Conversation with Rashida Jones
from The Office is Quincy's daughter, Maroon 5's backup singer,
and the star of the racy new Farrelly brothers' show Unhitched
rode the same school bus as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian," recalls
Rashida Jones, dressed in post-Pilates sweats and scarfing a vegetarian
feast at a West Hollywood tearoom. But unlike her classmates, Jones, 32,
is known for more than partying, paparazzi, and porn. She plays piano
and a little guitar, graduated from Harvard with a degree in comparative
religion, and has sung on two of Maroon 5's hit albums. She also sits
on the board of Peace Games, a charity that teaches kids to resolve conflicts
non-violently. Not bad for a starlet, right? Considering her achievements,
we're willing to forgive her for having the sexiest parents in Hollywood.
Her dad is musician/philanthropist Quincy Jones and her mom is badass
Mod Squad star and pop culture icon Peggy Lipton. "Who's cooler than
her?" Jones wants to know.
after 11 years in the biz (remember her character Louisa on Boston
Public?), Jones has scored a central role in Unhitched as a
divorcée who dives back into the dating game with a gang of guy
friends in tow. "There was nothing better than being on the best
show on TV," she says of her Office gig, "but it's nice
to start something from scratch and try to make it good." We have
a hunch that "good" will be an understatement.
you've moved on from what is arguably TV's smartest show to Unhitcheda
raunchy Farrelly brothers series. Defend yourself, Miss Jones.
Should I go after more erudite material? [laughs] The script just made
me laugh really hard. Outrageous things happen to not-so-outrageous people.
It's somewhere between Seinfeld and Sex and the Citywell,
if those girls had hairier legs.
play the quintessential guy's girl. Are you one in real life?
I am. I love guys and the way they think; they're so straightforwardand
women can learn from that. Women tend to double-speakI'm
definitely guilty of that. It's nice just to say what's on your mind,
with no subtext, and not care about the consequences.
do that right now: What do you think of your old busmate Paris becoming
a role model for young girls?
I think about what it would be like to have a daughter right now, one
who is influenced by Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spearsand,
ugh, it's so depressing. Where are the other young Hollywood role models,
who are cool, smart, and out there doing something with their lives? Maybe
Miley Cyrus [aka Hannah Montana]? There's a definite responsibility that
comes with being famous. You shouldn't be able to just dress up and look
a Hollywood kid too. Where did you go right?
I credit my parents. They didn't just throw material things at us. We
weren't spoiled. [Her sister is model Kidada Jones, who was engaged to
Tupac Shakur before he was killed; her half-brother is hip-hop producer
Quincy Jones III; and she has four half-sisters: Jolie, Rachel, Martina,
and Kenya.] I have friends with similarly "godlike" parentsand
who these parents are to the public is not who they are to their family.
They're not as available to their kids because they're so available to
was it like growing up with Peggy and Quincy?
Everybody always says, "Tell me about all the famous people in your
home when you were a kid"and they were there, but there
were also session musicians and my mom's friends from her aerobics class.
My parents wanted cool people around who were fun and family-oriented;
it created a nice, safe environment. So I didn't have a hankering to go
out and rebel. It was the classic "My parents are crazy cool, and
I was a straight-up geek." I wanted to be a lawyer, a judge, president
instead, you became
That was never the plan! But I always wanted to pursue theater and my
black cultural identity. In my second year at college, I did the play
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,
and it was so healing. It was an incredible experience.
because the African-American crowd shunned you for "not being black
Yeah. I'm lucky because I have so many clashing cultural, racial things
going on: black, Jewish, Irish, Portuguese, Cherokee. I can float and
be part of any community I want. The thing is, I do identify with being
black, and if people don't identify me that way, that's their issue. I'm
happy to challenge people's understanding of what it looks like to be
biracial, because guess what? In the next 50 years, people will start
looking more and more like me.
of looks, are you a workout freak?
No, not a freak. I'll go through stages when I get really into something;
like, I'll start running six times a week. Right now I'm into Pilates
three times a week, which is great because it makes me feel strong. I
was a chubby kid and I carried the weight [in my midsection]. When I started
Pilates, my core felt so weak, I'd cry. But now I feel lean and toned.
sound great on Maroon 5's Kiwi, Tangled, and Secretand
showed up your dad on the album Tribute to 2Pac. Would you ever
consider pursuing a full-time music career?
I have a long way to go before I'd feel comfortable calling myself a musician.
My dad taught me that you lay down a foundation and work really hard.
I need to learn more. But I was built to be a student; to be a student
is the whole point of being here.
that and to be in the campy Foo Fighters video Long Road to Ruin,
in which you make out with front man Dave Grohl.
How hilarious was that? I was a video ho.
last subject: men. You're playing a divorced workaholic girl on Unhitched.
Are you one of those women who are happy alone?
Totally. I think women have been given an opportunity to exercise their
independence on almost every level. We can be single forever, or mothers,
or freeze our eggs, or be gay, or have a career or a family or both. I
feel like men don't think they have the same number of options. The next
step in evolution is to say, "Hey, dudes, you're great, we need you."
Men are necessary, and not just on a procreation level: The balance of
male/female energy is so essential.
what will men never understand about women?
That when we are emotional, anything that stands in our path will be destroyed.
It's like watching a volcano rip lava: Just stay away.