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Welcome to “I Want Your Job,” Elite Daily’s new series that inspires females to go after their professional and personal dreams. We’ve teamed up with the most inspiring Millennial women who’ve made a name for themselves doing everything from tech design to owning a restaurant to bring you a taste of what being a Boss Lady in every industry really looks like.

These women never gave up on their dreams, never let a man tell them “no” and aren’t backing down for anybody. If you want her job, here’s how to get it.


From user to employee… to CEO.

If it sounds like a Cinderella story, that’s because it is. But there isn’t a shriveling pumpkin, glass slipper or any ambiguous ideas about what your shoe size says about your ability to become a princess. Instead, there is Polyvore, a force to be reckoned with in the fashion community, and Jess Lee, fearless and fabulous at the helm of the Internet sensation.

Launched as the all-new way to discover, shop for and save your favorite pieces in fashion, beauty and home décor, Polyvore made a name for itself in the industry in ways that Pinterest cannot. Polyvore puts the power in its users hands, letting each individual decide on what works together, what doesn’t and what the latest and greatest trend will be.

It simplifies the shopping process – no longer are you scouring site after site for options that flow well together because on Polyvore, you just find what you like and shop similar styles. And while the site is for the user, by the user, it makes sure to include retailers in the mix, too.

Despite its standing ovation-worthy success story so far, it’s business as usual at their Mountain View offices. On the cusp of Silicon Valley, where the start-up heart beats steadily and fluidly, Jess Lee is the picture of poise. She is everything modern media uses to describe a Lady Boss: direct, likable, motivational, encouraging, creative and talented.

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When we first catch up with her, we’re in between breezes in this sunny California hideaway. Mountain View is a short train ride away from downtown San Francisco, a cozy little outpost of culture and creativity.

Jess exemplifies Cali chic, but there’s a hint of New York folded neatly into the mix. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s decked in black from head-to-toe that makes us native New Yorkers feel so peaceful in her presence?

But Jess Lee is nothing like her dark garments would suggest. (She likens her morning routine to the science of simplicity, a move that President Obama and Steve Jobs also prescribed to.) Though her place on the food chain reveals otherwise, Jess is just like everyone else on her team: determined to make Polyvore the best product for its users.

She isn’t “the boss,” “the CEO,” “the Polyvore superuser” — she’s just an employee deeply committed to her product and her people.

Community is at the heart of everything Polyvore and Jess do. It informs what products they create next, how they approach problems and how they envision the future of their brand. “I was a user before I was an employee; I care about our community.” Jess says.

And community is as much about its users as it is its employees. “Every day is punctuated by lunch. And everyone gets together for lunch. I usually always find a group of people that I don’t know that well and sit with them.

We also have orientation every week for new hires and existing employees. I want them to hear from me every week.

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“[We] run Polyvore like a start-up school,” Jess tells us. “When I joined, I was one of the company’s first employees, so I had the freedom to do a lot of different things. There was so much possibility. And I learned so much along the way that I want that same opportunity for everyone who’s joined.”

It’s awesome to see Jess approach business from such a realist perspective. “I think being here in Silicon Valley, and in tech, you’re just surrounded by so many smart people and you have the opportunity to learn so much from them.

“I’ve met so many awesome people; I’ve worked with people who came in, learned really fast, and went on to found their own companies.” It’s this ability to take a little something from everyone that has helped Jess shape, reshape and redefine the role of CEO at her own pace. “The CEO role is constantly changing, so every day is a new challenge and something I’ve never done before.”

Being a female CEO has changed a lot over the course of her tenure at the site, Jess says. It’s hard to imagine, but “companies that targeted female users weren’t always taken seriously, and now they are.” It’s a relief for Jess – and for Polyvore – to see its female base growing, expanding and taking command of the industry.

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But Jess didn’t set out at the start of her career with the intention of taking over the home, fashion and beauty space. “I wanted to be a comic book artist, and I wanted to go to art school, but my parents wouldn’t pay. They told me it would be really hard to make it in the art world. In hindsight, though, I don’t regret it. [I went on to study] computer science and I came [to Polyvore] from Google.”

For her, the idea of combining tech and computer science together to make art was something that aligned with her the root of her original goal. Polyvore blends together “fashion, tech, style and art into a job that centers around a product that I use every day.” How’s that for coming full circle?

“I would tell anyone out there who is thinking about the future to blend their passions with a job and an industry you love.” She’s right. Doing what you love day-in and day-out might not make the whole world spin, but it will make yours.

And the whole ride has been an incredible adventure; one that’s responsible for where she is today. “I’ve been really lucky,” she says, adding that working at Google and at Polyvore has taught her an invaluable lesson about life at the office: You need to reward people on the merits of their work.

At Polyvore, she says, it’s easy to do that because the people here are authentic. They are completely, totally and unequivocally themselves. It’s a mantra that’s found its way up the food chain, too.

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“I’ve never felt any pressure to be anyone other than myself. Actually I’m not even sure I could do that,” she says with a smile. After an hour together, we’ll second that. When someone like Jess comes along – so pure, so invested, so passionate – why would you ever want to mess with that? You wouldn’t.

She is, however, the first to admit that this role didn’t exactly come easily to her. “I’m naturally an introvert,” she says, “and I hate public speaking. It doesn’t come naturally to me, so getting better at that has been a challenge. It’s definitely a muscle you develop and then you get better and better at it.

“The classic mold of leadership is to be an extrovert. So I’ve had to define my own style and find role models that I could identify with. It was a huge challenge.” Day after day, though, she does it. She makes it happens. She excites, inspires and plans for the future.

She plays that up to an ability to focus, one of the biggest lessons she’s learned so far. “Only a few things really matter, and you have to be really exceptional at them. You have to be able to say ‘no’ to those other things.”

Laying it out before us, it all seems so neat and orderly, but Jess reminds us that it hasn’t always been such a crystal-clear picture. On the road to success, she’s sacrificed the “stability and comfort” of a 9-to-5 career.

There was never a moment, in the early days, where Jess was totally sure everything would work out as beautifully as it has. That, she says, has been the icing on the cake.

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Though her road is rippled with zigzags and U-turns, Jess has a few thoughts for girls who want to grow up and wear her shoes one day. She reverts back to advice she got from Marissa Mayer at Google: “Seek out things that are challenging and hard because that’s how you grow and learn. When you’re young and ‘not sure that you can do that,’ you forget that there’s a lot you can gain just from trying.”

Because hindsight is always 20/20, Jess muses that if she could go back, she’d do a few things differently. “Earlier in my career, I would have fought harder for some of the things that I believed in.

“I was shy, quiet and not confident in my ideas. I knew there were things that weren’t best for users, but I didn’t speak up. Now, I speak up.” Was it because she was a woman? Was it because she wasn’t a feminist? No… and no. “My question is: Who isn’t a feminist? Most people I know are.”

It’s this work ethic – this ability to stop, disseminate, reassess and try again – that makes Jess such a prize to her team and the Polyvore community. Their chic offices even feature two “Love Letter” boards. They’re filled with handwritten notes of thanks that detail the impact Polyvore has had on their lives.

One user even submitted a copy of her college admissions essay. “To hear users talk about how Polyvore inspired them to go study fashion, or computer science, or to hear employees say that Polyvore is one of the best places they’ve ever worked,” is one of the most rewarding parts of her role.

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Before we part, we ask Jess a few of the tough questions: Does she want it all? What the hell even is it “all”? How do you do it? 

Much like we’ve come to realize, Jess takes it all in stride – and never breaks a sweat. We’re dying to know her secret to success, and much to her credit, it sounds so attainable. So honest. So real. So Jess. “I think a lot of the reason I became CEO is because I volunteered to do the hard work, the annoying work, because it was important. So go seek out the challenges; take the more challenging path – that’s the best way to grow your career.”

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As for having it all, Jess says, “I always thought that was a weird question because no one – man or woman – can have it all; you have a finite amount of time in your life and you have to choose how to spend it.” That said, though, “It’s all about the people: your family, your friends, the people you work with, the users – making those people happy and having meaningful relationships with every single one of them.”

And it’s also about the value of the word “no.”

“You have to learn how to say ‘no,’” Jess adds. “You have to learn how to be disciplined. You don’t have to cut into your personal life, your family and your play. You can say no.”

Brb, we’re gonna go practice.


More jobs you’ll want to steal:

Susan Feldman, Founder of One Kings Lane

Kathryn Minshew and Alexandra Cavoulacos, Cofounders of The Muse

Lila Delilah, Founder of Madison Avenue Spy

Amy Chasan, Founder and Owner of Sweet Generation

Kellee Khalil, Founder and CEO of Loverly

Amy Odell, Editor of Cosmopolitan.com

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/women/jess-lee-ceo-polyvore-want-her-job/855980/

As Season 10 of It’s Always Sunny gears up, Olson looks ahead to what a life after Sweet Dee would be like. Sometimes I’m like, Oh well, they just wanted a young pretty person, rather than a funny person.”

Kaitlin Olson is hating having her picture taken right now. The 39-year-old star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia doesn’t say this out loud, but it’s not hard to tell that she is deeply, deeply uncomfortable — though she’s nowhere near as awkward in her own skin as her character Sweet Dee, a caustic and narcissistic would-be thespian, on the FX (and now FXX) cult comedy. “Could you play a bit with the tree?” the photographer gently asks her.

It’s an unusually warm Friday afternoon, and Olson is standing in the backyard of her contemporary Sherman Oaks home. The lawn is sprawling, with a trampoline on one end and a pool at the other; toy cars and pint-sized seats, the cast-offs of her two young children, litter one corner. A stylist fixes Olson’s hair as she begrudgingly twists her fingers through the tree’s branches. “Just hanging out, touching my tree,” Olson says out loud, to no one in particular. “You like photo shoots? It’s pretty great, standing by yourself, taking photos.”

For a seasoned actor like Olson — who’s been working consistently for the past 15 years in comedy roles, turning up on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Becky, Cheryl’s loud and opinionated sister; as Mimi’s vengeful nemesis, Traylor, on The Drew Carey Show; and currently on New Girl as the free-spirited girlfriend of Jess’ dad — it’s surprising that she’s not used to the being the center of attention by now. But she’s decidedly not.

The truth is, though, that Olson feeling anxious about this interview and photo shoot is entirely understandable. She’s heading into a 10th season of Sunny, and while that’s a place any actor would envy being in, she’s also arriving at a crossroads in her career. As Sunny begins to wind down, Olson will soon be leaving a show on which she’s been a linchpin for 10 years, and will have to look around the corner to see what lies ahead for her career.

“Could you maybe relax your shoulders a bit more?” the photographer asks her, trying a different tack. “I don’t know,” Olson says, laughing at the word relaxed, “because I’m definitely not.”

Photograph by Macey Foronda for BuzzFeed

The biggest role in Olson’s career to date remains the 10 years she’s spent on Sunny as Deandra “Sweet Dee” Reynolds, a horrifying example of a human whose self-centered streak is often a driving force in the storyline. Such as in the Season 8 episode “The Gang Gets Analyzed,” when Dee’s therapist calls her out for lying about being the first choice as the female lead in The Notebook, and the episode ends with Dee repeating, “Tell me I’m good,” until her therapist finally relents. Or in a third season installment, “Dennis and Dee’s Mom Is Dead,” when Dee hears from a lawyer that she won’t be getting any inheritance, because she was “a mistake” (despite being Dennis’ twin), and her knee-jerk reaction is to dig up the grave so she can steal the jewelry off her mother’s dead body. But rather than be repulsed by her character’s more detestable nature, Olson has been able to connect with Dee.

“I can’t tell if I relate to her anymore or if I’m just so used to playing her and love her so much that it’s second nature,” Olson says. With the photographer and stylists gone, Olson finally seems more at ease, sitting at a long wooden outdoor table in her backyard and tucking her legs into her chest. “There’s a certain element of desperation and wanting people to like you… I was really shy. But I think because that was so sad for me when I was little, that it’s so hilarious and sad now, that I relate to that. I like this character’s way of handling it, way more than how I handled it. Which is, like, aggressively and angrily. Maybe it’s cathartic. I don’t know.”

“I was really proud to make Larry [David] laugh. The more I would yell at him the more he would laugh.”

And Olson not only relates to the idea of needing to fit in, but it’s something that’s apparent just from talking to Olson. Often she’ll end sentences with “I don’t know,” like she’s trying to take back what she just said in case you don’t like it. Several times, she stops herself from answering a question with “I don’t know if I can answer that question. I don’t want you to print anything I have to say,” or “I don’t know how to answer that, again, without having it in print sound like I’m being a real arrogant asshole.” Refusing to answer tough questions about Hollywood and her role in it proves doubly problematic though, and she softens the blow by pointing at the recorder and saying, “I’ll tell you when your thing’s off.”

That need to be liked started long before Olson made it to Hollywood, and it’s what initially led her to start performing. Olson grew up in perhaps the most un-Hollywood setting — on a six-acre farm in Oregon. Olson says her mom would whistle when it was time for dinner, and if you wanted a snack, you just ate out of the garden.

“Nobody was an actor,” Olson says of her family. “I started doing summer camp stuff in elementary school and loved doing the plays. I liked making people laugh. I remember that specifically, being really young and having my parents being in the audience and laughing. It wasn’t really a Oh, I’m the center of attention feeling, it was more Oh, I’m making them so happy right now feeling. I liked that.”

Olson — with Julie Payne, Cheryl Hines, and Paul Dooley — rails at Larry (Larry David) on Curb Your Enthusiasm HBO

That sense of accomplishment — of making someone happy — is what drove her to attend the University of Oregon and major in acting, and it’s what would eventually take her to Los Angeles to fully commit to her vocation. “I thought it was beautiful. It was so sunny. It’s so cloudy and gray and rainy in Oregon,” Olson says of moving to Los Angeles. “I didn’t understand how anyone could ever be sad or depressed here. It was so beautiful.”

She took classes at The Groundlings and eventually made it into the Sunday company. To support herself, Olson worked three jobs: as a recruiter for a biotech company; as a receptionist in a hair salon; and as a salesperson at a boutique shop. “I worked hard,” Olson says. That determination paid off when she landed an audition for Larry David’s HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm. “I’m not the ballsiest person, so I was very proud of myself for getting it,” Olson says. “I was really proud to make Larry laugh. The more I would yell at him the more he would laugh. Which was really fantastic. I loved that.”

Patrick McElhenney/©FXX / courtesy Everett Collection

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia originally started as a “writing exercise,” according to Rob McElhenney, who made a $200 homemade video pilot with Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton in an apartment. That pilot then sold to FX in 2005, and was given a budget of $400,000, less than a third of the cost of a traditional network comedy. It was shot with the caveat that they’d need to reframe the original storyline from being centered on three actors in Los Angeles to a group of friends who tend bar in Philly.

According to Howerton, one of the show’s executive producers, who also plays Sweet Dee’s twin brother, Dennis Reynolds, on the show, Olson came up against some stiff competition for the role of the hilariously vulnerable Dee; the final two actors considered were Olson and Kristen Wiig, according to Howerton, but in the end Olson landed it. (Wiig’s publicist did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

“I knew her work from seeing her in Curb,” Howerton tells BuzzFeed News. “We wanted to find somebody who could be as funny as the guys, and we felt a lot of times in comedies, girls are so often relegated to the ‘oh, you guys’ role.”

Day, who fans know best as the ever-screaming and always emotionally unstable Charlie Kelly, echoes the sentiment that casting Olson was a no-brainer.

“We were blown away by how funny she was,” says Day. “I can’t think of an overall impression other than our general excitement that we found someone who was really right for this part.”

Oddly enough, it was McElhenney — to whom Olson is now married — who was less than convinced about her. During the audition, Olson accidentally left out a critical line in the script they’d given her, and McElhenney was nonplussed, to say the least.

Howerton and Olson in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX

“I left the room and Rob was like, How did she leave out the funniest line that was in there? and he didn’t want to cast me,” Olson says. “Rob, who I’ve now married, had to be talked into hiring me.”

The first time Olson and McElhenney met was during her audition, and despite any apprehension he had, she was cast as Dee, and the show premiered in 2005. Somewhere during filming Season 2, the pair started dating, though they wouldn’t officially come out as a couple until the show’s third season.

“Literally, the stupidest thing you can do in the entertainment industry is start dating your co-star on a television series that’s expected to continue,” McElhenney says in a phone interview. “Potentially, we could’ve ruined the dynamic of the TV series, but we jumped in anyway. I guess because I started to fall in love with her.” His voice softens as he says it.

They married in 2008 and have two sons, Axel (age four) and Leo (age two).

Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who plays The Waitress on Sunny and is married to Charlie Day in real life, first met Olson when they were on a flight to shoot the pilot. “The guys flew to Philly early, and I flew on a flight with Kaitlin,” Ellis explains. “We had a lot of cocktails together and were like, OK, you’re great, we’re going to be best friends.”

Ellis vividly remembers the moment when she found out Olson and McElhenney were dating. It was during a press junket, and they all sat down in a hotel room. “They were like, ‘We have something to tell you guys,’ and Kaitlin just starts crying and says, ‘I love him. I love him so much, you guys. He’s such a great person. We don’t want you guys to be mad at us because we’re dating and on the show,’” Ellis says, laughing. “It just made us laugh so hard, because it was such a funny way to reveal that they were dating for the first time. They’re just so great together.”

Patrick McElhenney/FX

None of this would have happened if Olson had chosen not to take the role of Sweet Dee, which she considered in those early days.

The character was written as the typical straight man, which Olson had no interest in playing. “There were three episodes that were already written that I had to do that were just very like, ‘You guys. Come on, you guys. That’s stupid, you guys,’” Olson says. “But I was very clear about not wanting to do that.” (“I don’t think we did a great job writing her character the first season,” Howerton says.)

It speaks to Olson’s character that she wasn’t willing to just simply lay down and read the lines she was dealt; she took an active role in shaping the character and how she wanted to play Dee. “She pulled Rob aside, because he was the showrunner, and said she didn’t want to do the show if her character wasn’t funny,” Howerton says.

Olson only took the role after many conversations with McElhenney about how the character of Dee would be shaped. “He was like, ‘Look, we just don’t know how to write for a woman, but we’ll figure it out,’” Olson says. “And I was like, ‘Well then, don’t write for a woman. Just write — look at all these great funny characters you wrote. Just write one of those. I’ll make it female.’”

Despite initial character setbacks, the Dee of the past nine seasons is hilarious, and the most physically comedic role on the show. (Witness her free-form dance moves.) Dee’s actions don’t fall victim to the conventions usually dealt to women in comedy. Dee was Bridesmaids before there even was a Bridesmaids. She is crude beyond belief at times. She flails her arms and spits venomous, half-baked threats at anyone within earshot. She falls — a lot — and fake-vomits so convincingly that it’s become a running gag on the show. “I’ve never heard somebody do a gag so funny,” Howerton says. “You know, suppressing puke, it’s just a weird gift she has.”

Olson runs head-first into a parked car on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX

In the second season episode “Charlie Gets Crippled,” Olson wears a back brace and hobbles on crutches as she drags her legs behind her. In “Who Pooped The Bed?” she runs out of a shoe store in stilettos and slams headfirst into a car so hard that there’s a dent, a stunt Olson performed without a stunt double.

“We had a stuntwoman do it, and it didn’t look very real, and then Kaitlin did it, and actually ran into the car, probably almost breaking her neck,” Day says with a laugh. “It’s just one of the funniest moments of physical comedy I think in the history of the show.”

Olson furrows her brows as she stares across the lawn. “I don’t want the stunt double to do it, unless it’s like a quick thing, because that’s part of the acting. I want to do that,” she says. “There’s a lot of acting that happens in between the running out and the head-hitting.”

The only problem is that Olson is extremely clumsy. “If there is a tack on the floor, she will step on it,” Howerton says. During the filming of Sunny, Olson has broken her back, her foot, her heel, and while on set, she fell through a floorboard and ripped her calf open on a metal spike.

“Our idea of Dee was not as physical as Kaitlin is,” McElhenney says. “It’s something we sort of found with the way she carries herself.”

Olson sighs. “I’m very long,” she says. “I’m very unaware of how long my limbs are and I bash into things a lot, and Rob makes fun of me a lot… I’ll do something and Rob will tell me to do it again and I didn’t even know it was funny.”

Photograph by Macey Foronda for BuzzFeed

Olson is, as Howerton says, nothing like her Sweet Dee character, though fans of the show often have a hard time accepting that. “They assume I’m drunk and loud and that I want to do shots and stay up all night,” she says, laughing.

The home that Olson shares with McElhenney is immaculate, despite the fact that they have two children under the age of four. When her youngest, Leo, comes home from school, her entire face lights up and she wraps him in a warm hug before excusing herself to put him down for a nap. And an ideal Friday evening is one spent at home, according to both Olson and McElhenney. “A perfect night is coming home, having dinner, putting the kids to bed, and opening a bottle of wine and watching Game of Thrones,” McElhenney says.

Olson is often described by those who know her as nurturing and protective — “I think of her as a lioness,” McElhenney says. “She’s extremely protective of her children, like I fear oftentimes for my life if I cross a line. I’m afraid she’s going to snap my fucking neck. The way a female lion might with her cubs.” — very un-Dee qualities. She was “raised by hippies” in Oregon (McElhenney’s words) and cooks organic food, grows herbs in her garden, and uses homeopathic remedies.

“My motherhood life is sort of private … it’s so special to me I don’t want it attacked or to have that part be annoying to people.”

“She’ll pick something from the garden to heal a wound and it will magically disappear,” her friend and fellow actor Tricia O’Kelley (of Gilmore Girls and Devious Maids) says. Day: “In the 10 years that we’ve been doing [the show], I don’t think I’ve ever seen her get a cold. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Her weakness is watching any of the Real Housewives shows, and she says that if she ever does get time to relax, she’ll check into a hotel nearby to “literally just order room service with a girlfriend and get massages and drink wine and watch Bravo.”

And because her private life is so starkly different from her television persona, she tends to keep it under wraps. “I feel like people only want to hear me say funny things. Like, I don’t tweet about my kids or being a mom ever, because I’m very aware that that’s annoying for people to hear,” Olson says. “So everything is true, but I just feel like my motherhood life is sort of private, because it’s so special to me I don’t want it attacked or to have that part be annoying to people.”

And everyone around Olson mentions how her role as a mother is an enormous part of her identity. “Motherhood has changed her a lot for sure, it’s by far her number one priority is those children,” O’Kelley says. “Everything else comes in a distant second. Her family as a whole — Rob, their marriage — her family is her priority.”

When asked what he sees as being next for Olson, her husband agrees that while her career is a priority, family will always come first for them. “She would love to build out a movie career and see what’s next in television,” McElhenney says. “But I do know the thing that’s most important to her now is to make sure these boys are raised well.”

Olson concurs. “Parenthood has become number one,” she says. “So I’ll only take something if it fits in, and if it doesn’t interfere with my ability to be a good mom. And that’s the truth and that’s how it will always be, because I feel that.”

Photograph by Macey Foronda for BuzzFeed

Motherhood might be Olson’s priority at this point, but acting is a very real and large part of her world. “I would love to do more film,” she says at one point. “I really like TV, but yeah, in the interests of doing something different I would love to do more films.” She pulls at her silk shirt. “I’m not having any more babies. I want to work.”

In a year when Time named 2014 the “Best Year for Women Since the Dawn of Time,” it’s still a year where female-led comedy shows like Selfie, Super Fun Night, and Trophy Wife were canceled. And a year in which the most anticipated female-driven comedies — Tammy, Obvious Child, and They Came Together — made a very small dent in the film landscape. Obvious Child grossed just $3.1 million at the box office, and They Came Together grossed under $1 million. While Tammy was a financial success, making close to $100 million at the box office, if you compare that to male-driven buddy comedies like 22 Jump Street (which grossed close to $200 million), there seems to be a disconnect between what Hollywood is offering and what Americans are seeing.

“Look, I’m never going to understand what Middle America wants, because I’m on a show that Middle America doesn’t necessarily like, but I think is really funny,” Olson says, wrapping her arms across her chest. “I think there’s definitely a shift, and no one’s funnier than Melissa McCarthy and she’s doing really well, you know, so hopefully.”

Sasha Roiz and Olson on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX

Whether or not middle America likes Sunny or Olson, there does seem to be a shift happening. Ellen DeGeneres hosting the 2014 Oscars led to an 8% increase in viewership, and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have hosted the Golden Globes for the past three years, but is that enough? “For sure, there’s not enough funny roles for women in Hollywood, period,” Howerton says. “I’m happy to say that we personally — in Sunny and other things that we’re working on and have written — always try to make it a priority to write funny female roles.”

Even if what Olson and Howerton say is true — that Middle America doesn’t like the kind of comedy Olson wants to do, and there aren’t enough comedic roles for women in general — what does that mean for Olson as she leaves Sunny to explore other roles? Where do you go when the film and television landscape isn’t in your favor?

Olson doesn’t seem entirely sure, other than that she’d like to try out a character who isn’t quite so heightened and extreme as Dee. “I don’t know that I want to do something super dramatic. Our show and our characters are so heightened; I would like to do a more realistic person, who’s going through something really hard, but deals with it in a humorous way,” she says. But at the moment, those aren’t the parts she’s being offered.

“What I get a lot of is ‘We know you can make this funny.’ Stuff that’s like, it’s OK, but then I’m supposed to make it funny,” Olson says. “It’s a great compliment… But I don’t know if I’m interested in taking something that’s OK and being the one that’s responsible for making it funny.”

“I think a lot of men are scared to act opposite a woman who is as funny as they are.”

When asked why she thinks she hasn’t been offered more roles at this point, Olson says, “Sometimes I’m like, oh well, they just wanted a young pretty person, rather than a funny person. That’s discouraging, because there’s nothing I can do about that.” Olson pauses, and then softens the blow with, “I love my job. I got really lucky. I love my character and this circumstance, but it is a little confusing why, in my off time, I’m not doing more. I can’t really blame it on ‘oh well, I’m pregnant’ anymore.”

The actors who have worked with Olson know what she’s capable of, and vehemently speak of her potential. “I’m pissed off at the world that she’s not a giant movie star,” Ellis says of Olson. “I just think she has so much to offer: She’s a great comedian but she’s also a great actress.”

For his part Howerton offered his own take. “I just think it’s a shame that she hasn’t been more recognized, and that more roles have not been thrown at her. I think a lot of men are scared to act opposite a woman who is as funny as they are, and who will give them a run for their money for being the funniest person in that project,” he says. “And I think a lot of times she doesn’t get cast in things because she’s so funny, and I think that’s fucked up.”

When asked if this was at all true, Olson appears hesitant to answer and seems borderline uncomfortable. She pauses before responding. “I hope not, but I feel like that’s happened a few times. I just hope that, if it is true, it starts to shift soon. Because it’s a shame. I don’t know if I can answer that question. I don’t want you to print anything I have to say.”

After a long pause — where she leans across the table, then sits back and re-tucks her legs into her chest — she says, “Yeah, I just, I love Glenn for saying that and for recognizing it, and, well, you know, Rob says all the time, he’s like, ‘Look. That must not be what America wants because if it were, you’d see more of it.’ People, women, want to see women being pleasant. But for some reason, we want to see men be really funny. I think that’s starting to change, you know, ever since Bridesmaids really. So that’s really awesome. I think that’s the part that I’ll focus on and just hang in there.”

During a time where Olson does have to consider and weigh every word she says, because those words could lead to her next big role or prevent her from landing it, it’s clear that she’s nervous about it all — about posing with the tree, how she’ll be perceived by viewers, and what people think of her, and wanting to be liked by an audience larger than the one she’s cultivated with Sunny. “I hope it’s not threatening for me to be as funny as I can be and work with a really funny man,” she says emphatically, straightening her posture and finally relaxing. “To me, that sounds like an amazing movie.”





















Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/kaitlin-olson-its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia