, and, of course, got nominated for a Tony.

From there, she kind of stumbled back into a second season of Top of the Lake. The limited series had been conceived as a one-off, but Moss and Campion remained close (“We’re like sisters,” Moss says). When they were both in Los Angeles for the Emmys, Moss found a note scribbled on a napkin and slipped under her hotel door: “I have it saved. It says, ‘Room No. 1209. TOTL 2? Love, Jane.’”

They got together the next morning and started batting around ideas. “She was like, ‘I need to know, if I wrote this, would you do it?’” Moss says. “‘Because I can’t do it if you don’t do it, so I’m not going to write it and then have you not do it.’” Moss’s only requirement was that her character, Robin, had to be “darker, more complicated, and more fucked up than she was in the first season” — which was pretty fucked up; she’d stabbed a guy in the gut with a broken beer bottle, after all. It was while she was on set for Top of the Lake: China Girl, having turned down several other TV projects (“I didn’t want to do a half-hour”), that Moss’s agents sent her the script for Handmaid’s. “I had an ‘oh fuck’ moment,” she says. “Like. ‘Fuck, why did you have to send me this? Now I’ve got to figure out how to do it!’ It was just so good.”

Moss had been a fan of Atwood’s book and was pleased to hear the author had read the first few episodes of the series and given her blessing. And she loved that it was going to be the biggest original series Hulu had ever done. “It really worked well for Mad Men at AMC then Top of the Lake with Sundance,” she says. “Both of those places, they loved the shows so much that they wanted to give them all the time and marketing money they had. I feel that with established folks, you can get lost in the shuffle. I’d rather be the big fish in the smaller pond.”

Plus, showrunner Bruce Miller was offering her the lead role outright, which is still kind of a new thing for Moss. “I auditioned for Mad Men, I auditioned for Top of the Lake, I obviously auditioned for West Wing, so I still get excited when I get offered stuff. Like, a part of me thinks, They think I can do it! That’s awesome!” she says. “And that’s a part of me I have to squash, otherwise I would do everything just because people gave it to me.”

Miller was certain he wanted Moss for the part. He liked her “remarkable capability to seem like a normal person onscreen” and how expressive her face is, particularly given that she’d be in a bonnet winged with blinders most of the time. “Once I got her in my head, it was hard to think of anyone else,” he says. But Moss wasn’t sure until Miller gave her an ultimatum: Unless she told them her decision soon (she’d been sitting on it for several months), they’d have to take the offer to someone else. “They even threw out a name specifically,” says Moss. “And they could have been lying to me, but I just was like, ‘Oh, hell no, hell no she ain’t gonna play this role. Mmm-mmm. Get all the credit for it?’ So I knew I had to say yes from my own reaction. I would’ve been so jealous. I couldn’t stand the idea of anyone else doing it.”

For the first time in her career, though, she had a caveat: She’d only sign a standard five-to-seven-year series contract if she could also be a hands-on producer. “I couldn’t sign on to something that was such a time commitment and not have a fucking creative say in it at this point in my career,” she says. “I’ve been doing this for 28 years. I don’t know everything, but I kind of know something about how to do this.”

Both she and Miller were adamant that this wouldn’t be just a vanity title, as often happens with actor-producers. “I’ve basically inserted myself in every possible situation,” Moss says, laughing. That’s included weighing in on everything from casting to the exact shade of red to make the handmaids’ uniform Moss has to wear in every episode. (“I was so crazy that I made [costume designer Ane Crabtree] Fed-Ex me a fabric swatch so I could look at it in person,” Moss says.) She also had strong opinions on the tone — “dark and gritty and not a morality lesson, but a story of very complicated people who are very lost” — as well as making sure the cinematography was “none of that shaky-cam business.”

Casting was Moss’s favorite part. Samira Wiley as Offred’s best friend, Moira, and Joseph Fiennes as the Commander were easy: They just offered them the parts and hoped they’d say yes. (Plus, with Fiennes, “we were like, ‘Oh my god, Shakespeare is going to be on our show!’”) The part of Offred’s rebel friend, Ofglen, was harder, she says, “because we wanted somebody for that role who had weight to her and was able to bring some depth to the role — had to be a very good actress, not too famous, maybe not an unknown.” Miller suggested Alexis Bledel, whom Moss knew from her guest arc on Mad Men, and also because she’s married to Vincent Kartheiser, who played Pete on the series; Moss had been to their wedding. “And I was like, ‘First of all, there’s literally not a nicer human being in the world. She should be put under glass and protected as the nicest human being in the world,’” Moss says. “She’s this crazy anomaly. And she’s not like some fucking angel. She’s hilarious, ballsy, and she’s a phenomenal actress. I liked that people were not going to see that coming.” (Bledel, for her part, says she loved Moss’s subtlety and unpredictability as an actor. She ends our conversation by asking me, “Do you have enough good quotes about Lizzie? I want to make sure. Because she’s awesome!”)

It was Moss who suggested that Reed Morano, a cinematographer who worked on Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade, direct the first three episodes, establishing the show’s stark, almost painterly look. “We kept using the term ‘Kubrickian,’ where perhaps something horrible was happening in the image, but the image was so beautiful that you couldn’t look away,” Moss says. Take a shot of handmaids sitting by the river, talking about the weather, as hanged bodies are hoisted up a great wall beside them. “I didn’t want it to pussy out, frankly,” says Moss. “I wanted it to go all the way.”

When I ask Fiennes, who plays Commander Frederick Waterford — a high-level government official who both rapes Offred (which breaks down to Of-Fred, get it?) monthly for breeding purposes and plays secret Scrabble games with her — what Moss was like to hang out with off set, he just laughs. “Do you know what her time table is like?” Fiennes asks. “She’s in every scene, probably up at four in the morning. She’s first in, last out, learning scripts over the weekend and probably doing huge amounts of voice-over in a studio when all of us are having our Sundays off, and then putting on her producer hat and spending her lunch break in meetings and watching dailies. I feel shattered. I feel ashamed thinking about her extraordinary work ethic.”

What’s even more staggering about Moss’s foray into producing is that she took that on while headlining a series, playing a character who can’t vocally express herself without fear of death. Often, Moss is alone onscreen in silence, emotions flashing across her face as voice-over plays of Offred’s wry and terrified commentary on the world she lives in. (Moss actually memorized all that voice-over and ran through it in her head for each of those scenes so the visuals and words would line up perfectly.) “I can’t stress to you enough how many times I heard people with 25 years of experience say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that,’” Miller says. “The DP [director of photography] and the camera operator really wanted to operate the camera themselves when it was Lizzie, because to watch her up close like that — that is something you don’t get to do in your career.”

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Photo: JUCO/Vulture

Principal photography for the show had ended in February, but when Moss and I met in mid-March, she was still deep into producing. “Literally this is what I do every day,” she says. “I wake up, I make myself coffee, I feed the cats, then I turn on The Handmaid’s Tale, and I watch whatever cut I’m supposed to watch of the show. People get up and read the New York Times, and I wake up and I’m like, ‘Time to watch The Handmaid’s Tale!’”

According to the book and Offred’s narration, the Republic of Gilead (formerly the United States of America) descended into totalitarianism slowly. The environment deteriorated, and the birth rate with it. A militant fundamentalist group called “the Faithful” arose, blaming the country’s woes on wanton women who had sex for pleasure, used birth control, or had abortions. Soon, women were forbidden from owning property, forbidden from reading. As protesters went face-to-face with police in riot gear, the police drew their guns and shot. And then it got worse.

“Now I am awake to the world,” Offred tells us in voice-over. “I was asleep before. When they slaughtered Congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”

Atwood has often said there is nothing in the book that hadn’t already happened in world events by 1985. Still, its renewed relevance at a time when women’s rights really are under attack has made the series feel “unflinching, vital, and scary as hell,” as the Times wrote in a rave review this week. (Critics have been universally effusive. As the AV Club put it, “The most apt review might be to write, ‘This is great, please watch it immediately,’ and call it a day.”)

Part of Moss’s job right now, as she does press for Handmaid’s, is to answer questions about how the series relates to feminism — which about half the internet feels she did very badly last weekend. While speaking on a panel for the series at the Tribeca Film Festival, Moss responded to a question about whether the story’s feminist themes attracted her to the project by stating, “Honestly, for me, it’s not a feminist story. It’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights.” Almost immediately, a bunch of Twitter users asked what the hell she was talking about. (Moss has since corrected herself. “OBVIOUSLY, all caps, it’s a feminist work,” she told HuffPost on Tuesday.)

A month earlier, Moss even told me she’d gotten her language straight from Margaret Atwood, whom she meets up with every once in awhile. “People keep asking me, ‘Why do you pick these strong, feminist roles?’ and it’s a question that I’m grappling with,” Moss says about being prodded to put a tidy frame around her body of work. “So I actually talked to Margaret Atwood about it and tried to get her to answer it for me. I was like, ‘Just tell me what you would say.’ And she said, ‘It’s just human stories.’ The real answer is, I’m not picking feminist stories; I’m just looking for interesting human stories. And because I’m a woman, that’s considered slightly unusual. Whereas with a man it wouldn’t be.”

Atwood has famously skirted defining Handmaid’s as a feminist tome. “Is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ a ‘feminist’ novel?” she wrote in the New York Times recently. “If you mean an ideological tract in which all women are angels and/or so victimized they are incapable of moral choice, no. If you mean a novel in which women are human beings — with all the variety of character and behavior that implies — and are also interesting and important, and what happens to them is crucial to the theme, structure and plot of the book, then yes. In that sense, many books are ‘feminist.’” Asked, via Twitter, for a response to Moss’s “not a feminist story, it’s a human story,” comment, Atwood wrote back, “They needed an ‘only,’ an ‘also,’ and a human rights definition of the F word, imho.”

So feminism is about human rights, and Handmaid’s is about all of the above. Got it? Moss may not have her jargon down, but there’s little denying where she stands on the issue. When I ask her if she’s a feminist and how she got to that point, she says, laughing, “I was born. I was born, and then I was a feminist.” Growing up, Moss says, she believed in feminism, she just didn’t know that that’s what it was called. Her family was progressive — and yes, Scientologists — and she was raised to think she could do anything a man could. But her first public engagement with it was when reporters started asking her to talk about Peggy as a feminist icon. “I’d be like, ‘What? Really?’”

Moss has since become a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood, and though she can’t buy into Peggy as an icon — she spent too many years living as her to have any outside perspective — she’s always flattered to hear it. “When someone puts up the GIF of her walking down the hall with the box and the cigarette and connects it to International Women’s Day or the Hillary Clinton campaign,” she says, “I’m always like, ‘Damn, that’s so cool!’”

It’s not as easy for her to watch old Mad Men episodes: “It brings up a lot of emotion and memories, so it’s not a casual experience for me.” But she does think every once in awhile about Peggy and Stan, who got together (about time!) in the series finale. “I would like to think they get married and have kids, because I think she would have made a great mom,” says Moss. “In my imagination, they have a great modern relationship where they both continue working. Or I could see Stan staying at home with the kids.” The way Moss sees Peggy is as an extreme pragmatist who became an “accidental feminist,” someone from an old-fashioned background who was just very confused, from a logical standpoint, about why she wasn’t getting paid the same as men. “She didn’t set out going like, ‘I’m going to fight for equal pay and I’m going to get promoted and I’m going to have everything that men have,’” says Moss. “She was like, ‘Wait, what? I thought you like what I wrote and now you pay me for what I did, right?’” (If Peggy were real and alive today, Moss is also certain she would’ve been a Hillary Clinton supporter. “It’s a no-brainer.”)

Moss herself really only became an equal-pay advocate after she read Jennifer Lawrence’s Lenny Letter essay on the subject and felt inspired to speak up. “There’s this whole feeling that women should be small and quiet and polite, and I don’t think that’s really gotten us anywhere.” Still, she’s glad she pays people to ask for raises for her. “I can’t imagine how hard that would be,” she adds. “I’m so afraid of confrontation.”

Working in Hollywood as long as she has, Moss says she’s acutely aware of the gender imbalance. That’s part of the reason why she advocated for a woman, Morano, to set the tone for Handmaid’s. And it’s why she and Miller made sure that four out of the five people to direct Handmaid’s ten episodes were women. That’s not to discount the work of Mike Barker, or, as Moss calls him, “our token male director, who’s one of my favorite directors I’ve ever worked with.” Moss’s vision isn’t of a world without men. If she didn’t work with them, she wouldn’t have learned so much from Matthew Weiner on Mad Men, or Campion’s TOTL co-creator Gerard Lee, or Miller on Handmaid’s. “I wouldn’t say it is a personal mission of mine to have only women directing and running and holding the camera,” she says. “I just want equality. We just want the same chances for the women as for the men.”

Doing Handmaid’s has also made Moss inclined to donate more and speak up about politics. “I’m having more of an attitude of, ‘The time is now.’ Samira Wiley’s character in Handmaid’s, Moira, says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ And then you see what happens in your own country and you go, ‘Okay, I get it. I don’t want to be the person who didn’t look up from my phone.’ You’d have to be a fucking idiot not to make the connection.”

She’s reluctant to draw a connection between Handmaid’s and her own thoughts on reproduction, but like a lot of women in their mid-30s, she’s been thinking about the subject a lot. “I want to be a mother,” she says. “Definitely as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more like, ‘Oh, yeah, I think so.’ I love my mom a lot and she’s awesome, and I want to try to do what she did, you know? She gave me a really good picture of motherhood, so I’d like to repeat that, if I can.” She doesn’t know exactly how she’ll repeat it, yet. “But I think there are a lot of different ways to be a mother and have a child now,” Moss says, “which is awesome, and that’s what is very important for me to protect.” When I mention that I’ve been thinking about egg freezing, she replies, “Yeah, I say go for it. I’ll do it with you. A group event. Injecting each other. Sexy.”

Our waiter is back. “Oh, is it five o’clock?” Moss wants to know. “We’re late for cocktail hour!” She’ll have a Moscow Mule with Grey Goose, but the waiter isn’t sure they have ginger beer. “I will literally send them a case of fucking ginger beer,” she whispers to me as he goes to check. (Crisis averted. They have it.)

Looking back on her career, Moss sees many of the characters she’s played as bringing her closer to her own personal definition of feminism. From The Heidi Chronicles, in which her character gives up the idea that women should “have it all” and adopts a child on her own, she learned that the purest form of feminism is to accept every woman’s “right to live the life she wants to live.” From Top of the Lake, she learned to stand up for herself. “If becoming a woman is becoming more confident about how to do what you love — which for me is, act — and if that makes you a stronger woman and hence more of a feminist, then Top of the Lake definitely helped me,” she says. “It’s a big deal when you believe in something and have to tell Jane Campion that you believe in that, you know? And then when Jane says, ‘Okay,’ and trusts you, you learn something there.”

If anyone knows a feminist when she sees one, it’s Jane Campion, who loves Moss so much that when I asked if she could answer some questions by email, she sent a beautiful, poetic love letter, signed “Dame Jane Campion.” Among its passages: “Lizzie Moss occupies spaces hither fore unknown, she hits notes I didn’t know existed. She is subversive and exciting, she is modest and vulnerable, AND she’s a tigress, she can attack and she can watch.” And, “On set, she has ear buds in listening to music, and a cigarette on her fingertips. This is how she waits. I like to keep a lazy eye on her, I try and guess her mood, what’s she going to do?”

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Photo: JUCO/Vulture

The answer to that question is, a lot. Moss tells me she’s now attached to star in four or five projects that she’ll also produce, including a documentary on ballet; an indie film with two-time collaborator Alex Ross-Perry; and a mini-series based on a book she can’t tell me about. (Plus, she’s looking for another project to do with Morano.) “Producing is definitely the bug that has bitten,” she says. “They’ve created a monster with The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Moss gets a text. Her mom has arrived at Fiorello. They’re going to grab dinner, and then Moss is going home to watch one of the many TV shows she’s obsessed with. On set, she zoned out to Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor (“I love Nick, so I’m on the Nick bandwagon. I was just happy to watch him more”). Now she’s trying to finish Gilmore Girls. After spending so much time with Bledel on Handmaid’s, she thought she’d check it out. “Oh my god, I fell so deep into that hole. All I wanted to do was watch Gilmore Girls,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to go to work. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to go home and watch Gilmore Girls. Like, obsessed!” (“That’s so funny!” says Bledel when I tell her. “It’s probably a good antidote to residing in Gilead for a whole season. I’m sure she’s getting some good laughs from the early years, or I hope she is, anyway.”)

When I call her a few weeks later to clear up some lingering questions, Moss is dying to tell me she just met Lauren Graham, a.k.a. Lorelai Gilmore. But she’s devastated to report that she still had “Disneyland face” at the time, “which is just the biggest, puffiest under-eye bags you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” How does one acquire Disneyland face? “It depends on how many churros you eat,” says Moss. “There’s just a lot of salty food, a lot of sugar, and if you double up on Space Mountain, it can wreck real havoc on the face.”

Moss, it turns out, is a Disneyland regular. She grew up in L.A. visiting it often, and now has a yearly tradition of going there with her best friend, Annapurna Pictures TV executive Susan Goldberg (they met when Goldberg worked on Mad Men at AMC). “We are complete and utter experts at it,” says Moss. “I’m surprised this has not come up before. We have a whole system. We have our favorite rides, we know what to go on first, we have an eating plan for the day.” Her best advice for novices is to head immediately to Frontierland and get a Fast Pass to the Indiana Jones ride, because that’s the longest line; then you’re set for the day.

Has she ever thought about doing a movie with Ryan Gosling, also a noted Disneyland expert, to trade tips? “There are lots of reasons why I feel like I could sign up for a film with Ryan Gosling, by the way,” says Moss. “Disneyland might actually not be first on the list. Second maybe!”

What she really wants to know is if Gosling is a member of Disneyland’s exclusive Club 33, the secret restaurant that is the only place in the park where you can drink and requires membership to enter? “One of my life goals is to get into Club 33,” she says. It’s almost the only thing that would make her more excited than that brass plaque on the wall of Fiorello, and please, please, wherever you are, clap if you believe she can do it. Or better yet, she says, “If anyone is reading this and would like to invite me, I would happily come any day of the week.”

Opener: Dress by Naeem Khan. Second image: Dress by Gucci; ring by Aligiri. Final image: Jacket by Ben Taverniti Unravel Project.

Fashion Assistant: Christonya Kinsey.

Elisabeth Moss Is the Queen of Peak TV