It’s possible to be fashionable and green at the same time. Just ask Glee’s Jayma Mays, who often carries a clutch purse made from soda and beer can pull-tabs. “It’s all recycled, even the thread. I’ve had a ton of compliments on it. No one knows what it is at first. Then I tell them and they want to look at it and touch it and open it. It’s a great conversation starter,” says Mays, who also shops organic and local at farmers markets and Trader Joe’s. “We try to be as conscious about that stuff as possible.”
Mays, who portrayed Hiro’s doomed love, Charlie, on Heroes, now plays OCD guidance counselor Emma on Glee, which returns to Fox on April 13 with new episodes and a roster of guest stars including Neil Patrick Harris, Molly Shannon, and Olivia Newton-John, and all-Madonna music episode on April 20. As for her character’s ongoing flirtation with Glee Club advisor Will Schuester, Mays quotes creator Ryan Murphy in saying that it’s his job as a writer to keep them apart, “and what we know of Emma, she’s a pretty staid person so I think it would be too wild for her to jump into anything.” Whatever the plot brings, she’s having a blast. “It’s nice to be able to go to work and not feel like you’re working,” she says. “I really feel blessed.”
(Related on MNN: The cast of ‘Glee’ each tell us how they’re going green.)
Living in New York City makes it easier for actor Daniel Sunjata (pictured right) to reduce his energy consumption. “I have never owned a car — in New York you don’t need one. I like to walk. I take public transportation. I recycle. I try not to litter. But I don’t have solar panels. I’m very concerned about the environment, but the steps that I’ve take to make my life greener are baby steps.”
This month, Sunjata makes a big step from supporting player in the FX series Rescue Me to star of At Risk and The Front, a pair of Lifetime original movies adapted from Patricia Cornwell novels, premiering April 10 and April 17 respectively. He plays Massachusetts state police investigator Win Garano, who, unlike macho firefighter Franco on Rescue Me, “wears Prada and Gucci, is more on the metrosexual side.”
As for Rescue Me, the cast is filming 19 episodes to be spread over two seasons, with the finale tentatively set to air on Sept. 11, 2011. Because scripts aren’t written much in advance, “I honestly have no idea how the show will end or where my character will be,” Sunjata explains. He hopes Franco will survive, “But I’m sure wherever we end up will be where we’re supposed to be.” He’ll miss the camaraderie most, he says, and hopes to snag his fireman’s hat as a souvenir.
The Chicago-born, New York-based actor and Tony Award nominee for Take Me Out hopes to do more theater, and would like to try his hand at producing, but doesn’t have any behind or in front of the camera projects lined up beyond the indie movie Weakness, in which he plays “a Latin lover who tempts a woman away from her relationship.” Whatever’s next, he says, “I’m just hoping that the universe sends me something good.”
Actress Monica Potter (pictured left) recycles and drives a Volvo station wagon that gets good mileage, but her attempts at composting have been problematic. “I made my own compost pile in the backyard but it didn’t work. I think I put the wrong things in it,” confides the Parenthood star, a mother of three who embraces the challenge of a character who has an autistic son and a rebellious teen daughter. “She’s very flawed, and I’m bringing my flaws to her,” says Potter. “I’m kind of neurotic in the midst of chaos ad sometimes say the wrong thing to my kids’ teachers or anyone dealing with my kids. I’m very protective of them. “
“The greenest thing I do is trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I drive an SUV, I use premium gas, I drive a lot,” admits actor Alan Ritchson. “But I pick up trash when I hike. Baby steps, right?” Ritchson, who plays jock Thad Castle on Spike’s college football comedy Blue Mountain State, plays a murder victim in the April 12 episode of CSI: Miami. “It’s a spring break episode. I play a jerk — the character is really mean and deserves to die,” says Ritchson, “People are going to root for him to die.”
Tune in: PBS Nature explores the bioengineering of creatures including ants that can carry loads and bite with force many times their weight in Moment of Impact: Jungle, premiering on April 11. Debuting on Nat Geo Wild on April 12, Africa’s Lost Eden chronicles the efforts to restore the animal population and repair the ecosystem in the Gorongosa Wildlife Park in Mozambique.
Additional photo credits: Daniel Sunjata by Ben Mark Holzberg/Lifetime; Monica Potter by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC.