Briga Heelan plays a newshound on the promising NBC sitcom Great News, premiering Tuesday and co-produced by none other than Tina Fey. On the show, Heelan’s mother (Andrea Martin) winds up working with her and complicating her life. The actress just gave birth to her first child, a girl, with actor hubby Rene Gube. Here’s what she had to tell Yahoo Style about office politics, pregnancy style, and the secret to bonding with Fey.
Heelan got the role the old-school way — by reading the script and auditioning for the show. But she and Fey also vibed. “Tina just creates these moments to share a joke with you. She’d be on set and some of the little bits she’d do she’d make sure to include me in, and they were so hysterical. She goes out of her way to include actors in her jokes. I was mostly surprised by how instantly I felt comforted by how funny she is in real life.”
Her character winds up working with her mother, which doesn’t go well. And her style reflects how frazzled she can get at work. “She wants to find her voice at work, and be taken seriously, and be seen and heard. At the same time, she’s not super comfortable doing that. She hasn’t found that confidence. She wants to be a serious journalist. I wanted her to be obviously professional-looking but not buttoned-up.”
On Great News, Heelan goes for bold hues. While pregnant, not so much — she went for comfort and swore she’d burn the clothes she wore repeatedly. “Pregnancy style is a bit different. For me, in my normal life, I’m very all or nothing. I’m super comfortable dressed to the nines — full hair and makeup. I love feeling really done up. And I love feeling undone. I love sweatpants and my hair in a topknot. I go with no makeup. Or I have a full look,” she says. After childbirth, Heelan had a plan to consume “so much sushi and wine. I love workout clothes you feel phenomenal in. I’ve been wearing the same two outfits. I’m so excited to put those away and get some sassy-ass workout clothes.”
Her fashion role model is another funny lady: Tracee Ellis Ross, whose style is a reflection of her comedy. “She is hysterical and effortlessly funny. Her sense of style — it’s commanding as hell, but it’s such a match for her. She’s so comfortable in her fashion choices. You can just feel it. You see it in photos and interviews. Style is a way that she uses her voice. I don’t feel like that’s something that I, at this point, know how to do innately, and she’s someone who does. It’s so distinct,” says Heelan.
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