Celeb Spotlight: Jenna Fischer

Celeb Spotlight: Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer
Frazer Harrison/Getty

12/06/2005 AT 06:00 AM EST

Age: 31
Hometown: St. Louis
Current gig: Playing bored receptionist Pam on NBC's hit comedy, The Office

She's paid her dues – in paper cuts
Fischer had plenty of research material to draw on when she landed the part of a miserable worker-drone on The Office. "I have had a billion office jobs," says the former temp, who can type more than 75 words a minute. "And many crappy work experiences." Among the worst? Her brief stint as a pay-per-call psychic. "I was really broke," she says of answering an ad looking for fortunetellers, despite her lack of experience with crystal balls. She lasted two days. "(I) just felt so guilty," having to keep callers on the line, Fischer says. "I never even collected my paycheck."

So when Fischer – who began acting at 5 – got called back for her breakout role in The Office, "it was like God was dangling my dream job in front of me."

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Her office parties are actually fun
"Every Tuesday we rotate houses and watch the show together," Fischer says about her Office-mates. "We are huge geeks about our own show." Their job description might explain the enthusiasm: "We pretty much laugh all day long." On the set, they've developed more than watercooler camaraderie, swapping recipes and lunching together. "We've all become such real friends ... it makes this job such a blessing."

Back at home, her bond is tight with her screenwriter husband of five years, James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead). The two share an adopted terrier mix, Wesley, a 13-year-old cat, Andy, and a passion for the largest member of their family: a pig. Last year as a birthday gift for Gunn, they adopted the porker, who lives on a farm sanctuary. "So on the weekends we'll go visit our pig."

She's anything but idle
Unlike receptionist Pam, Fischer isn't using her downtime to file her nails (though she does admit to updating her MySpace profile). The busy actress recently tried her hand at writing and directing her first feature, a mostly improvised mockumentary called LolliLove, costarring Gunn and due on DVD in March. In turn, she has a small part in her husband's upcoming horror film, Slither, playing – what else? – a receptionist. "I do tend to play a lot of waitresses receptionists, secretaries," she says, citing her approachable demeanor as the typecasting culprit.

She's got the nesting bug
"I'm very Martha Stewart," Fischer says of prepping for the holidays. "My paper plates have a theme and that theme is repeated throughout the entire buffet." And though she admits that she's "not a very good cook," she still likes the challenge of hosting family dinners for 30 or more, including their Christmas parties in St. Louis. "It's intense. It's a marathon. We gear up for it," she says of her expanded family (thanks to one of her husband's five siblings, Gilmore Girls actor Sean Gunn, who introduced the two).

As for plans to start their own large brood, Fischer and Gunn are in no rush. "I've always said these might be only two-baby hips," she says of her petite frame. Besides, "it's all in the timing and what we're blessed with. I don't see six."

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