Gillian Jacobs Is the ‘Life of the Party’ On-Screen, but Not So Much, She Says, in Real Life

Melissa McCarthy, Jessie Ennis, Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, Molly Gordon and Yani Simone attend “Life of the Party” World Premiere at AMC Tiger 13 on April 30, 2018, in Opelika, Ala.
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

Pittsburgh native Gillian Jacobs’ characters always seem to have a wild side to them. From her wild-child character Mickey on Netflix’s Love to her role on the recently released movie Life of the Party, in which she stars as Helen, a “Girls Gone Wild” college student, you’d think that Jacobs might have something in common with her roles. But according to Jacobs, her offscreen persona is nothing like the characters she’s played.

Jacobs, a graduate of Juilliard, says that what separates her from her characters is that she’s a pretty uptight person, especially in comparison with her character on Love.


“Mickey gives herself permission to say and do things I never allow myself to do. I don’t have that in my life,” Jacobs told The Root.

“I’m very uptight. I’m tightly wound,” she continued.

As for Life of the Party and playing an outgoing college student, Jacobs says that college wasn’t a time for her to go buck-wild, either.

“Juilliard School is a very small college. There were 15 actors in my class and my school consisted of one building. It was very atypical, and I had no real social life. Everyone just studied really hard,” Jacobs said.

Transitioning from Pittsburgh to New York City wasn’t exactly easy for Jacobs, but according to her, she didn’t let the big city engulf her.


“I adjusted to the city by not leaving the Upper West Side for three years. It took me a few years to start going into the city and not leaving a five-block radius of my college,” she said.

A key factor in what also separates Jacobs’ movie character from her real-life experience is that she’s a teetotaler. Jacobs’ reason for not indulging in alcohol has a lot to do with her family.


“A family history of alcoholism made me decide not to drink. I made a decision early on, as a kid,” Jacobs stated.

As for starring in Life of the Party, she jumped at the opportunity to work with Melissa McCarthy, who portrays a mother returning to college alongside her daughter.


“I thought the role was a fun part, and I really wanted to work with Melissa. She and Ben assembled such an incredible cast, and the whole experience was more fun than I could have anticipated,” she said.

Although Jacobs may not be a life of the party in real life, she definitely knows how to play one really well on-screen.


Life of the Party is currently playing in theaters.

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Yesha Callahan

Bye, Kinja! It's been fun (occasionally).