Most actresses would balk at doing a fashion shoot on Los Angeles’s famed Rodeo Drive at the height of tourist season, but Malin Akerman, who costars in ABC’s new series Trophy Wife, was game. “Are you kidding?” she said later. “I’m a new mom. Most days I’m gross. I’m unshowered, in my pajamas. It was so nice to get out and feel a -little bit glamorous for a day.” Fans snapped selfies with her in the background, paparazzi swarmed, and a few eager photo bombers tried to get in the viewfinder for their 15 minutes of fame, but Akerman stuck with it, posing cheerfully for hours.
Born in Sweden, Akerman moved to Toronto with her mother after her parents’ amicable divorce (she remains close to her father). She describes a carefree adolescence, living in a diverse city that encouraged creativity. After a brief modeling stint and a year in college, Akerman set her sights on acting and moved to L.A. She immediately loved the city—“You can be crazy, and nobody bats an eye”—but had trouble separating herself from the pack of model-turned-actress wannabes, and along the way she auditioned for more than her share of cheerleader/waitress/girlfriend parts. “Let’s be honest—I wasn’t a big high-fashion model,” Akerman says of her start. “We’re talking the Sears catalog in Winnie the Pooh pajamas. But still, it was hard.” What changed her trajectory was getting a part in The Comeback, a well-reviewed but short-lived HBO series cocreated by Lisa Kudrow, who also starred. “It was really well written and really funny, and doing it gave me more credibility,” says Akerman.
The project also confirmed her instinct that being funny was the right direction for her career, and over the next eight years she appeared in a slew of comedies (27 Dresses, The Proposal, Couples Retreat, Rock of Ages). This fall she adds another to her résumé with Trophy Wife, in which Akerman portrays the younger, blonder successor to Bradley Whitford’s former spouses (played by Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins).
No trophy wife herself, Akerman has been married to musician Roberto Zincone since 2007; their first child, Sebastian, was born last summer, and since then she has felt herself getting smarter about protecting the time she needs for work and family. “I was a girl who could never say no, and I had to learn how to do that,” she says of putting everyone else’s needs before her own; now she’s grown a thicker skin. Any secret missteps she’d like to own up to? “Oh, sure, there were times in the past when I could have done one less shot of Jägermeister,” she says with a laugh. “As I get older, I hope I continue to get wiser.”
Click here to see Malin Akerman model fall's best skirts.