A proponent of polka dots, fake eyelashes, and crooning with a ukelele on YouTube, it’s no surprise that Zooey Deschanel quickly became the media’s favorite person to hate. When her critics wrote her off as an indie sex symbol and paragon of cutesy hipsterism, we went along with them without objection. We readily hated her in (500) Days of Summer, for her proximity to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but most of all for her wishy-washy character, Summer. And we tired of seeing Deschanel in sweet-singing girlfriend roles opposite funny men like Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell. And when she did take the lead in the zippy sitcom New Girl, it seemed (at first) that she was just extending the same ditzy doll character we’re so used to seeing her play. Since reading Amanda Hess’ Slate article in defense of the actress, however, we’re beginning to think we’ve been unfair to Zooey. Here, we look back at some of her most redeeming moments.
Zooey loves making a fool out of herself
Last year’s Emmy Awards saw Deschanel play off her critics and poke a little fun at herself in Jimmy Kimmel’s absurd opener, feigning her “I can’t believe I won” face, along with Mindy Kaling, Christina Hendricks, Lena Dunham, and Kathy Bates. And though she didn’t win anything, we wish she had, just so we could see her pull that face again.
Zooey loves a kickass cameo
Remember this episode of Frasier, back in 2002, when Deschanel plays Roz’s badass cousin, Jen? A little broken acting aside (which we’ll put down to her youth), she’s got some fantastic lines in the episode, like, “That’s why I’m going to Vietnam: Americans have never even heard of it.” Now that we remember she’s capable of it, we wish we’d see more of the actress’ snarkier side.
Zooey loves Christmas
From her tweets before Christmas to the She & Him holiday album to her role in Elf to the festive specials of New Girl, when Deschanel does Christmas, she does it hard.
Zooey loves moms
Yes, there’s a MOMS section on HelloGiggles (the blog of all things cute that Deschanel co-founded). And why shouldn’t we celebrate the women that had to carry our asses around for nine months, and then give birth to us? Also, Deschanel’s mother, Mary Jo Deschanel, played Eileen Hayward in Twin Peaks, and is therefore automatically the coolest. (Love you, mum.)
Zooey loves The Simpsons
Deschanel has a penchant, and the eyes, for playing cartoonish characters, so her propensity for animation is unsurprising. Fans of The Simpsons will remember Deschanel’s guest appearance as the country bumpkin, Bart-serenading Mary Spuckler.
Zooey loves a healthy body image
Deschanel’s proven to be a positive role model. Photographed for People magazine without makeup, and sans fake lashes, she embraced her natural beauty, and in her recent Glamour interview, encouraged others to do the same. “There are a lot of actresses who are unhealthy-skinny — much, much too skinny,” she said. “You do not need to look or be anorexic to be successful in Hollywood.”
Zooey’s an outspoken feminist
With the likes of Katy Perry publicly disavowing the feminist title, it was Deschanel’s statement in her interview with Glamour that really gave us a reason to like Zooey Deschanel again. Deschanel told Glamour: “There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f–king feminist and wear a f–king Peter Pan collar. So f–king what?” Amen, sister.