Masters of Sex star Lizzy Caplan is featured in the November 2016 issue of NYLON Magazine.
Lizzy Caplan wants to paint a dinosaur. Or perhaps she wants to recapture her childhood. The Los Angeles native has chosen to meet at Color Me Mine, a pottery-decorating studio in the Valley that she hasn’t visited since she was little. She holds up a large, clay Tyrannosaurus rex and asks the woman at the counter, “Has anybody done this before?” “Mostly kids,” she’s told. So that settles it.
In a tomato-red sleeveless shirt and denim overalls, the 34-year-old actress looks appropriately dressed for this particular activity. “I don’t think I’m going to do standard green, because that would be boring,” she says, filling her palette with different shades of blue, pink, and yellow.
I choose orange and green for my pumpkin. “So you’re going to stay within the lines, is that what you’re saying?” she asks.
Mockery sounds good-natured coming from her. Why is that? Can Lizzy Caplan do no wrong? Despite existing in an era that often builds celebrities up only to tear them down, and when the internet’s aegis of anonymity practically encourages insults and rancor, you won’t really find anyone saying a sideways thing about the Masters of Sex star.
“That’s aided by not being on social media,” says Caplan. (She eschews all platforms equally.) “And I haven’t reached the level of crazy fame.”
Even so, over the past decade, Caplan has accumulated the types of roles that have suspended her in a pop-cultural sweet spot—appealing characters that blur the distinction between Us and Them. She played a sarcastic caterer in the hilarious Starz series Party Down, a monster’s snarkiest victim in 2008’s Cloverfield, a commitment-averse artist in the affecting 2012 rom-com Save the Date, and a scalding singleton in Leslye Headland’s dark comedy Bachelorette (also 2012). And of course few millennials could forget Janis Ian, the outcast who vied to keep Lindsay Lohan weird in 2004’s now-classic Mean Girls.
There’s a rock on Caplan’s left hand, which I’m not going to acknowledge because talking about diamond cuts and carats doesn’t sound like something she would be interested in. But when I give the clerk my last name, she cheerfully offers, “I’m going to be a Riley, too.” This past May, Caplan got engaged to English actor Tom Riley. The couple now divide their time between London and Los Angeles, which sounds blissful aside from concerns relating to the transportation of Buns, their dog, and Brexit. (“This is the death throes of white men in power,” says Caplan, who is rooting hard for Hillary. “It’s so embarrassing.”)
In fact, Caplan refers to her fiancé several times throughout our chat, which is surprising only because she dated Friends star Matthew Perry for six years and hardly anybody knew about it until long after they’d split. “I don’t want people to know much about who I am,” she explains. “I want them to be able to believe I am who I’m pretending to be at work.”
Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime.
Photo Credit: Olivia Malone for NYLON Magazine