There’s Something About Mädchen

 Photo: Kei Moreno

Photo: Kei Moreno

Mädchen Amick, the actress who brought Twin Peaks’s Shelly to life, hasn’t just been kicking back since her time on David Lynch’s cult television series. She's appeared on screens large and small—in Dawson's Creek and Gilmore Girls, Californication and Damages—and last year reprised her role as Shelly in Twin Peaks: The Return. Currently starring as the manipulative Alice Cooper in Riverdale, the dark adaptation of the Archie comics, Amick took time out of her busy schedule for Us– and Bobby Briggs.

In Issue Three of Us of America we reunited Dana Ashbrook (aka Twin Peaks Bobby Briggs) with Amick, once again, to find out more about Amick’s wide-ranging career, her work in mental health advocacy, and what it’s  like to be part of the Lynchoverse.

Read snippets of their conversation below, and for the full feature, pick up Issue Three, available on newsstands including Barnes & Noble nationwide. You can also buy a copy of our latest issue here.

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Dana: Mädchen.

Mädchen: Yes, Bobby Briggs?

Dana: Okay, mama, let's just take it from the beginning. You came to L.A. from Reno
when you were sixteen, right?

Mädchen: I plotted my escape from Sparks, Nevada, at the age of fourteen, and I
proposed to my parents that if I couldn't support myself within a year, that I would come back home to stay in school and figure out what to do from there.

Dana: You gave yourself a year?

Mädchen: I gave myself a year, thank goodness. I signed with Elite Models and Abrams Artists—hit the ground running, and haven't stopped since.

Dana: So how long were you in town before you got Twin Peaks?

Mädchen: I calculate that right at the end of my year is when I booked the pilot for Twin Peaks, which back in the day was called Northwest Passage.

Dana: Right, right.

Mädchen: And so I can tell this legendary story that I gave myself a year, and by the end of that year lightning struck in the bottle and I got, uh, the groundbreaking television show Twin Peaks.

Dana: Yeah, you did! And we never met in L.A., but we met for the first time when we
were up in Washington state for the pilot in February of '89. David and Mark Frost had rented a house, and they had a dinner there with a really core little group of people whose scenes were at the beginning of the shoot.

Mädchen: Oh, my gosh, I remember that night! And remember when David Lynch
posed for Polaroids with us? He just froze in a position, and we all jumped in, so we have all these Polaroids of David Lynch looking like a cardboard cutout.

[...]

 Photo: Kei Moreno

Photo: Kei Moreno

Dana: Going into season two (of Riverdale), it's a smash success. There's been some comparisons to the early Twin Peaks. Tell me more.

Mädchen: When Riverdale and Twin Peaks were airing at the same time, it was really
fun to see myself playing a mom in both projects that were complete polar-opposite types of Mom. Shelly is so feeling, loving, and kind of lost, and Alice Cooper is the
completely-put-together and in-control mother, completely manipulating and stifling her daughter.

Dana: It must be fun getting to go and work with a new generation of actors.

Mädchen: Lily Reinhardt, who plays my daughter on Riverdale, is not only an incredible actress, but she's a really incredible human, and also a mental health warrior. So I just immediately found myself giving her ways to protect herself and to stay strong, since she's got a really big workload and goes all in the way like I used to back in the day. It's very rewarding to be able to do that.

Dana: I hope she takes that advice from you. I really do. If I had a young daughter and I needed her to have a mentor, I'd want her to be you for sure.

Mädchen: Aw, thanks.

Dana: I would trust your advice so much. Okay, what else—here's one! How was it to
kiss Balthazar Getty [who plays Red on the new Twin Peaks], compared to Dana Ashbrook? Hm! Where'd that come from?

Mädchen: Who wrote that question?

Dana: No idea. But since we're already—

Mädchen: I'm sure you know the answer.

Dana: You can plead the fifth.

Mädchen: No, nope, I'm not doing it. I'm too brave for that. Balthazar is a very, very
sweet boy, but I'm sorry he just can't fill Dana Ashbrook's shoes in that category.

Dana: We're the originals.

Words: Sam Dean