Faces: The Daily Show's Jessica Williams Interview
We’re huge fans of actress and comedian Jessica Williams! She’s not only a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but has also made cameos on GIRLS and often performs at the iconic L.A. improv institution Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Ms. Williams lives in Brooklyn now, but her heart will always belong to her native California. This allows for a bi-coastal dress code that mixes a West Coast tomboy vibe with the street style sensibility of New York.
Where did you first come into contact with Nixon?
I first came into contact with Nixon when I worked at Beachworks back home in L.A. Part of my job was to sell Nixon watches! That is when I fell in love with them.
What does a Nixon watch mean to you?
A Nixon watch is about an aesthetic sensibility matched with quality. For me, what I loved was the unisex quality of it all. I could wear the guy’s watches and the girl’s watches and they would fit me equally. My Nixon watches always last forever.
As a born-and-bred Californian, how do you channel your West Coast-ness while living in New York City?
I channel my West Coast-ness by always having a piece of California in my personal style; Now I’m mixing it with a slightly harder NYC edge so I’ll wear a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt under a leather jacket. I like to balance California textiles with an East Coast vibe. Also, I am still very committed to the phrase, "Jah feel”— I say it around my new neighborhood in Brooklyn whenever I can.
Do you have a signature element of your style?
California. That place is my heart. And if I am ever wearing something that doesn't at least have a little bit of its essence, I feel a bit incomplete.
With the hectic filming schedule of a daily TV show, and roles in films and other shows, how do you spend your downtime?
I spend my own downtime by Yelping restaurants then patronizing them. I like diving in and seeing what I like. As a newcomer to NYC, I love the weekends and exploring things to do in the city. I’m also addicted to playing The Sims, so I play that whenever I can. I highly recommend the game in moderation for any of my gals out there that love to control things and micro-manage.
What's does your perfect beach day look like?
Perfect beach day would start at the Manhattan Beach pier. I’d head over to Becker’s for sandwiches and cupcakes, then go next door to the liquor store and get a 99-cent Arizona iced tea, walk down to the beach and sit and watch the waves with my friends. I’ll go in for a dip but I DON’T GET MY HAIR WET, because, like, who wants to wash it?
Favorite time of any day?
It's a cliché, but probably dawn. I hate the mornings, but when I accidentally wake up during dawn, it feels so good. The world is quiet, but excited to start itself. I'm confusing myself, is this too self-aware?
Autumn is a time of transition, how might you change this season as the leaves turn?
I'm transitioning into the season by happily leaning into the concept of layering, and I’d love to invest in a leather jacket. I have a young lady from Etsy that I LOVE getting knitted beanies and scarves from. And I'm about to start ordering plenty of pumpkin spice lattes.
Any comedic actors or actresses that inspired you growing up?
I fell in love with the ladies in the 90's and 00's SNL—Cheri Oteri, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler. Molly Shannon really stole my heart as a young, awkward, Catholic schoolgirl who was not afraid to jump all over the place. When I was a baby my mother would always re-enact to me Gilda Radner’s character "Roseanne Roseannadanna,” I never understood it until I was like 11. I also have to mention that my true love was Will Smith as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in Men In Black, also Chris tucker in the Fifth Element and Rush Hour.
“F**k it! We'll do it live!"
– Bill O' Reilly, from an infamous early 90's outtake of Inside Edition.
Watch Jessica Williams on The Daily Show, Monday thru Thursday at 11pm on Comedy Central, and follower her on Twitter @msjwilly.
Photos: Simons Finnerty