TV Guide: What is the secret to making Joy work: her accent, hair or clothes?
Jaime Pressly: Honestly, you can't separate them. I mixed three or four accents together so she sounds like the biggest trailer-park queen in the country. Her hair is a character unto itself. Her ridiculous clothes are a nice little icing on the cake.
TV Guide: Joy and Earl are often at odds. What are you guys really like on the set?
Pressly: Ethan [Suplee] and Jason [Lee] are like my brothers. They'll be like, "F--- you, bitch." And I'll be like, "Well, f--- you right back, a--hole." Then they'll come up and try to grab my boob and I'll be like, "Go ahead. I dare you!" We bounce back and forth like that all day long. It's how we keep it lively on set. I do the same thing the boys do because my dad, my brother and I were always so tight. I've always hung out with guys.
TV Guide: For years you were the go-to gal when it came to tough Southern chicks. Thoughts?
Pressly: It's something I've used to my advantage. I've never stopped working for 11 years. You can pigeonhole me all you want as doing Southern white trash, but if you were paying attention, you'd notice that every character I played was different. The truth is I am strong. I'm the little engine that could and did and will. If you put me down or pigeonhole me or tell me I can't do it, it's just fuel for my fire. I'm a Leo.
TV Guide: You have your own lingerie/clothing line called J'aime. Rate the lacy underthings you wear on Earl.
Pressly: They totally make Joy look like she's a floozy! I have to wear the biggest padded push-up bras. They're like boulder holders. Man, in the beginning? My boobs were pushed up to my neck. Everybody was going, "Did you get fakes?" It was even in a magazine. So I was like, "Seriously, guys, it is time to tone it down. We can get the ratings without it."
TV Guide: You recently were invited to the White House. What was your reaction?
Pressly: I called my assistant and said, "Are we supporting our troops? Or are we supporting them because George [Bush] put them over there?" She said, "This isn't about being there for the troops it's about having dinner with the president." Now I will do anything that's about supporting our troops, because I'm from North Carolina where we have Army and Navy bases. But I want to support our troops coming home. We have enough problems in our own country. I hate all these pointless deaths. So I'm not going.
TV Guide: Have you ever been falsely linked to someone by the tabloids?
Pressly: Supposedly I've been engaged to Carson Daly! We hosted MTV's New Year's Eve Live together. I was wearing my grandmother Pressly's ring. Between takes, we [clinked glasses of] champagne for a photo. Next thing you know, we're a new couple! We've been good friends for years. Never dated.
TV Guide: What's a big misconception about you?
Pressly: People always say that if I don't have a smile on my face, I look like I'm a cold bitch. It's because of this thing right here [points to a frown line between her eyebrows]. It makes me look mean or mad when I'm not. People think, "Oh, my god. She's crazy." But my dry humor and this crease can fool anybody. A lot of times I'll tell a joke and if you don't know me, you'll think I'm serious.
TV Guide: Has it been gratifying to get rave reviews for Earl after years of toiling in the straight-to-video trenches?
Pressly: It is. But I've never been told that I was awful or been given a bad review for anything I've done. The movie or other people in it might have been given a bad review. But they've never said, "Jaime Pressly is awful." My whole philosophy has always been, as long as I'm really good at what I do, that's OK. Everything else is just experience.
Does Jaime Pressly bring you Joy? If so, this exclusive video from her recent TV Guide photo shoot is for you.