Ally Maki is a busy girl: from her new show Wrecked debuting this June (think Lost meets Gilligan’s Island) to her guest cameo on FOX’s New Girl and even her trips to Coachella, she doesn’t slow down. We caught up with her to discuss her new roles and what we can expect from this rising star in the next few months.
Cliché: How would you describe your character Jess in Wrecked? Do you identify with her at all?
Ally Maki: Jess is the fun, feisty firecracker, and hopeless romantic of the group. Having been in a relationship for 7 years with her—how shall I put this?—“very difficult” boyfriend Todd, she’s really trying to figure her life out and the future of her tumultuous relationship. She doesn’t need a man, but she so desperately wants one and the fairytale romance that comes with it. This season for Jess is really all about her journey to finding out who she is, finding her sexuality, and her journey to becoming the strong, independent woman she’s always dreamed of becoming. I definitely can identify with all of that. I don’t think I’ll ever stop identifying with any of her story. She’s a constant challenge. I find so much of myself in Jess, which makes it fun and often therapeutic.
What can fans expect to see on Wrecked in the fall?
Absolute craziness, in the best way. Our creators, the Shipley Brothers, have the most creative minds and really found a fantastic way to create a new world for this group of strangers stranded on a deserted island. And while yes, Lost fans are in for a treat, I feel like the show is really its own thing and one I think people are going to love. Thematically, a lot of the season deals with the idea of “if you had a second chance at life to start over, who would you be and what sides would it bring out in you?” which leads to some very interesting episodes and storylines.
If you were stranded on an island, what would you absolutely have to have with you?
First thing that weirdly pops in my head is a coffee machine and the strongest coffee beans this world has to offer. Who would I be without caffeine? I would absolutely be that girl in the bushes brewing an Americano just so I can power through the day to find basic necessities like food and shelter. Oh man, I would really be terrible on Survivor.
What was it like being on New Girl? I feel like you would just constantly laugh on set.
Being on New Girl has always been on my bucket list, so when I finally got the chance to be on the show, I was absolutely thrilled… and so nervous! It can be challenging to jump onto any established show, but even more so when it’s a show you’re a fan of. I honestly was just trying my best not to act like a total goof all the time, even though I was literally drooling all over “the loft” set and the infamous “douchebag jar.” But everyone was so lovely and fun. I laughed a lot. Since Zooey was on break from the show at the time, I worked with the guys, and mostly Jake Johnson, who is a total genius. I remember just being in awe watching Jake and Max Greenfield improv back and forth for a solid five minutes after a scene was over. They were just throwing zinger after zinger. It was incredible.
What is your process like when preparing for a role?
When I come into any role, I really try to find a way to correlate my own experiences and what I’ve been through to the character’s. Especially with comedy, I try and relate everything back to my own life, the stupid things I’ve done, my heartbreaks, quirks, the interesting people I’ve met, etc. I like to make it as real for myself as possible. Beyond that, having fun and truly immersing yourself into a character is really half the battle.
I saw you went to Coachella. How would you classify your summer/festival style?
I love Coachella style! I love funky separates, weird sunglasses, and am also a jean shorts kind of gal. I think my rule in that sort of situation is: the more the better! If I wanted to wear a funky headband with feathers in my hair and mermaid-colored extensions with baby goldfish hanging off the ends, I feel like it still wouldn’t have been enough. It was so fun to see people’s personalities come out through their style.
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Ally Maki Shines in the New TBS Series ‘Wrecked’: Photographed by Vince Trupsin