Is January Jones stupid, or is her life some kind of performance art?

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For a while now, I’ve considered January Jones one of least intelligent women ever to achieve success in Hollywood. My opinion of her lack of intelligence is based on several factors: A) several interviews where she comes across as vapid and apathetic, B) her inability to play anything but the “Betty Draper” archetype, a small-minded, petty, childish little girl stuck in a grown woman’s body, and C) finally, the whole Bobby Flay incident. The Flay thing really solidified the image I have of January as not-too-bright. Now, do I think January is maliciously stupid? Eh. I think she just wanders around, expecting her blonde prettiness to be the height of her life’s achievements. Even the Flay stuff didn’t seem like she was trying to brazenly attach herself to a married man – it just seemed like she was drunk and naïve and he was paying attention to her, so “why not?” in her mind.

Anyway, January has a new interview in USA Todaythe full piece is here. January’s starting promotion on Unknown, that odd-looking film starring Liam Neeson, where she plays Liam’s wife (or does she?!?). I’m not sure if the interview really changes my opinion of her. She’s not full-blown “Oh, sweetheart, you just need to shut your piehole” stupid like Jessica Simpson, but there are moments…

On the paparazzi: “They wait down the street on either end to see which way I’m going to go,” says Jones, who is photographed daily doing the most mundane activities: walking her dog, running to Kinko’s, shopping (and walking her dog again). “The weird thing about it is, it kind of makes me feel safe… I live alone, and I feel like they’re always there, they’re always watching. If someone were to come in and rob me — there’s photographers. It’s like the best security system ever. Maybe I’m that pathetic at this point… But it’s a constant presence.”

On “life as art”: “I sort of feel like I’m acting all the time on set, even when they say ‘cut’… I think the more confident I get with myself, the more I’m allowing myself to be heard.”

On Liam Neeson: “[He’s] everything I kind of expected him to be, which is great. He’s a lot more soft-spoken than I thought he would be. He’s kind of got this quiet wit, which is very charming and smart.”

On X-Men: First Class, where she plays mutant Emma Frost: “When I was first approached, they were like, ‘By the way, it’s 1962,’ ” she says with a note of amused exasperation. “I was like, ‘You must be kidding me.’”

On being a vagabond: “I haven’t been here the last two years, with the exception of four months in the summer for Mad Men,” says Jones, ticking off her temporary homes: New Orleans, Berlin, London, Georgia. “That’s the only thing I struggle with — with the success of the job — is that I’ve had to be kind of a vagabond.”

On the continuing negotiations/wrangling for a fifth season of Mad Men with Mad Men’s creator Matt Weiner: “They should just give him whatever he asks for,” Jones says with a roll of her eyes. “I mean, the guy is the show.” Although AMC spokeswoman Olivia Dupuis says an announcement has not been made on when the show would return, Joel Stillerman, AMC senior vice president of programming, confirmed Season 5 of Mad Men at the Television Critics Association in January. It’s just a matter of when. “If it gets too late in the next couple of months and there hasn’t been anything resolved, then I’ll just go and say, ‘Listen, I’m going to take a project,’ ” Jones says, noting how producers work with the cast.

January is counting on Betty Draper always being around: While Mad Men is known to shed characters at the whim of Weiner, Jones says Betty is safe, despite reduced screen time in Season 4. “Her presence, even when it’s not on camera, is such a huge part of the show, and she’ll always be in it,” she predicts.

Fan reaction to Betty Draper: “The first two seasons people felt straight-up pity and felt ‘Poor Betty’ and ‘Why is he so mean to her?’ ” she says. “And now they’re like ‘Ugh, Betty.’ ” Not that she takes the criticism personally. “If I’m able to go into a character and realistically portray someone who is awful and have people hate me for it, then I’m doing well,” Jones says. “I’ll take that as a compliment.” Thanks to Betty’s nasty ways, Jones is getting offered juicier roles. “The first couple of seasons, people empathized with her or pitied her, and I was getting kind of the sad, poor-me roles, or the victim roles, and now I’m getting the badass, bad-guy roles now that Betty’s (changed…I’ll be forever grateful to Matthew Weiner and Mad Men for doing that for me.”

On her modeling gig with Versace, and wearing the plunging, red Versace at the Globes: “I think people assume I have a contract with them or something, and I don’t,” she says. And to heck with the critics. “Joan Rivers thought it was slutty,” she says with a shrug and a smile. “Everyone can have their own opinion. I certainly do.”

Walking the red carpet with a boyfriend: “It definitely puts your relationship out there, so you shouldn’t do it before you’re ready,” Jones says. That said, “I’d definitely do it again.”

On Jason Sudeikis: “We’re still friends,” she says. “We still keep in touch. But it’s been a long haul with schedules and all that stuff.”

On dating other famous people: “I think you just date whoever you have a connection with. I think ideally it would be easier to meet someone who’s not in your business, just because if we’re both working, it’s very difficult to work out. But what are the chances I’m going to meet some great scientist that understands that I have to make out with other guys on a daily basis?” That said, marriage and kids are “definitely” in her future. “Not to be cliché, but why do this if you don’t have anyone to share it with?”

A Jon Hamm story: For now, Jones can go toe-to-toe with her seasoned co-stars. “Jon Hamm was teasing me the other day. He was like: ‘I’m the youngest guy you’ve made out with in five years.’” She gives a wicked grin. “I think it just makes him feel better because he’s nearly 40.”

[From USA Today]

See? It’s not like Jessica Simpson’s powerful stupidity, but there is something… lacking, something disengaged. Like she seems emotionally and intellectually distant. Maybe it’s all just an act, and maybe she’s really a passionate, interesting person. But it just feels like she has good people around her and she just says and does whatever she’s being told.

I know I seem to be nit-picking her, and if you guys want to point out all of the ways that I’m totally wrong about her, I’ll hear you out. She just seems so… dull. Dim, I guess. But I’m open to other theories.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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55 Responses to “Is January Jones stupid, or is her life some kind of performance art?”

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  1. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    Maybe it’s not stupidity. I read this article and get the vibe that maybe she has a more difficult time “connecting” when giving an interview…so everything kind of falls flat. Or she could just suck at interviews in general…ha. But she should work on that since it is part of her job.

    (But if she were uncomfortable, notice how she doesn’t bitch about it like Kristin Stewart would?)

  2. Rita says:

    “I’ve considered January Jones one of least intelligent women ever to achieve success in Hollywood”

    Considering today’s lineup in the vapid stable, that’s quite a moniker.

  3. sasa says:

    I dunno. She does seem guarded but I guess that’s her thing. The cold blonde spiel.
    She could also be dull but somehow I don’t really care. In the sea of people constantly over sharing about their lives I find her refreshing in a non fame whorish kind of way.

  4. Kim says:

    I’m a huge fan of Mad Men and find January perfect for the role of Betty Draper..on the outside..until she opens her mouth and tries to act. I find it really hard to watch her when she’s trying to bring any emotion to the character..She’s a robot.

  5. brin says:

    Yeah, I’m also leaning towards the better to under share than over share info. At least she’s not babbling on and on like so many celebs.

  6. SallyJay says:

    I agree with Sasa – I don’t think she is dumb, just private, rather reserved, and guarded with her comments – not the gushing “oh my gosh I’m so lucky isn’t my life wonderful you guys” that one tends to get from the average Hwood starlet. I honestly can’t comment as to her acting skills – she is incredible as Betty Draper (I know she polarizes opinion but I will hold firm on that one!), that being said, I have never seen her in anything else.

  7. Reality says:

    Pretend the words are coming from somebody your respect, Angelina Jolie or Mila Kunis, and I’m sure you’d see things differently.

    We read these articles with a preconceived notion about the people interviewed, which can colour our perception.

    I don’t think she’s dumb, but i think the idea that she might be comes from her looks and the Betty Draper character that she can’t seem to shed.

    She could be a genius for all we know-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/sep/05/highereducation.research

  8. Heather says:

    I love her. She’s vague, but I doubt she’s actually stupid. I think it’s charming and it suits her.

  9. anons says:

    meh. maybe she just needs a better pr team.

  10. Maud says:

    @Rita So true!

  11. GeekChic says:

    I don’t get the stupid vibe from her. Guarded, maybe, perhaps uncomfortable, but not dim. Like everyone else has said, I’d rather her under share than over share.

  12. mln76 says:

    It goes beyond stupidity to vacancy and vacant girls scare me a little. This may be a little too serious for this early in the morning but I always get the feeling they’ve been abused in some way. Like they are completely shut down. I have absolutely no idea about January at all and I could just be projecting my own beliefs onto that ‘type’.

  13. amoteafloat says:

    “Pretend the words are coming from somebody you respect, Angelina Jolie or Mila Kunis, and I’m sure you’d see things differently.”

    YES. Reality is exactly correct. You don’t like this interview with January specifically *because* it’s with January — not because of any issues with content. If Mila said the same stuff, you’d be crapping yourself to express your immense girlcrush.

    I still maintain that she’s a nuanced, subtle actress, and NO ONE else could play Betty Draper — an enormously complex character, as anyone who watches Mad Men knows — so well.

  14. Kaiser says:

    Reality & Amoteafloat: I do watch Mad Men. The performance isn’t nuanced, it’s the superb writing that should get the credit. And neither Mila nor Angelina EVER come across as this vapid and disengaged.

  15. Angela says:

    Reality:

    “Pretend the words are coming from somebody your respect, Angelina Jolie or Mila Kunis, and I’m sure you’d see things differently.

    We read these articles with a preconceived notion about the people interviewed, which can colour our perception.”

    I very much agree with this.

    I’ve seen one or two video interviews with January Jones and I felt like she was having trouble finding the right words to express herself. I don’t think she’s very intelligent, but she comes off okay in this USA Today interview. She gave honest answers, didn’t try to sound outrageous and doesn’t whine about fame/paparazzi. I appreciate that.

    ETA: The writing on Mad Men is great, but I think January’s performance also deserves praise. Maybe she got lucky to land a role that suits her so well and maybe she works really hard to portray the character so believably. In either case, I enjoy watching her as Betty Draper.

  16. Reality says:

    See the thing is, I don’t think it comes across as vapid at all. I think it’s a decent interview from a very private person.

    But I love her on Mad Men, so maybe it’s my own bias on display here.

    edited to add, what are you talking about Mln? Vancant girls seem like they’ve ‘been abused in some way’? Really?

  17. OtherChris says:

    I don’t think she’s stupid as much as boring. When you’re that pretty, no one encourages you to develop a personality so you’re kind of on your own.

  18. flutters says:

    She seems reasonably articulate in this interview. Overall I agree with the people who say she comes off as disengaged and distant rather than dumb.

  19. Laura says:

    I think she’s a terrible actress, and I can see why Ashton Kutcher said she’d never make it back when they were dating. Maybe part of it is insecurity because she knows she’s not the best actress out there.

  20. Hatedoodle says:

    ZZZZzzzzzzz

  21. texasmom says:

    I don’t think she is stupid, more of incurious. Kind of like George W. Bush.

  22. sapphire says:

    Dim is a good word for her. If this interview was with Jolie, I’d wonder if the heroin stories were true. If it was Kunis, I’d check to see if she’d been blowing a joint with K-Stew.

    Look, I have no problem with people who don’t want to be exhibitionists and think that an actor who STFU is a rarity. But this is more like a communication gap.

  23. blah says:

    I think Reality hit the nail on the head. Kaiser has difficulty separating the actor from their character. Hence her irrational hate of Lea Michele.

  24. amoteafloat says:

    LOL. Blah, I’ve gotta defend Kaiser here: her hatred for Lea Michele is TOTALLY RATIONAL.

  25. Leticia says:

    Her exterior is sheer perfection: face, body, hair, etc.

  26. Anti-icon says:

    I don’t think she’s vapid at all….made some questionable “choices” along the way…well, haven’t we all. I think she’s stunningly beautiful.

  27. Sandy says:

    @blah and others
    I think anyone who found that article guarded and reserved and not dim…

    is dim.
    Remember Kaiser, there are people in the world that think Lady Ga Ga is original performance art and that Kim Kardashian is a fashion icon.

  28. Liana says:

    meh, she’s seems OK. Sometimes people appear to be grasping for thoughts or words because they’re just not good at the publicity machine. And you don’t have to be good at the publicity machine to be an actor.

    I embrace my totally irrational hatred of Lea Michelle. I can’t bring myself to hate on January because I think she’s harmless.

  29. normades says:

    I don’t think she’s a great actress but I do like her red carpet picks. Style wise she gets a B+ in my book

  30. Ice Bunny says:

    it’s the cool, ice-blond persona. she plays it on the small screen, the big screen, and in real-life. it’s who she is. doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence.. it’s just the degree to which she outwardly emotes. which is not a lot – as she is restricted by the ice.

  31. Marissa says:

    It’s so easy for everyone to pass judgement and call her “dim”, I’d love to hear the intelligent, profound, charming answers you guys would come up with that would translate well to print. It’s not like they were asking her to comment on the situation in Egypt.

  32. kathy says:

    Dumb as a box of rocks. And no talent. Period.

  33. Liana says:

    I’d love to hear the intelligent, profound, charming answers you guys would come up with that would translate well to print.
    ************

    Don’t we all do this every day here on CB?

  34. jover says:

    I go with boring and vacant. Have you seen her on late nite talk shows on Fallon they had to resort to some Beer pong schtick to spice up the interview. Remember, she also turned in one of the worst guest host appearances on SNL last yr (not that snl has been very good lately); why give her a pass she’s what 31 hasn’t she read a book or done anything interesting outside of the hollywood stuff in her life?

  35. Kim says:

    She really is an unintelligent bimbo. All her rude comments about how Ashton Kutcher told her she wasnt pretty enough to make it in Hollywood, yes he is a douhce, but who tattle tales like this?? She isnt attractive – he is right and Joan is right she dresses like a slut.

    Jover – boring and vacant – perfect description.

  36. dahlia1947 says:

    Well she doesn’t seem to have verbal diarrehea unlike SOME celebrities which is good. She seems kind of shy, or aloof and that’s ok.

  37. dahlia1947 says:

    She seems classy. So i hope she stops attaching herself to questionable guys.

  38. trollydolly says:

    I really don’t understand why you would call January Jones stupid. Maybe I’m stupid.

  39. MsPetit says:

    She’s just nordic

  40. ezra says:

    Your typical beautiful woman who cruises by on her looks and doesn’t have to make any effort at engagement or proving her intellect if she doesn’t feel like it. She’s not stupid though, I wouldn’t classify her as genius, but definitely not stupid.

  41. Johanna says:

    Have you seen the trailer for the movie she’s coming out in with Liam Neeson? There’s a scene where she tilts her head sideways all while having a blank stare & her mouth is half opened. That sums it up for me as far as answering your, is she stupid question? She’s a one dimensional actress that can play one role: The Bimbo

  42. Dannie says:

    She sounds kinda normal to me and someone trying to give a publishable interview. I don’t see anything in there that is dumb or vapid or anything, really. They are asking her about show-biz which isn’t usually that “intelligent” of a conversation.

  43. moocowhead says:

    This is stupid. Picking on her for being ‘stupid’ is rather pathetic. I laughed at the Bobby Flay incident, but this is like picking on the slow kid in school, (not saying she’s slow, I really don’t know). Not everyone is born with an intellectual kind of curiosity, some people just go through life trying to make the best out of what they have and I personally don’t think any less of them than I think of ‘smarter’ people.

  44. Twez says:

    She can speak fairly well on subjects that interest her. She was a thoughtful guest judge on Project Runway. Of course, I’ve seen no indication that she’s interested in any other subject, in the sense of being able to talk intelligently about it.

  45. Crash2GO2 says:

    I agree that she sounds somewhat disengaged, but I disagree that she sounds stupid. I think she is being reasonably forthright and speaks well enough.

  46. LittleOat says:

    “LOL. Blah, I’ve gotta defend Kaiser here: her hatred for Lea Michele is TOTALLY RATIONAL.”
    I was thinking the same thing. Totally rational.

  47. Mary Stevens says:

    She’s from Sioux Falls,South Dakota, and named after a Jacqueline Susann character. What else do you expect/want?

  48. Cheryl says:

    January Jones, “I like apples. They are sweet and crunchy. Sometimes Granny Smith apples are bitter.”

  49. crazydaisy says:

    she sounds smart to me.

  50. anonymous says:

    Now, now, I don’t think she is stupid. Some people just don’t have good communication skills. Take me, for example, I get good grades and I am good at analytical thinking but I was never good at expressing myself. I speak two languages and I can’t express myself clearly in either of them. And it’s not because I don’t read or anything like that, it’s just because at times I can’t find the right words, ’cause I forget.

    Plus, I also think that she (like many people said) is guarded. I don’t think she likes the whole popularity thing that much.

  51. bob says:

    I think she has asperger’s syndrome

    • eihpos says:

      i agree 100%. i know a couple of people with asperger syndrome – and that is exactly how they behave.

      • Aspie says:

        I’m Aspie. So are most of my colleagues. We don’t behave like January Jones. We’re individuals too you know.

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  53. californiamama says:

    I just started watching the Mad Men cd’s. I watched the special features where January was one of the commentators and I was so struck by how dumb she sounded that I typed in this question. Is january Jones dumb? It’s like she can’t speak without a script. How sad.