Jennifer Carpenter On The Lab Magazine New Issue [Photos, Video, Interview]

via: Actress Jennifer Carpenter has a special something. Her balance of both strength and vulnerability draws your eyes to the screen like a magnet. Working steadily since her college days, she’s at the top of her game but remains completely unaffected. There’s a normalcy to her life that she values and protects. After all, she is just a regular girl from the South who said, “I’ve watched Coal Miner’s Daughter maybe nine times a year for my entire life.” See below, a video feature from The Lab Magazine's Issue 06 shoot with Jennifer:

Read the rest of the article and see some new photos of her, after the jump...

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Carpenter is part of a supportive family whose motto is, “It’s all about the love,” which has become the motto of her life. And it’s that supportive upbringing that helped her get through the peaks and troughs of life as a jobbing actor. “I came from a family that didn’t say no, instead asked how. It forced me to get creative.” With that creativity has come sustained success and a warm homecoming whenever Carpenter gets the chance. “I love going back to Louisville,” she said. “My family is proud of me and what I’ve accomplished. But it’s no more impressive than everything they have done.”

Carpenter grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show and The People’s Court with her father and is a self-proclaimed fan of The Golden Girls, but it was not watching these classic shows at a young age or a specific experience that drew her to acting. “I don’t know if one thing inspired me to become an actor but when I had my first taste of it, it felt familiar,” she said. “I know people throw the term ‘my calling’ around a lot, but it was my calling and still is.” It’s no surprise that other career paths have never been on the table. “I have never come up with a plan B. If anything, I would be waiting tables and begging for auditions every day, which is exactly what I did.

From humble beginnings, Carpenter went on to study at Juilliard before tackling the world of TV, film, and theater. She has since played the feisty Debra Morgan on Dexter, scared audiences senseless in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and impressed theatergoers in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in 2002. She remembers that stage experience fondly as the role that “changed the course of my life,” and as the start of her friendship with fellow actress Laura Linney. “Laura has been more than a friend, she has been a mentor,” she said. “My relationship with her has been valuable to me in countless ways.”

With Dexter in its final season, Carpenter will soon be open to a whole world of possibilities. “I’m hoping to do a movie at the end of Dexter. It’s hard to chase the work when you’re working a minimum of 13 hours a day. You never know where you’re going to be next; just hopefully employed.” She’d also like to return to the theater someday and likens it to, “Taking your temperature as an actor, to make sure you’re taking care of your craft.”

And there’s no denying she’s got her craft under a watchful eye. When it comes to her “process” Carpenter said, “My philosophy is to be prepared, more prepared than anyone else that is parking in the lot next to me. I want to be ready and confident enough to turn on a dime, and be able to take a scene in a totally different direction. The danger in this job is that people can eventually begin to lean on their talent, and having talent is just a jumping off point. It’s the people who really work at it, who make it look seamless.” And after all of that preparation and hard work, does she feel like it’s all worth it? “I think I’m still searching for fulfillment,” she said, “which is why I wonder these days if acting is an addiction. I ask myself, ‘Do I have something that I’m still longing to say as an artist?’ or, ‘Am I afraid to be without it?’ I will say, though, I am fulfilled every day that I get to audition, because for four minutes, the role is mine.”

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