Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life star Lauren Graham is featured in the January 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping.
It’s not exactly glamorous to be an up-and-coming actress. Just ask Lauren Graham, who responds by breaking into a version of the 1994 Cascade ad she was in six years before she starred as Lorelai Gilmore. “My husband — he loves doing the dishes,” she laughs. “He always scrapes the plates, and he never, ever overloads.” In fact, Lauren, 49, who also played another single mom, Sarah Braverman, on Parenthood, is as down-to-earth as they come, as her hilarious new memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can, makes abundantly clear. These days, you can find Lauren (who really does talk fast!) in an office near her home, working on a second novel (the first came out in 2014) and producing a screenplay. While cracking jokes between sips of iced coffee, she opens up about her journey until now — because it’s obvious that Ms. Graham is just getting started.
Lauren’s childhood was all over the map — literally. She was born in Hawaii, then lived in Japan, where her mother (the daughter of missionaries) had grown up. When her parents divorced, she moved frequently with her dad, at one point living on a houseboat in the Virgin Islands, before landing in New York and eventually Virginia. “My mom was a completely unconventional person for her time,” says Lauren.
The only thing you have to be is good to the people you care about. Lauren knows comedy — and she’s fine with that. She loves having played two similarly unconventional single moms of teens in Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. “There are things that I’m good at and there are things that are just not for me,” she shrugs. That’s not to say she wouldn’t be open to something new, but Lauren feels no pressure to prove herself. “I’m not gonna play a cop, I’m not gonna play a doctor … and that’s okay,” she says. “I’d rather be in [roles] that are really verbal and smart and funny. As Diane Keaton said to me, ‘Funny doesn’t age.'”
Parenthood paired Lauren with Peter Krause, 51, who played her brother on the show. But since Lauren tended to avoid handsome-actor types as a rule (so charming, so much attention from other women!), they kept things in the friend zone. Still, “We couldn’t stop talking,” she says. “Not about ourselves, but about the world and books and family.” Eventually, their friendship evolved. “Once we got together, there was no game play,” she says. “It was like, You like me, and I like you. It gave me an understanding of life: This is how things happen, and it’s completely random.”
“It’s not a big, loud life,” she says of her relationship with Peter now. “We have a lot of neighbors, people come by, we’re with Peter’s son a lot and we keep it small.” They enjoy outdoorsy activities like skiing, cycling and snowshoeing, but at home, life is simple: They grill, play the parlor game Rummikub and watch baseball. And when she has a day off, she’ll likely pick up a book or straighten up. “This is deeply dorky,” she admits, “but I really like to organize … I’ve taken the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and really gone too far!” Lauren has learned that it’s the less grand gestures that bring her joy. Peter puts gas in the car, unloads the dishwasher — and makes her laugh. “I didn’t imagine that our little simple routines and jokes over them would be so fulfilling,” she says.
Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life is now streaming on Netflix.
Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith for Good Housekeeping