Jayma Mays The Glee actress, 34, on British TV, chicken tikka masala and leaving the hit series

By Guy Pewsey

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The Glee actress, 34, on British TV, chicken tikka masala and leaving the hit series

Actress Jayma Mays

You’re currently filming The Millers, Comedy Central’s new sitcom created by the man behind Family Guy and My Name is Earl. How is it going?

It’s my first time filming in front of a live studio audience, aside from some guest appearances. It’s scary and challenging, and I get butterflies every night, but I’m loving it. Getting an immediate reaction from the audience if it’s working – or, worse, not working – is great. But completely terrifying.

Do you identify with your character (Jayma plays Debbie whose father moves in with her and her husband after his divorce from her mother)?

One way in which I definitely feel like her is that when my parents are around me now, I turn back into the child I was 30 years ago. That has never left me – I become a complete monster. I’m annoying and sarcastic with them. And then when they go home it goes away.

And it was worth leaving Glee for? You’ve played teacher Emma Pillsbury for a long time…

But even after five years I still get starstruck working with Jane Lynch. Leaving [at the end of the current series] wasn’t my decision and I’ll be very sad to say goodbye, but Glee thrives on new blood. The writers are very talented and if they think that it’s time for Emma to go, then I trust they are right.

Did you catch the acting bug young?

I loved Cheers and was obsessed with Goldie Hawn but never actually thought it could possibly happen to me. I grew up in a small town [Bristol, Tennessee] and there were no arts programmes or classes at school. So I was originally going to go to medical school. Looking back, that seems like a horrible idea: who’d want me as their doctor? When I changed my degree to acting I almost gave my parents heart attacks.

You’re married to British actor Adam Campbell (the pair met on the set of the 2007 spoof film Epic Movie, and married the same year). How is it living with a Brit?

Honestly, there always has to be a jar of Marmite in the cupboard. And a bag of Fruit Gums. That’s living with a British man for me. But I still feel giddy talking about him. He’s the funniest person I know, and he’s incredibly sexy, which always helps.

Has he made you an honorary Brit?

I’m not sucking up to the UK at all but I’d love to be in the Lake District right now, a trusty sheep dog at my side: it’s the most beautiful place in the world. And we’re obsessed with a lot of the British suspense dramas. I’m watching Broadchurch at the moment, I love Luther, and before that it was all about The Fall for me.

Who would be your dream dinner date?

I have a weird crush on Meryl Streep. But the problem with having dinner with her would be that I’d be so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to speak. And for our meal – this comes from being married to a Brit – we’d have a really creamy chicken tikka masala.

The Millers is on Comedy Central, Mondays at 9.30pm

The comments below have not been moderated.

Way to bust out the stereotypes there love. Does he dress you up in a tweed suit and make you say 'Golly Gosh' a lot too?

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I love Jayma, definitely one of my favourite actresses. Its really sad that the Glee writers have chosen to get rid of Emma, but in a way, I'm glad because she's super talented but wasted on the show. Her scenes were always cut and her character was mostly ignored. I'm happy for her that she can now be a part of a show where she is appreciated!

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