Jessica Paré at a Canadian Film Centre & Variety-hosted reception for the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, in March 2012
December 5, 1980 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Spouse(s)||Joseph M. Smith (2007–2010, divorced)|
Jessica Paré (born December 5, 1980) is a Canadian film and television actress. She has appeared in the films Stardom (2000), Lost and Delirious (2001), Wicker Park (2004), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), and co-starred in the vampire horror-comedy Suck (2009). She stars as Megan Draper on the AMC television series Mad Men.
Early life 
Paré was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Anthony Paré, the former chair of the education department at McGill University, and Louise Mercier, a conference interpreter. She grew up in the Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and has three brothers. Paré is bilingual, speaking both English and French. Her family is Catholic.
Paré's parents were both actors: her father was a drama teacher and toured with a theatre company, and her mother acted in amateur productions. Paré would watch her father at rehearsals as a child and became interested in acting herself when helping him learn his lines for The Tempest. She attended Villa Maria, a private Catholic girl's high school in Montreal. Paré studied drama at TheatreWorks, and appeared in over half a dozen amateur theatre productions as a teenager, including roles as Maid Marian in Robin Hood and Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Paré landed a small role in the mafia TV movie, Bonanno: A Godfather's Story, during her final year in high school, which convinced her to pursue acting as a career. She also found small roles in an episode of the horror/teen TV series Big Wolf on Campus and the French film En Vacances in 1999. She dropped out of the fine arts program at Montreal's Dawson College and pursued acting for two years. At one point, she worked as a photographer's assistant on automotive photo shoots.
After Paré auditioned for a bit part for the independent film Stardom (2000), director Denys Arcand chose her to star in the film. She played a naive ice hockey player propelled to international stardom as a supermodel, co-starring with Dan Aykroyd. The comedic satire closed the 2000 Cannes Film Festival with mixed reviews from critics. Paré became the Canadian film industry’s "it girl" following the film's release. She was also voted one of the 25 most beautiful people in Canada by a Canadian magazine[which?], but she did not take the title very seriously.
Paré next starred in Lost and Delirious (2001), opposite Piper Perabo, a story of two young lovers set in a girls' boarding school. The film was the English-language debut of director Léa Pool and debuted to positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.
Paré appeared in the miniseries Random Passage in 2002, based on a series of award-winning novels by Bernice Morgan and set in Newfoundland in the 1800s. Also that year, she appeared in the miniseries Napoléon as the emperor’s mistress and had a cameo as a pop singer in Deepa Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood (2002).
In 2003, she starred in the girl gang thriller Posers (2003), after which Paré appeared in the CTV miniseries The Death and Life of Nancy Eaton (2003), directed by Jerry Ciccoritti, in the title role of murdered heiress Nancy Eaton.
Paré made her Hollywood film debut in the 2004 feature Wicker Park, directed by Paul McGuigan, as Josh Hartnett's fiancee. Paré starred in Lives of the Saints that year, with Sophia Loren and Kris Kristofferson, a TV miniseries set in the 1960s. She was in the mockumentary See This Movie (2004), with Seth Meyers and John Cho, and had a role on the teen drama series Jack & Bobby that year. The WB television series was about two brothers, one who grows up to be President of the United States; Paré's character, Courtney Benedict, grows up to be First Lady.
Paré shot the CBS TV pilot Protect and Serve with Dean Cain in 2007. and filmed the independent French-Canadian romantic comedy Jusqu'à toi that year. Paré co-starred as Liza, along with Justin Bartha, Mélanie Laurent, and Billy Boyd.
She had a small role in The Trotsky, a comedy filmed in Montreal in late-2008, directed by Jacob Tierney and filmed Suck, beginning in November 2008, a vampire horror-comedy written and directed by Rob Stefaniuk. Paré learned to play the bass guitar for the role. Suck premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme. She was nominated for a 2010 Canadian Comedy Award for best female performance in film for the role.
Paré filmed Red Coat Justice by Wyeth Clarkson in 2009.
She played a groupie opposite Craig Robinson in the 2010 comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. That year, Paré also appears in the Canadian comedy Peepers, written and directed by Seth W. Owen, along with Joe Cobden, Paul Spence, and Ricky Mabe. The film, about pleasures in voyeurism, competed in the Just for Laughs film festival in Montreal in July 2010.
Also in 2010, Paré joined the cast of the AMC television series Mad Men, playing Megan Calvet, Don Draper's second wife and a Sterling Cooper Draper Price secretary. Paré's character had a prominent role in the Season 5 opener of Mad Men, in which she danced and sang a version of the 1960 Gillian Hills hit "Zou Bisou Bisou". Her recording of the song was subsequently released as a download and on vinyl.
In 2011, Paré appeared in Beholder, alongside Elaine Hendrix, Michael McMillian, and Rupak Ginn. The short film, directed by Nisha Ganatra, premiered as part of the ITVS/PBS series, FutureStates. She also starred in The Way of the West, a western about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, filmed in a remote location outside of Whitehorse, Yukon, and in the comedic short, Sorry, Rabbi, directed by Mark Slutsky.
In 2012, Paré appeared on stage with the Jesus and Mary Chain, singing the alternative rock band's song, "Just Like Honey", for two concerts in Buffalo, New York and Toronto. She filmed the romantic comedy, Standby, in Luxembourg and Ireland in mid-2012; she plays the female lead, Alice, in the low-budget feature film.
Personal life 
She married American writer and producer Joe Smith in 2007, but the couple has since divorced. As of May 2012, she was dating Montreal musician John Kastner, lead singer for punk bands Asexuals and Doughboys.
- Bonanno: A Godfather's Story (1999), Rosalie Profaci
- Stardom (2000), Tina Menzhal
- En Vacances (2000), Carole Beaumont
- Lost and Delirious (2001), Victoria "Tori" Moller
- Random Passage (2002), Annie Vincent (age 15) – TV miniseries
- Napoléon (2002), Eléonore Denuelle – TV miniseries
- Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), Kimberly Stewart
- Posers (2002), Adria
- The Death and Life of Nancy Eaton (2003), Nancy Eaton – TV miniseries
- Wicker Park (2004), Rebecca
- Lives of the Saints (2004) Rita Amherst – TV miniseries
- See This Movie (2004), Samantha Brown
- Jack & Bobby (2004–2005), Courtney Benedict – TV series
- Protect and Serve (2007), Hope Cooke – TV pilot
- Life (2007) – TV series, in the episode "The Fallen Woman"
- Caniformia (2009), The Waxing Lady
- Shoe at Your Foot / Every Jack Has a Jill (French: Jusqu'à Toi) (2009), Liza
- Suck (2009), Jennifer
- The Trotsky (2009), Laura
- Peepers (2010), Helen
- Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), Tara
- Red Coat Justice (2010), Amethyst
- Mad Men (2010–present), Megan Draper – TV series
- Beholder (2011), Sasha – Short film
- The Way of the West (2011), Amethyst
- Sorry, Rabbi (2011), Marie-Hélène – Short film
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