Talking “Glee” With Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz and Jayma Mays


Heather Morris as Brittany, Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina, and Jayma Mays as Emma

I had the chance to chat with Glee actresses Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Jayma Mays at this summer’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour during the Fox party at Gladstone’s in Malibu. Despite being mobbed by press, all three with were happy to stop and chat about their gay fans, what’s coming up for the upcoming season and more.

I spoke with Morris first as she tried to grab a bite to eat while talking with reporters. We were on the deck of Gladstone’s overlooking the Pacific, and even though I was chilly despite wearing a jacket, Morris seemed perfectly comfortable in a filmy skirt and a lace top. I suppose when an actor’s career is as hot as Morris’, it’s hard to ever feel cold.

Asked how she would like the writers to focus on Brittany this season, Morris was content to be the actor and let the writers decide what would happen to her character. But she did say, “I don’t think we should take her too seriously, but it would be cool if she had a sensitive side with Artie. Get her opinions about things like Artie. [And] I loved Fondue for Two. So that would be fun to watch. I love doing that. It’s the best time for me to be able to just go off.”

And who would Brittany’s dream Fondue For Two guest be? Morris laughs and says, “Maybe like the school mascot or something. That would be funny.”

In the hands of a less capable actress, a character as sweet and goofy as Brittany could come across as cloying or sappy. So how does Morris keep the character grounded in reality? Or at least Glee’s version of reality? “I just try to be as myself as possible,” says Morris. “I don’t know. I just like watching actors that are like themselves. I mean, I like overdramatic acting, but if I relate to it, then I feel like that’s where it makes sense to me.”

Given that Morris plays a bisexual character, it’s not a surprise that she has a big lesbian following. But Morris has a big gay male following as well. Asked about why that might be, the actress gives a surprising answer. “I think gay guys just like some p—y,” she says, clearly joking. “I don’t know. All my guy friends are basically like, almost all of them are gay and they are just like, I don’t know. They just want to have fun comedic relief. I think gay guys love like good comedic relief. Like slapstick and funny things, you know?”

Morris might be the most popular woman on Glee right now, but she is hardly the only one we’re fond of. In fact, given that most of the female characters are quirky oddball outsiders, many a gay identify with all of them including Tina, played by Jenna Ushkowitz.

Asked how it feels knowing that the women of Glee have so many gay fans, Ushkowitz, looking fantastic in a bright blue dress, says, “It’s kind of awesome. Especially for Naya Rivera’s character and for Heather Morris. You know, definitely showing that side of the spectrum. I’m really proud to be a part of a show that does that and I’m really proud that all the girls are kind of coming up and taking the lead. It’s empowering.”

Asked what she hopes is in store for Tina this season, Ushkowitz says, “Well, I know she’s going to be struggling a little bit, being a junior, figuring out who’s going to be juniors and seniors and who’s going to be graduating and moving in a different way in the Glee world. I [would] just kind of like to see some conflict for her. I’d like to see her struggle and kind of rise above it.”

Asked if Gleeks can look forward to seeing Tina sing a solo and what it might be, Ushkowitz is non-committal. “We kind of let the writers do that because they always surprise us with what they come up with. They are throwing things at us that we never thought we could do. But there are definitely a few Adele songs I would like to cover.”

Is there a particular Adele song she’d like to sing? Perhaps Ushkowitz reveals a bit more than she intended when quickly says, “Well, Amber and I would love to sing ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ together. We love Adele.”

Next page… Jayma Mays

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