Michelle Trachtenberg Is Well Prepared for Her Role as Marina Oswald

Steady diet of Investigation Discovery


Who Michelle Trachtenberg

Age 28

Accomplishments Plays Marina Oswald in the National Geographic Channel movie Killing Kennedy (Nov. 10, 8 p.m.); former star of Gossip Girl, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harriet the Spy

Base New York and Los Angeles

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I used to get the New York Post newsletter, but those just randomly stopped in the last couple of weeks. So now I go to its website and then Deadline Hollywood.

Tell us about your social media diet.

I’m only on Twitter. I have a BlackBerry, so I’m not on Instagram. But I think there are a lot of fake Michelle Trachtenbergs on there who trick my friends. They’ll be like, “Oh, I liked your picture on Instagram!” And I’ll tell them, “That’s not me!”

I have to ask … Why a BlackBerry?

[Laughs] Until BlackBerry waves its white flag and says, “We are going out of business,” I’m using one! I use my phone less for apps and more for business emails, and a keyboard is vital. I’m also a writer, and I’m usually working on several projects at the same time—screenplays and pilots. Sometimes an idea will hit me and I’ll sit and write half a scene on my BlackBerry while waiting for a meeting, and I don’t know that I’d be able to type as quickly on an iPhone.

Do you have a favorite app?

I have an iPad, and most of my apps on there are games. I had to quit Angry Birds after I couldn’t get past a level for over a week. But I don’t use apps on my BlackBerry, not even social media. That’s another reason why I haven’t switched to an iPhone—I’m too worried that I’ll be texting someone something private and all of a sudden it’ll say, “Your tweet has been sent.”

Are you a TV junkie?

I am, yes. It’s funny, I don’t watch a lot of scripted shows. I do watch every single Real Housewives franchise, and I watch every show on Investigation Discovery, like Deadly Women and Twisted and Evil, I. On the weekends, my sister and I check our DVRs for Lifetime movies. Something super cheesy and awesome. And I am always hitting up for documentaries—I just saw the most extraordinary one called Casting By, and I highly recommend it.

When you were preparing to play Marina Oswald, what did you read or watch?

Most of the research was JFK-based. I watched several documentaries about him. Of course I read the original book, Killing Kennedy, and Marina and Lee, which was the only book that Marina ever sat down and gave an interview for.

What’s on your personal reading list?

I don’t normally do trend books. But everyone’s been talking about Gone Girl, and I hear Gillian Flynn is amazing. So that’s on my list. And I’m a huge Margaret Atwood fan—my favorite book is The Handmaid’s Tale—so I’m excited to read her new book MaddAddam. I feel like so many of these dystopian novels and movies that are coming out now are pulling from her work.

How do you wind down before bed?

Late-night TV. Usually Storage Wars is on at 2 in the morning—I’m a bit of a night owl. And I do have to admit that my love of Toddlers and Tiaras came from late-night viewing. It was my Halloween costume a few years ago before it got really popular—I was so proud of that!

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