Jenny Mollen is an actor, two-time New York Times bestselling author, and – in our opinion – one of the most entertaining people on social media. She has been married to American Pie and Orange Is the New Black actor Jason Biggs for 11 years, and is mother to their two sons, Sid, four and Lazlo, one. She sat down with Danielle Snyder last week to talk movies, motherhood and midlife crises. Here, we share the best takeaways from their conversation. You can download the full podcast here.
On her first impression of now-husband Jason Biggs, when her friend Doug showed her Jason’s audition tape for My Best Friend’s Girl, a movie starring Kate Hudson in which they were both ultimately cast.
“[Doug] said, ‘There are two guys that we're deciding between. One is this guy, I don't know his name, and one is Jason Biggs.’ … Instantly I was like, ‘Give it to the other guy, fuck Jason Biggs.’ Because I wasn't famous and I was like, ‘Fuck that guy.’ I was like, ‘Give it to the other guy.’ Then I watched the tapes and Jason was really good – I was a theatre snob, I was like, ‘A teen sex comedy, he’s nothing compared to me.’ You know? I just like, had this attitude, this smugness – I’m watching the tape and my jaw is like on the floor, I'm like, ‘Oh my god, he's so talented.’ I called Doug back up and I'm like, ‘Doug, You’ve got to give it to Jason Biggs – I can't believe how good he is.’ Then I said, ‘And I might be in love with him.’ Kind of kidding, right? Like, not serious.”
Jason proposed to Jenny just six months into their relationship, and just two months later Jenny discovered she was pregnant. The couple, after much indecision, decided to keep the baby, but then Jenny suffered a miscarriage.
“I ended up having a miscarriage, but it was kind of this weird thing where I wasn't sad about it. I mean, you can't be ... This is the thing: I understand women who've tried forever who want to have a baby, and then they're sad because they miscarry. But having never had a child, and being 27, 28 years old, a miscarriage can also be like a mitzvah. I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It gave me a chance to breathe.”
Jason recently marked a year of sobriety, but his decision to stop drinking began more than five years ago, and initially took Jenny by surprise.
“It was 2013, I was doing Hawaii Five-O. He was shooting the first season of Orange Is the New Black, he was in New York. He calls me one day and he's like, ‘I think I have a problem, I think I'm an alcoholic.’ I'm just like, ‘What are you talking about?’
“I mean, I know Jason's the type that couldn't have pain pills in the house without eating them, but I just thought he was kind of indulgent. I mean, if there's a tub of ice-cream in the fridge, he'll devour that. He does everything in excess. Which I liked about him.
“He said, ‘I drink more than you know, I'm hiding it from you.’ That was kind of what surprised me. Then he's like, ‘I'm going to try to get sober.’ So I wasn't invested in it in the way where I'm like, ‘You need to get sober because it's affecting our marriage.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, cool. I'll support you on this fad diet.’”
Jenny in November last year with husband Jason Biggs.
Jenny describes herself as a workaholic, and devotes most of her time to writing, while Jason continues to enjoy success as an actor, though she admits she prefers it when he’s not working.
“I try not to act unless it's something I've written… I think acting is so lame. [I’ll tell Jason]: ‘An actor's life sucks.’ But he agrees with me. He's like, ‘I know,’ he's like, ‘But it's all I've done since I was fucking four and it paid for this apartment so shut your mouth.’
“It's awesome having a husband who is sometimes working, sometimes not, because when he's not he's looking for things to do, and I'm just like, ‘Oh, funny you should ask, I have a list of things you can do for me.’ … He's like my personal assistant. I hate when he has a job now, I hate it.”
In fact, Jenny insists Jason is more of a mom figure than she is.
“I think you need to have two moms in a relationship… Because being the dad is like Easy Street, and oftentimes I fall into dad category, but I married a mom. [Jason] can cook, he can pick up the ... he's like, ‘Jenny, his water bottle wasn't packed in the lunch today.’ I was like, ‘They also could give him a cup and water at school. Does that really matter?’ But Jason's all over it. He's like, ‘I've just ordered new gloves for Laz.’ I'm like, ‘I didn't even know babies could wear gloves.’ You know? It's the little things. Like what size diaper does Laz wear? I have no fucking idea, I've never bought them for him, Jason does. I swear to god, he's so good at this.”
Jenny pictured in a skirt designed by her friend Stacey Bendet of Alice & Olivia.
On Dictator Lunches, an Instagram feed with a 73.3K following, created by Jenny to showcase the lunches she packs for four-year-old son Sid.
“Dictator Lunches started basically because I'm obsessed with what Sid eats. I want him to eat like a Hollywood actress, because I'm like, why are we feeding our kids such shit? I feel like the more we dumb food down for kids, the more shitty food they're going to eat. It's like, why is there a kid's menu? In any other country in the world, there's not a kid's menu. Eat like a human being. You don't need to even know what chicken fingers, pizza, all this shit… He gets peanut butter and jelly, he gets all that stuff, but I also sent him with linguine and clams on Tuesday to school. I just want him to be a foodie, I want him to eat everything, and I don't want him to think that pretzels and raisins is a good snack.”
The couple moved from Los Angeles to New York in 2015, and Jenny reflected on how residents of the two cities have very different aspirations.
“When you're in LA you're brainwashed to think the pinnacle of life is your own TV show. Then you leave LA and you're like, ‘Fucking, that shit doesn't matter.’ There are so many people doing other things here, and then you start to go, ‘Wait, if I'm ever going to live above the fifth floor I need to do something else with my life.’ … In LA, fame is the currency, and so people are like, ‘How do I get seen? How do I get a billboard on Sunset?’ … You think you've made it if you have a billboard on Sunset, but what you don't realize is that the rest of the world still doesn't have any idea that your show exists. It's only you and your agent that drive past it every morning, you're like, ‘Look, we made it man.’ It's so fake.”
Jenny and Jason's sons Lazlo (left) and Sid (right), pictured on vacation last summer.
In New York, people aspire to wealth, Jenny explains, a culture she was exposed to on the lower-Manhattan mommy circuit, some of whom she ‘hate-follows’ on Instagram.
“They're like, ‘I had such a great day with the kids.’ The kids are nowhere in the photo, they're wearing couture, and they're sitting on a staircase in Tribeca with a fancy handbag on display beneath them and they're just like, ‘Love being a mom, love the kids.’ You know? ‘Spring Break is over, how terrible.’”
“I didn't understand money on this level until I moved to New York… I'll come home from a play date and be like, ‘I think I need more jewelry.’ It's so weird, the mind-fuck.”
Jenny is transparent with her followers about the kinds of injectables and other dermatological treatments she uses – but she admitted to Danielle that she’d made some mistakes with fillers in the past.
“In LA everything's so cheap that you just end up injecting yourself, you start at 30 and it's just like whatever happens happens… What happens is your face gets wider and wider and you end up looking like a chipmunk. My face was looking so fat and kind of chubby and I didn't know why.”
Jenny admits her obsession with home decor is a midlife crisis.
“A man's midlife crisis is that they buy a sports car, and a woman's midlife crisis is that she's like ‘I'm an interior decorator now, that's who I am.’ So that happened to me, I lived through it, but then I ended up in the Atlas mountains meeting the women that wove the rug, as one does.”