Why we want to hang out with Bar Paly
The model and actress doesn't take herself seriously – and that's a good thing.
Bar Paly has no idea why people take a while to warm up to her.
"People feel that I’m not approachable or something. I’m like, ‘No. Look at me. I’m a goofball,'" she told From The Grapevine. She certainly knows what could be keeping people at a distance. "I have an accent. Maybe I look a little different and ... I don’t know. I used to model so maybe that’s another perception."
But a self-deprecating statement and a little laugh reveal just how approachable Paly is.
"You know, it’s probably a lot of those things that I have to speak with my psychologist about," she said.
Paly, born in Russia and raised in Tel Aviv, has been in front of cameras for more than a decade, first as a model and then as an actress. You may have seen her biting into a huge burger in a Hardee's commercial or alongside Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Pain & Gain." But Paly has an easygoing, funny side to her that she hopes people will see in the small role she has in "Trainwreck," a Judd Apatow-directed comedy that was written by and stars stand-up comedian Amy Schumer.
"I was playing a model – surprise!" she laughed. "She (my character) kind of makes Amy feel really bad about herself but kind of unaware of it. We shot ... different versions of stuff so I don’t know how much of it will end up in the movie."
It's easy to see that Paly doesn't take herself too seriously, which is why she'd be a good person to hoist a cup of coffee or a pint of beer with and shoot the breeze. Here are some of the other reasons we'd want to hang out with her:
1. She loves comedy.
Paly loved working with Apatow. She thinks that Schumer is "fricking fantastic." "I’m always happy that she shows that women can be funny and that’s awesome, and to change that perception that we’re not funny," she said.
Paly wants people to know that doing comedic roles suits her just fine. "I guess I have a knack for comedy and I really enjoy doing it," she said. "I enjoy watching comedies. So, I guess a lot of times people go, ‘Bar in a comedy? What?’ They see me [playing] a Russian spy or something."
Growing up, Paly shared her sense of humor with friends at school, but she remembers being shy as a kid. "I was from Russia so I looked a little different and I was skinny and weird and I had a funny accent," Play said. "Kids who didn’t want to perceive me as one of them thought, ‘Oh, she’s weird or she’s snotty,’ or whatever, and then they would get to know me and I wasn’t, I guess, or I was trying not to be."
2. She took the bus when she first moved to Los Angeles.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, director Michael Bay, actors Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, and Anthony Mackie arrive at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Pain & Gain' at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 22, 2013. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Paly's acting studies at the Aleph High School of the Arts in Tel Aviv allowed her to perform Shakespeare, Brecht and plays like "Antigone." The experience led her to an acting career, but not directly. "I had to figure out my life," she said. "I started modeling, auditioning for some acting stuff and then I got a TV series in Israel. So, it kind of ... happened by mistake."
Her move to Los Angeles also wasn't part of some big career plan. "I think I was extremely ambitious and optimistic and maybe dumb because I was still so young. I was like, ‘Yes. I’m going to go to Hollywood. I’m going to conquer it.’ And so I guess I just wanted bigger and better, you know, go to the toughest place. It was a decision that was made within three days and I said, ‘I’m going to go to L.A. and try it out.’ I bought a ticket and [went] two days later."
The biggest surprise about L.A. was that "'Baywatch' was a lie," she said with another laugh. "In Israel and Tel Aviv, the beaches are amazing ... and it’s the Mediterranean, and here it’s kind of empty and windy, and the oceans are pretty cold."
Also, because she didn't have a driver's license at first, she had to negotiate the city's notorious traffic by bus. "If you've never taken a bus in Los Angeles you don’t understand how actually hard it is. I would go to all my auditions on a bus."
3. She likes wearing glasses for the heck of it.
Paly got her biggest exposure from "Pain & Gain," "Non-Stop" with Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, and the Disney movie "Million Dollar Arm," staring Jon Hamm of "Mad Men." These roles proved to be a turning point in her acting career, because "now when I audition I don’t audition against a hundred girls who look exactly like me. It’s against a much smaller group and sometimes bigger names which is kind of scary."
She still models for advertisers. She's a spokesmodel for the Oliver Peoples brand of designer eyeglasses and sunglasses even though she doesn't have any vision problems.
"I actually like glasses on me," she said. "I kind of think I’m trying to ruin my eyes slowly with the iPhone, so I can wear all these cool styles. Then maybe I can play a scientist and stuff like that, a doctor or a lawyer, and my mom would be so happy."
4. She loves showing her goofy side on social media.
A look at Paly's Instagram offers insight into the regular gal behind the starlet. In one post she is posing with her two rescue dogs. In another post she is strapping on some paint-balling equipment for an afternoon of good old messy fun.
"There’s this certain perception in general, even in my mind, that movie stars or actors, they’re almost like they’re different beings and they don’t have a regular life," she said. "But they do. I do. Everybody does. I still have to do my dishes and walk my dogs as does everybody else."
5. She loves going back home.
Paly and her husband, Ian Kessner, attend the Variety and Formula E Hollywood Gala at Chateau Marmont on April 4, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jonathan Liebson/Getty Images)
Tel Aviv is still one of her favorite cities, and she loves hanging out in nearby Jaffa. "You can have a 300-year-old, or even more, a 1,000-year-old stone [structure] somewhere next to a huge sky-rise and it’s just fascinating how those two cultures meet." Staying with her parents doesn't hurt, either. "I get to be 12 again and be catered to. My mother asks me, ‘Have you eaten? Do you wear a sweater?’ Which all of us need."
If she and her husband, screenwriter and director Ian Kessner, were to ever have kids, she'd have to think about whether to stay in L.A. or move back home. "I know I had a beautiful amazing childhood in Israel, but my career, my life is right now here. But there’s certainly a lot of thinking to do."
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: TV