Melinda Page Hamilton as Anna Draper (left) and Caity Lotz as Stephanie (right)
Fans of Mad Men will recognize Caity Lotz as the character Stephanie–who was recently introduced as Anna Draper’s niece in the heartbreaking episode ‘The Good News’. But beyond her stint on Mad Men, Caity has been making the rounds in all sorts of mediums. From appearing in music videos and touring with Lady Gaga to acting as stunt doubles in films such as Step Up 3D and dancing in theatre productions like Groovaloo, her career shows no signs of slowing down.
Following the Mad Men episode, I was able to catch up with Caity and despite her extremely busy schedule, she was able to answer a few of my questions:
I think it goes without saying that you’ve had a pretty incredible dance career. From touring with Lady Gaga to Step Up 3D to Groovaloo, your work has spanned a wide variety of archetypes—if archetype is even an appropriate word to use—my question is, from the work you’ve done how have you seen contemporary dance changed from say, the stereotypes that unnecessarily associate femininity with dancing?
Dance has always been what it is; it’s tribal, it’s innate, that’s why we see babies dance when they hear music, its in our soul. So I don’t think dance has changed just our cultures view of it.
I think people used to associate the word “dancer” with qualities such as beauty and grace which would mostly be considered feminine qualities. But now the progression of current styles of dance places more of an importance in authenticity of emotions and the expression of individuality.
Contemporary dance doesn’t limit itself to technique and perfection anymore. Also, many nontraditional styles are finally being respected and known as an art from. As dance breaks free from these limitations it also breaks away from the stereotypes and misconceptions of what dance is. Now that people have been more exposed to dance, the word “dancer” evokes different words for people. For me, it is movement, expression, artist– all words that are neutral in sex.
Now, your resume’s only going to get bigger with your newly landed role in Mad Men. Speaking of which, how did you come across getting this role and what did you have to do to prepare for it (research etc)?
I have a great team of agents over at Greene & Associates and they were the ones who got me an appointment to read for the role of Stephanie. After reading for the casting director, she brought me in to read for the director and producers. As for research, I definitely had to brush up on my history. What it was like to be at Berkley at that time period, what “sitting in” was, and the different point of views of the youth regarding social issues.
Were you a fan of the show? If so, what do you admire about it?
I am a fan of the show. Mad Men’s like a good piece of art, you can analyze and look into even the smallest details and not be disappointed. There’s so much meaning and thought behind everything. Styling, lighting, dialogue, nothing’s rushed; it all has a purpose. I also love how simple and real the show is. Also I find it so fascinating to see what the world was like in the 60’s, it’s like going back in time.
One of the most talked about aspects of Mad Men is its brutally honest portrayal of women in the 1960s. Do you think your character, Stephanie, represents a continuation of this objectification of women for Don Draper—or, will she help to bring about a change in his actions?
I like Stephanie because she doesn’t “know her place”. She doesn’t subscribe to society’s role for women and doesn’t do or not do something just because she’s “supposed to”. I think Dick (Don Draper) is inspired by Stephanie’s freedom because he himself feels restricted to the culture expectations that keeps him in his place. I think Dick can’t help but respect and admire this about Stephanie, especially when she can do it and he can’t.
Something else that’s promising is how Stephanie, in contrast with many of the female characters we’ve been introduced to in the past, is already living outside of the world of men—education/career focused and resisting the advances of Don seems a large step forward from the previous seasons of the show. Thoughts?
I think Stephanie personifies the movements of this period of history. Society freeing itself from social taboos, a demand for individual freedom and equality, and just really questioning the way things are. Hopefully as the show moves on it will ride this wave!