Elisabeth Moss plays Peggy Olson on AMC’s Mad Men.
When asked on NPR’s “Fresh Air” if she studied old ads from the 60s to get a feel for the environment at the time, Moss said, “No, not at all. I’ve done absolutely no research involving Mad Men whatsoever. Let me be very clear. Everything that I’ve learned about advertising in that time period is from the show. You know, my interest has been so much more about Peggy as woman, her emotional life and who she is as a person.”
Moss admits that the time period does not really affect how she plays the character. She told LA Times, “From the very beginning, from the pilot, I didn’t care that it was the 60s. I didn’t care that she was a 60s girl. I wanted to play her like me, like a woman of any time. Because I think that there are things that she experiences and things that all the women on the show experience that we still experience today — maybe in varying degrees. So for me, what I connected to was that she was just a young woman … I just wanted her to be a real person.”
Despite the times, Peggy Olson made some big steps at the advertising company. In the finale, Olson was shown sitting in Don Draper’s chair, the image was reminiscent of this classic image from the Mad Men opening credits. This one shot alone showed how far Peggy had come, from being Don Draper’s lacky to creative director.
“I don’t have Season 7 on paper, and I would say that if you’re talking about [advertising pioneer] Mary Wells, you’re talking about the Jackie Robinson of advertising. That is the exception and not the rule,” Mad Men creator Matt Weiner told HuffPost. “The women’s movement didn’t really even have any traction until the ’70s, and Peggy is still an exceptional person with an unusual job and unusually successful for where she is. There’s one Mary Wells for all the other thousands of women who are trying to get into that job. I don’t think you can name a lot of women who were not at least standing behind a man in an agency.”
“I thought it was so…cool,” Moss said of her final Season 6 scene in an interview with Vulture. “It’s been a long road for her and what’s cool about it for me is that I’ve spent a lot of time in Don’s office. I remember my first scenes were there, giving Don aspirin when he wakes up from his nap. I’ve had a lot of moments and a lot of great scenes in there, so to have come all of this way? It’s very, very cool … I like this idea of Peggy’s journey getting to a place — and I hope to see it in Season 7 — I hope to see her get to a place where she is her own person with her own style, not copying a man.”