By Luaine Lee McClatchy-Tribune News Service
PASADENA, Calif. — You’d never know it by seeing actress Joelle Carter play Ava Crowder, the steel magnolia on FX’s “Justified,” that she was born a shrinking violet.
“I was almost tragically shy, like clinically, I should’ve been admitted somewhere. I think my parents knew but maybe they didn’t think much about it. It’s hard walking the Earth shy. You miss out on a lot,” she said.
“When you are shy you live a lot in your own head. You live in fantasy a lot and I think that helped with the acting.”
Her timidity didn’t prevent her from hauling off to New York at 19 to become a model.
Though she felt intimidated, she persisted. “The first entry into modeling doesn’t build your confidence,” she said. “They pull out the tape measure and pick you apart.
“I’m a curvy woman, so I was definitely told I was ‘too curvy.’ They constantly wanted to buy me a boob job. There were agencies all over the world that were, like, ‘We’ll buy you a boob job,’ because I could get, I guess, more lingerie and bathing suit jobs like that. At the time — for my parents — that would’ve been a knife in the heart. So it wasn’t an option.”
Modeling led to a fascination with acting and a move to Los Angeles, where she was cast in NBC’s series, “Inconceivable.” She also landed parts in “American Pie 2,” “Wonderland” and “Third Watch.”
“My husband and I had an apartment near the Cloisters in New York and they allowed us to sublease, so we were out here. Even when the show didn’t go we thought we’d hang out. He fell in love with it, and we did not go back. It took me longer.”
Nearly four years ago, Carter, 41, and her husband of nine years, editor Andy Bates, executed the biggest leap of their lives. They adopted a little girl from birth. ‘We started the process and I’d just got ‘Justified,’” she said.
“Justified” airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX.