Name: Deborah Ann Woll
Date of Birth: February 07, 1985
Place of Birth: Brooklin, NY, USA
Height: 5′ 10″ (1.78 m)
Hair: Blonde (dyed Red)
Popularly known as the eternally virginal vampire Jessica Hamby on HBO’s True Blood, Deborah Ann Woll is definitely making a mark as one of the finest up-and-coming actresses on television. The Brooklyn native, whose former works compose mainly of classical theater performances in New York City, has made her way into Hollywood via her guest-appearances on prime-time TV shows and her break-out role in the Alan Ball vampire drama. In mid-2009, film producers have also began taking notice of her ethereal beauty and enormous talent as she has been signed to appear in the 2010 remake of the thriller Mother’s Day.
Early in her childhood, it was clear that Deborah had the inclination and interest towards the arts. Throughout her grade school years, Woll was immersed in playing the piano and perfecting her skills in dance. It was only in high school that her focus turned into acting when she started being cast as lead player in school productions. After graduation, she continued her path as a stage actress by getting involved with a New York theater company which specialized in cl@ssical productions. After completing a Shakespeare-intensive course, Deborah made her way to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She preferred USC over the schools in New York, since the students had better access to and more freedom in auditioning for film and television roles while studying.
In 2007, she made her television debut as Nancy Wiscinski, a rape victim, in an episode of NBC’s LA cop drama Life. She followed that up with a variety of character portrayals in other network shows such as playing a nurse on ER, a waitress on CSI, a sheltered Camdenite on My Name is Earl, and a teaching assistant on The Mentalist. In 2008, Woll landed the role of her career as she was cast as the bratty and newly-turned teenage vampire Jessica on True Blood. She was initially set to appear in at most three episodes, but the show’s producers, impressed by her work, brought her back as a series regular during the second season.
Each role you approach is its own. The greatest thing about being a human being (or a vampire) is we are all everything at some point in our lives. It’s just finding a different aspect of that when you play a different role and allowing it to blossom until it is beyond you.
(about working on “True Blood”) When I can feel comfortable, I can really work to the best of my ability. Until this show, I didn’t really feel like I’d gotten to do that yet because I was so crippled by my nerves. But here, it’s really been beautiful to be able to get past that, and really work with people that I enjoy working with and who I have confidence are doing just as much work themselves.
There is something very attractive about someone who can look at you and make you feel a certain way, and in way sort of control you. I think that fear and sexuality are very closely linked. I think things that scare us are a little bit sexy. Things that are unknown attract us. And blood, that deep, red, rich warm, life. There’s something really beautiful about that, which we may have some trouble admitting to. There’s something very beautiful about it flowing against the pale vampiric skin.
I think that part of the difficulty of being a celebrity is that you may have to hide what you’re feeling and you aren’t totally allowed to be yourself, because you’re in the public eye. And I think the breakdowns that we tend to see sort of have to do with maybe finally trying to break free and say ‘I am who I am, whether you like it or not.’ It’s an overwhelming experience.
Acting is somewhat mysteriously taught. There are so many different methods and systems and processes for teaching acting because it will always be an elusive art-form. I’m not sure any actor really knows for sure how it is done. You have to find what works for you and cultivate that.
I was shy and a hard worker, so acting was a way to focus whatever nervous energy I was experiencing onto a goal. I also think there is something in me that actually enjoys being a little scared. I like horror films and roller coasters, and for a shy person to have to put everything that they are out there for a performance, carried an element of fear and challenge for me.
I definitely like a little bit of darkness, a little edge. I get a little bored when things are maybe too simple or too… expected. The best characters and the best stories are the ones that surprise you.
(about talking with her fake fangs in on “True Blood”) For about the first five to ten minutes, you sound like Cindy Brady. Of course, you’re trying to be all immortal and cool and it’s very difficult to sound that way when you have a lisp.
Theatre takes a huge chunk of time out of your life where you can’t do much else. Plus they have to cast you, isn’t that always the hard part. But I am sure I will return to the stage many times in my life, maybe not Broadway, I wouldn’t dare dream so high, but it is a pleasure at any level.
(in preparing for her vampire character on “True Blood”) I watched a lot of animal videos and often attack footage. Stalking and attacking and killing are practices lost in most humans, so I needed to teach myself to do them.
(comparing herself to her character on “True Blood”) I’m a real shy doormat. I let people get away with stuff, all the time, and I can’t ever speak up for myself. As Jessica, I get to have a real passion and fire, and a real confidence. There’s a self-confidence there, that might come off as irritating or annoying, but is an admirable self-respect. In a way, I wish I had a little bit of that.
I’d love to do all kinds of acting work, I’m not picky when it comes to that. All of it is an extreme interesting experience. I like women who are character actors but can still play leading women, can still be a romantic lead.
• In 2009, Deborah began being involved with raising funds for research on choroideremia, a hereditary disease her boyfriend Edward ‘E.J.’ Scott is afflicted with (read here more about this).
• One of the major challenges Deborah had to overcome as she initially worked on True Blood was mastering a full Southern accent as she only had four or five days to learn it for her character.
• Deborah is a huge fan of the vampire and horror genres. She and her boyfriend used to watch Angel and Buffy together. She has also seen the classic horror films on Dracula and Nosferatu.
• Among the actresses she admires and whose careers she’d like to emulate are Allison Janney and Greta Garbo.
• Her interests and hobbies include reading comic books, playing the piano, solving puzzles, and playing Japanese logic games and computer games.
• Deborah is afflicted with Celiac disease which prevents her from eating wheat products or anything with Gluten in them. She compensates by consuming lots of meat, vegetables, and rice products.
• Woll appeared on the cover of H magazine’s August 2009 issue (scans here). It also included a photoshoot and a feature article on her entitled, “Interview with the Vampire”.
• Her theatrical credits include playing a young woman in Machinal, Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, and Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well.
• She is of Irish and German descent.
• When she was hired to play Jessica on True Blood, none of the episodes were aired yet. She instead read the first two books of the series was based on to get a general feel of the characters, setting, and story of the show.
• Her favorite TV show of all-time is Mystery Science Theater 3000 and watches an episode of it every night before she goes to sleep. She also enjoys features aired on the SciFi Channel and Animal Planet.
• Deborah is 5′ 10″ (1.78 m) tall. She has strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. She has been dying her hair red since freshman year in high school.