Femme on Fire: Brittany Ishibashi

By Michael J. Lockhart

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Femme on Fire: Brittany Ishibashi:

When it comes to beautiful faces in the media, Playboy.com has always had an eye for not only the sexiest creatures tearing up the screen but also some of the most talented. This week’s captivating woman to watch not only has had an impressive slew of roles on such respected dramas as CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and 24 but even knocked it up a level after her guest spot on Supernatural by being rewarded with a spin-off web series.

After tackling politicizing artificial intelligence in big-screen thriller Eagle Eye and appearing on NBC’s Parenthood, our newest Femme on Fire stars this weekend in what has got to be this summer’s must-see television event: Political Animals.

As the fiancée of the son of a former president and current secretary of state, Brittany Ishibashi stars as Anne, whose imminent entry into the most watched family in America throws her into the spotlight alongside a stellar cast headed by Sigourney Weaver and Ciarán Hinds.

Brittany sat down with us after shooting the fifth episode to bring us in on her hot new show, losing her on-screen V card and the complexities of being part of the First Family.

Playboy.com: Tell us about your new show.

Ishibashi: Political Animals follows the current secretary of state, who tries to balance her own political ambitions and looking after the country while also trying to control and take care of her family.

Playboy.com: You play the former First Son’s fiancée, Anne; what is she like?

Ishibashi: Anne is the girl from Southern California who meets and falls in love with this guy who happens to be the son of the former president and the current secretary of state. She never thought she would end up near politics, but she’s thrown into this world and the next thing she knows she’s part of the former First Family but has a man who has very strong political ambitions himself and is getting used to the scrutiny and the need to present herself as the perfect bride-to-be. It’s a constant battle for her.

Playboy.com: What’s Anne’s biggest challenge? What have you tried to bring to the character?

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Ishibashi: It’s so wonderful, and really what brought me to this show is that you really get to see all the different colors of all these characters. There may be these beautiful little quiet moments behind closed doors, but I think the hardest part for Anne is maintaining that smile and maintaining that face of how supportive she is of her fiancé and his family. It’s eating away at her. [laughs]

Playboy.com: How did you prepare for a role this intense?

Ishibashi: I have been obsessed with documentaries of the Kennedys and actually the Royal Family — I’ve been following so much of Will and Kate. Also the book Game Change that they did the TV special on; it was put together with hundreds of interviews and firsthand accounts of the entire election of 2008. That’s the best drama there was.

Playboy.com: Oh, so you were one of the crazy Americans who got up in the middle of the night to watch the Royal Wedding?

Ishibashi: [Laughs] I’m not that crazy. [laughs] I do love my tea and biscuits but I wasn’t about to do that.

***Playboy.com:* What is it like to work with Sigourney Weaver?

Ishibashi: She is the epitome of grace and class. The first time I met her I remember walking away caught up in the whole energy-aura that is Sigourney Weaver; that is one classy broad. She is so generous, kind, talented and so alive; it’s really a pleasure to go head-to-head with her in some of these scenes. This whole show — I feel so lucky to have such incredible playmates, if I can say that, [laughs] because there is a spirit of play in every one of those people. It’s constantly blowing me away.

Playboy.com: What can you tell us about your more risqué scenes in the series? Was this your first time having sex on screen?

Ishibashi: Well, they are awkward to film! [laughs] What is so wonderful is I have such an amazing on-screen fiancé, Jimmy Wolk, that makes everything as natural as it can be…with 30 people watching you and cameras in your faces and microphones everywhere, hot lights. It’s real, and is integral to the show. It’s a very sexy, provocative show and I love that you get to see their personal lives as much as their professional lives.[Check out Playboy.com's Review of Political Animals]

Playboy.com: Did you have any hesitance signing on when you saw that in the script?

Ishibashi: It was actually one of the reasons I wanted to sign on. I just think it’s funny. My husband is so happy with that.

Playboy.com: What was his reaction?

Ishibashi: He’s handled it the best he can. It takes a lot of communication.

Playboy.com: At least he wasn’t on set, right?

Ishibashi: No, no, no. Actually, one day he came to visit with my in-laws and my parents, and the one day they came to visit that week was the day we had a sex scene. I had to figure out a way to tell them it wasn’t the best time to visit. [laughs]

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Playboy.com: So overall, good first time? [laughs]

Ishibashi: [Laughs] It was a great first time. It was the best possible way to be introduced to…that kind of situation. For my on-screen cherry to be popped, that is. [laughs]

Playboy.com: You’ve appeared on a number of series such as Angel, Supernatural, House, Parenthood and The Mentalist; what has been your favorite TV or film role so far and why?

Ishibashi: Aside from this show, which has been absolutely amazing, I’ll have to say it was when I worked on Supernatural. It still brings a big smile to my face. It was the middle of the night and we were outfitted with headlamps, these crazy ghost-hunting masks and machines, and they had this incredible haunted house. It reminded me of a game I used to play as a kid.

Playboy.com: We’ve got a lightning round of questions for you, first thing that comes to mind.

What's your favorite...?

City: New York!

Drink: I love an ice-cold Chopin Vodka martini, straight up with a lemon twist.

*Food: *Sushi or dark chocolate.

Pickup line: One time I was out at a bar and this guy came up to me and casually leaned over and said, “I was in Alaska, and I was clubbing this baby seal, right…” and I just burst out laughing because it was the most ridiculous, bizarre thing to say. And for someone to have the balls to say something that off-putting and rude and awful just really turned me off.

Guilty pleasure song: Currently “Starships” (Nikki Minaj). Jimmy Wolk has a fantastic remixed version of it by Jasmine. It’s our power-up song on set. [laughs]

Secret Talent: I have a couple. I’m incredible on the trapeze and I have a black belt in tae kwon do.

Playboy.com: What’s your most impressive move?

Ishibashi: I can do the upside-down splits then get caught, then get thrown back to the bar with the back foot and then catch the bar.

Playboy.com: Someone’s flexible! What do you have coming up next?

Ishibashi: Going home to L.A. and remodeling our house!

Playboy.com: What was your first Playboy?

Ishibashi: You know, I’ve never opened a Playboy. But a girl I went to college with writes for your comedy site The Smoking Jacket, Jenny Mollen. I’m obsessed with her articles!

Political Animals premieres Sunday July, 15 at 10/9c on USA. Follow Brittany on Twitter @BrittIshibashi.


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