1. Born in Northern California, Jessica stands at 5’4”- exactly the same height as your esteemed writer.
2. A graduate of The Juilliard School in NYC, Jessica received a scholarship to pursue her drama major from actor (and alumni) Robin Williams.
3. Her star sign is Aries, hence her energetic nature and her creative flair for the arts.
4. She’s an all-natural redhead.
5. Need her to cry? Jess is up to the task, remarking that she has “a bottomless well of tears.” No eyedrops necessary for this girl!
6. You won’t find Jessica munching on any turkey or bacon- she is a proud vegan. She also comes from a big pro-veggie family: Her mother is a vegan chef.
7. One of her biggest dreams is to buy her mother her very own food truck
8. For The Help, Jessica had to gain 15 pounds (not to mention change her hair color) to play blond bombshell Celia Foote. She described it as “torture” and got her curves by downing cartons of soy ice cream, which she microwaved and drank. Ick!
9. Actress Helen Mirren is a huge fan of Chastain’s, having seen “[her] younger self” in her. She also praises the star for her “dogged” perseverance.
10. Tom Cruise taught Jessica how to run, albeit indirectly:The Debt costar Sam Worthington encouraged her to run like the celeb by teaching her the secret of arm pumping.
11. Jessica is a trained dancer and ballerina who described her first running scene in The Debt as running “like Gumby” with stick-straight arms.
12. Though the running is good, Jessica is also a devout yoga disciple.
13. Her grandmother tells her to be more sexual. Jessica’s grandmother is very pro-showing lots of “skin, skin, skin,” as Chastain revealed in an interview with Conan O’Brien.
14. Speaking of Grandma: Grandma knows best! She took Jess to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when she was just 7 years old, sparking the early acting bug in her.
15. Moving to NYC to attend Juilliard was a scary experience for Jessica. She often refers to it as a culture shock and was homesick her first week there.
16. Jessica is the first person in her family to attend college.
17. When she was a senior at Juilliard, Jessica was spotted in an acting showcase by The West Wing producer John Wells and signed on for a 12-month holding deal. Talk about a lucky break!
18. You may have spotted her in guest appearances on shows like Veronica Mars and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
19. Jessica considered herself too nerdy to play ditzy Celia in The Help, so she read the book multiple times and studied Marilyn Monroe’s vocal inflection to prep for the part.
20. What embarrasses Jess the most? Having ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to her!
21. Her hobbies include playing songs by Radiohead and The Flaming Lips on her ukulele.
22. For Halloween once, Jess dressed as Spock from Star Trek. Live long and prosper.
23. Jessica’s unofficial publicist and mentor? Actor Al Pacino, who cast her in the 2006 stage production of Salome by Oscar Wilde.
24. Chastain says loved her The Help co-star Bryce Dallas Howard, praising her for being “really cool and beautiful.”