Miriam "Midge" Maisel, from Amazon's Emmy-winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is an incredible entertainer both on stage as a comedian and at home as a hostess. That's especially true when it comes to the holidays. (Remember season one's Yom Kippur dinner?) But Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the witty performer, is more low-key. The 29-year-old, who likes to focus on giving back, recently partnered with Amazon Smile to support a charity close to her heart, Covenant House (which provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness). It was through this partnership that Architectural Digest was able to catch up with the award-winning actor to find out about her charity of choice, her favorite holiday decor item, and the design love she has in common with Midge.
Architectural Digest: First, tell me about this partnership with Amazon and how they're helping Covenant House.
Rachel Brosnahan: I'm teaming up with Amazon Smile to spread some holiday cheer. I work with Covenant House, and Amazon has come in and thrown a holiday party for them where they can pick out holiday weather essentials. They're also going to be fulfilling Covenant House's charity list for the holidays.
AD: Is charity or giving back something that's a tradition for you during the holiday season?
RB: It's become a year-round tradition. I think it's more important than ever as the world becomes more divided and darker…[there are] a lot of ways that we [can] all do our part to bring light to those around us.
AD: What are some of your other holiday traditions?
RB: We like to shake it up. I don't necessarily have things that we do every single year. There is an old family recipe called a cheese mound that we make every year, and we enjoy it together.
AD: Are you big into decorating?
RB: I've been away for the holidays for the last couple of years. Last year I was working in London right up until the holiday break. And this year, I was in Pittsburgh until a couple of days ago. So I haven't really been in one spot long enough. But I do love doing it when I'm around. One of these years I'll be at home around the holidays, and then I will do some decorating. I love putting it out, but I hate taking it down. My holiday decorations stay out till July.
AD: Are there any particular ornaments that are particularly meaningful to you?
RB: The last couple of years, I've been collecting ornaments because it's a small thing that you can travel with. So whenever I'm working somewhere, I try to get an ornament from that place. My little collection of ornaments from around the country and around the world has become really important to me. And my favorite gift to receive is a very thoughtful ornament—either something that commemorates a moment, or a place that was special for some reason. My mom made me an ornament with a picture of my dog on it when I got my dog a couple of years ago, and it's one of my favorites. It's one of my most prized possessions.
AD: When we last spoke, you were getting settled into your first permanent apartment. How is that process going?
RB: It's kind of exactly the same. I had the whole family over for Thanksgiving. It was 14 people over for Thanksgiving for the first time—I'd never done that. So I have acquired a lot of new cookware.
AD: What's the secret to entertaining in an apartment in New York City for 14 people?
RB: Furniture rentals. This was the first time I'd ever rented furniture. I don't have enough furniture to seat 14 people in my New York City apartment. I rented a table for like $30, and it came the day before, and then they took it away, and we had a place to put everyone and extra chairs. We even rented a tablecloth. It's a whole new world to me! We hung some string lights, took out the turkey salt and pepper shakers, and were all set.
AD: It seems like you're a little lower-key in terms of entertaining than your character Midge. But are your design styles similar?
RB: We both love a pop of color. And I feel like we both really like wallpaper. I haven't yet had an apartment that's quite right for wallpaper, but I'm dying to find a space I can wallpaper in. In general, Midge is a more-is-more person and I'm a little bit of a less-is-more person. I'm traveling a lot for work and have to pack my whole life into a suitcase for months at a time. It's made me realize how little I need.
AD: Since you travel so much, is there anything you bring with you to make it feel a little more like home?
RB: I always try to bring a pillow from home. It just makes me feel like I can sleep wherever I am. And I have a lot of travel coming up. I'm going to Dallas, then Chicago, then I'm celebrating my friend's 30th birthday, and then off to the Golden Globes.
AD: You'll be needing that pillow, since you're not slowing down at all!
RB: Yes. Maybe in February!
AD: How did you get involved in Covenant House?
RB: In 2013 I was doing my first Broadway show, and some members of the community organized an event called Sleep Out. And I was struck by how so many of the residents were very close to me in age. I was 23, and most of Covenant House's residents are between 17 and 22. These were my peers. And with a few very small shifts in circumstance, we could be standing in each other's footsteps. And that felt wildly unfair. I learned more about the work that Covenant House does, and I was so moved by the entire experience, I've been working with them ever since.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest