Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Actors are crazy’

NAME: Jennie Eisenhower

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: Philadelphia

ACHIEVEMENT: Northwestern University Communication alumna and bit actor in Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

BACKGROUND: Granddaughter of Richard Nixon and great-granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhower

In New York I felt like all I was was this musical theater girl. You know what I mean? I was this random girl who just wanted to be in musical theater, and I would put on my pretty little make-up and my little outfit, and go out every single day to auditions.

Even when I was working there on some of the more major projects, I didn’t feel as fulfilled. It wasn’t as much about me as it was about, “Can we make money off this production? Are we good enough? Are we perfect? Are we gonna get good reviews?”

(Mona Lisa Smile) was this major film I just walked into. I got a trailer. It was so awesome! They would come and bring me things; it was just so fancy. And I got to have my make-up done with Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julia Stiles all just sitting there next to me. It was like I was thrust into this world that was totally alien.

I would say my role in that film had almost nothing to do with acting, though. It really had to do with, “I look like a girl from the ’50s, and I have a round face – I have the right look.”

Julia Stiles was really shy: She’s very inward. She’s not cold. She’s just a little awkward, which made me happy to think, “You know, there are different kinds of personalities in this industry.”

The process of theater I enjoy more. Film pays better.

Oh god, L.A. is not my scene. It’s like night and day. I could never be in L.A. because I really never want to have fake boobs.

It is such an unusual thing to be related to two presidents who aren’t blood-related. It definitely is this odd curiosity, or at least a factoid. I used to have theaters specifically ask me, “Will you do a story on this?” I would say, “Okay.” And I decided a year ago that I won’t do a story that’s just about that.

I think in some ways, it’s detrimental to my career because the industry is so liberal and they’re Republican presidents.

Having witnessed fame first-hand, seeing my grandfather (Nixon) deal with it – and he dealt with it so graciously – I could care less whether I’m famous or not.

He was a typical grandfather. We’d go visit, and he would always give us money to go get a toy at the mall. We would go on walks every night. He had this dog named Brownie, who was this mutt who came to their door one day.

(The show I’m in now is) Songs for a New World, which is totally this musical theater cult classic. It’s a four-person, rock/pop musical revue.

I had a lot of friends who were in journalism when I was in school. Those were the people I hung out with more than actors. Because, you know, actors are crazy.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Actors are crazy’