What The Cast Of New Girl Is Doing Today

The following references sexual assault allegations and hate crimes.

Who's that girl? We all know the answer to this one. With her kooky personality and love of the almighty Peter Pan collar, Zooey Deschanel's "New Girl" protagonist Jess Day encapsulated the twee chic and adorkable indie comedy stylings of the early 2010s. Emboldened by her equally quirky roommates, Jess was never too far away from concocting a harebrained scheme or subjecting herself to a very public faux pas. 

"New Girl" was perhaps the ultimate millennial sitcom. A bunch of pals in their 30s renting an apartment together is arguably more relatable in the post-Covid era than when the series debuted in 2011. With people renting with friends, rather than purchasing their own homes, being at an all time high due to rocketing property prices, most of us can relate to the complexities of being forced to share a space with idiosyncratic pals — and all the oddities that come with it.

From the principal cast members to the larger array of supporting characters, there was no shortage of special cameos and A-list talent in the hit comedy. As sitcoms are traditionally seen as a vehicle to launch an actor's career, "New Girl" has propelled some of its otherwise lesser known and emerging talents onto illustrious stardom. Since its finale in 2018, the show's cast have achieved varying degrees of success. From action-packed podcasts to Instagram influencing, let's see what the cast of "New Girl" is up to today.

Jake Johnson has been focusing on writing

On "New Girl," Nick was always sort of like a PG-13 rated version of Charlie from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" — an eternal manchild ready to rant in a bizarre half-hearted shriek at any minor inconvenience (Bustle even posed a theory that "New Girl" is "IASIP" in a more wholesome dimension). Jake Johnson played Nick with aplomb, but these days he's eager to take on dual acting and writing duties. 

In 2021, he partnered with filmmaker Trent O'Donnell to write the low-key comedy "Ride the Eagle," in which he also starred. "In the midst of the pandemic, while missing everyone, Trent O'Donnell and I wanted to make a movie about people coming together," Johnson said, per The Wrap. "We also want to introduce the greatest actor of our generation: my dog Nora." Per his IMDb page, he has two more writing projects in post-production: "The Henchmen," which he penned with his "New Girl" co-star Damon Wayans Jr., and the comedy "Catalina."

Aside from his writing work, Johnson is among an increasingly lengthy list of actors who have joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He lent his voice to 2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," playing one of many incarnations of the titular superhero, and is set to reprise the role in the upcoming sequel, "Across the Spider-Verse," per Rotten Tomatoes. On the small screen, he was praised for his role in the 2022 HBO series "Minx," which The Guardian hailed as a "joyful feminist porn comedy."

Lamorne Morris has an impressive résumé

Who couldn't warm to the original crazy cat dude, Winston? Even when he was plotting his ridiculous schemes under his Prank Sinatra alias (lest we forget him registering BFF Nick as a sex offender), Winston was unwaveringly lovable, testament to Lamorne Morris' acting talents. It's unsurprising, then, that Morris has starred in a number of acclaimed films since the "New Girl" finale.

In 2019, he worked with Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle on his romcom "Yesterday," playing the head of a music label who struggles to understand the appeal of the Beatles in the modern day (Morris lamenting that "The White Album" is too, well, white was pinpointed as a highlight of the film). When the pandemic hit, Morris didn't let quarantine stifle his creativity. He launched the scripted, '80s nostalgia-fueled action podcast "Unwanted," focusing on the efforts of two slacker pals in apprehending a murderer. "We grew up on 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'Die Hard' and every Jean-Claude van Damme film... I wasn't able to be an actor back then and I'm upset about it," Morris joked to People

Additionally, in 2020, he scored his first lead sitcom role in Hulu's "Woke," as a cartoonist who begins to question racial injustice (with the help of anthropomorphic everyday objects) after a run-in with the police, per IndieWire. That year, he also had a leading role on the big screen, in thriller dramedy "Death of a Telemarketer," with The Guardian lauding his charismatic performance.

Max Greenfield is working closely with Ryan Murphy

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Max Greenfield in the role of Schmidt, the vain womanizer with an unhealthy relationship with his hair conditioner. But as Greenfield has proven in recent years, he is skillful as both a comedic and dramatic actor.

These days, Greenfield is a close collaborator of Ryan Murphy. In 2018, he starred in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," taking on a decidedly different, darker role from those fans are used to seeing him in. In an interview with amNewYork, he emphasized the importance of showing the vulnerability of his character, Ronnie, a man living with AIDS who has gone to great lengths to isolate himself from society, only to befriend serial killer Andrew Cunanan in his loneliness. "For somebody who is so completely on their own in Miami, living minute by minute... to find any sort of friendship, was so important for him," he explained. "He didn't want to believe Andrew could've done something very harmful." Greenfield worked with Murphy again when he appeared in "American Horror Stories" for Season 2 in 2022, per TV Insider.

The actor is also presently starring on sitcom "The Neighborhood," which he swiftly moved onto following the "New Girl" finale in 2018, per Variety. An allegory for gentrification, the series sees Greenfield play a white man who moves into a predominantly Black neighborhood, much to the chagrin of family man Cedric the Entertainer, who finds Greenfield's sickly sweet schtick hard to stomach.

Zooey Deschanel swapped acting for hosting

As the adorkable hero of "New Girl," Jess Day charmed her way into the hearts of fans (not to mention Nick) with her perennially positive persona. Since the sitcom's finale, Deschanel has been keeping super busy, but not necessarily with acting. Although she lent her voice to the "Trolls" franchise, and starred in the musical biography "Dreamin' Wild" in 2022, she has recently focused more on hosting and music, per her IMDb page.

In 2021, she started hosting "The Celebrity Dating Game" alongside Michael Bolton. Speaking with Bustle, she revealed that the pandemic spurred her into moving out of her comfort zone, thus accepting the gig. "Ultimately I'm an actor first and foremost, so I was like, 'I could play the part of a person hosting a show,' which was fun," she mused. The following year, her group She & Him announced the release of a Beach Boys covers album, per Pitchfork. Along with "New Girl" co-stars Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris, she also launched the iHeartMedia podcast "Welcome to Our Show."

Chatting to The Guardian, Deschanel was asked whether the more empowered post-MeToo era had hindered her acting career due to her tendency to be cast in stereotypical "manic pixie dream girl" roles. "I think the tendency is still to make women one-dimensional," she conceded, "so you have to add dimension, if you can. The more screen time a female character gets, the more space there is to show complexities, but there has been a shift, so I'm optimistic."

Hannah Simone is keeping it low-key

As the drop-dead gorgeous model who stole womanizer Schmidt's heart on "New Girl," Hannah Simone's Cece was a much needed antidote to the brodom in which Jess Day was forced to live. Given Simone's own modeling background, it comes as little surprise that she's killing it as an Instagram influencer these days. Through the social media platform, where she has an impressive 1.4 million followers, she has scored some major brand ambassadorships, including with Hyundai.

In 2019, Simone joined The Lonely Island for their Netflix special "The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience." She and Jenny Slate riotously portrayed office workers whom Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer try to woo, with zero success, per Men's Health.

In 2020, Simone delved into children's TV when she joined the main cast of the Disney Junior animated series "Mira, Royal Detective." Speaking with HollywoodLife, she said that she was excited to be part of a show that had an all-South Asian ensemble cast, which includes Kal Penn and Freida Pinto. "They were like, it's got the South Asian lead character named Mira, who is going to be voiced by a young girl, and we're going to surround her with an all-star South Asian cast... I was like, I'm in," she enthused. Simone is now returning to her sitcom roots, with Deadline announcing in 2022 that she's been cast in ABC's "Not Dead Yet," where she's set to play Sam, a newspaper editor who befriends Gina Rodriguez's floundering journalist.

Damon Wayans Jr. has been working with his dad

As the cheeky but charming Coach, Damon Wayans Jr. provided a chaotic energy to the orderliness that Schmidt inflicted upon his roommates. A member of the Wayans brood, it was announced in 2022 that the actor is set to team up with his dad, Damon Wayans Sr., for an untitled new CBS sitcom, as Deadline reports.

In the meantime, he's been keeping super busy with a number of other sitcom roles. As "New Girl" came to an end, Wayans Jr. had a memorable guest role on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Season 9 as a cop feuding with Larry over the aggressiveness of his car horn, per The Ringer. Thereafter, he played the lead in "Happy Together," as a celeb accountant for an insufferable YouTuber. Unfortunately, the show received generally negative reviews and was canceled after one season due to poor ratings, as TVLine notes.

Like his former co-star Zooey Deschanel, Wayans Jr. has also ventured into TV hosting gigs. Alongside Kyle Brandt, he presented the competition show "Frogger," based on the video game of the same name, in 2021, per The Hollywood Reporter. But stand-up remains his biggest passion, and he's been active on the comedy circuit of late. In an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Wayans Jr. revealed that his famous father remains his greatest inspo when writing stand-up material. "I'll definitely talk about my father for quite awhile," he quipped. "He has roasted me for years, so I'll roast him for about 15 to 20 minutes."

Nasim Pedrad is a boss in front of and behind the camera

Towards the end of "New Girl," fans were treated to a whole host of new characters, including Aly, Winston's cop partner turned love interest, played by "Saturday Night Live" star Nasim Pedrad. In her post-"New Girl" and "SNL" career, Pedrad has been concurrently showcasing her skills in front of and behind the camera. 

She created, wrote, and produced the sitcom "Chad" in 2021, portraying the titular protagonist, a 14-year-old boy. In a feature for Interview Magazine, Pedrad was quizzed by her erstwhile onscreen husband, Lamorne Morris, and discussed how her Iranian heritage shaped the "Chad" writing process. "I was chasing the joy we had working together on 'New Girl,' where you're laughing a lot and everyone shares a sensibility... I just pulled a lot from my own life and my experience as an immigrant kid feeling caught between two cultures," she revealed.

On the big screen, she scored the role of Dalia in the 2019 live action remake of "Aladdin." Unlike the 1992 animated film, the cast was mostly comprised of Middle Eastern and South Asian actors this time around, which Pedrad deemed instrumental in challenging racist stereotypes. "Growing up a child, there weren't many portrayals of Middle Eastern cultures in Hollywood at the time so to see that in the animated version as an Iranian-American girl and identify with it was hugely impactful," she told Entertainment Weekly. The following year, she teamed up with Morris again for the comedy film "Desperados."

Megan Fox has been collabing with her beau

When Zooey Deschanel was on maternity leave, Megan Fox took over "New Girl" duties as Reagan, a businesswoman whom Nick falls for. Although once tipped as the new Angelina Jolie, Fox took a lengthy break from acting in the 2010s, per The Cut. However, as The Washington Post notes, she is currently enjoying a renaissance. In 2020, she emerged from obscurity to appear in action thriller "Rogue." Speaking to Refinery29 about her comeback, Fox explained that she'd developed newfound confidence in her acting capabilities. "I was like, f*** that, why did I live for a decade thinking that I was s*** at something when I was actually pretty decent at it?" she exclaimed.

In addition to her acting work, Fox has found herself in the spotlight more than ever due to her relationship with musician Machine Gun Kelly. The couple has developed a strong collaborative partnership; Fox first met her beau when they starred alongside each other in the 2021 film "Midnight in the Switchgrass." In an interview with Glamour, she declared that the meeting was meant to be. "I didn't know why I was taking the movie," she admitted. "I just knew I needed to do it for some reason... He's literally my exact physical type that I've been manifesting since I was four." Though the project received overwhelmingly negative reviews, that didn't stop the loved-up twosome from collabing again. The following year, they starred in the film "Good Morning," which Kelly also wrote and directed.

Brenda Song is a busy working mom

Disney Channel alum Brenda Song appeared in "New Girl" as Daisy, a love interest of Winston (though, in typical Winston fashion, he ultimately turns out to be more interested in her cat). In recent years, Song has moved away from the wholesome Disney roles that once defined her, appearing in a slew of indie films. In 2019, she starred in Seth Green's directorial debut "Changeland," which is where she met her future fiancé, Macaulay Culkin, per Esquire.

The couple welcomed their first child in 2021 and announced their engagement the following year. In an interview with The Cut, Song explained that she and Culkin are rarely home alone: Motherhood takes up most of her time these days, but she admitted that she's still on that actor's grind. "Careers aren't defined by what you say yes to. They're defined by what you say no to," she reflected. "That's been a mantra of mine, being firm and strong in my nos. In acting, it's hard to say no. You feel like opportunities won't come around again. But you have to prioritize yourself."

That doesn't mean she isn't devoted to her craft, however. Alongside Kat Dennings, she had a lead role in the Hulu comedy series "Dollface," until its cancelation in 2022, per TVLine. That year, she also announced that she'd collaborated with Amazon Handmade to curate a wedding collection in anticipation of her own nuptials, per People.

Mary Elizabeth Ellis has been killing it as a comedic actor

Remember when we mentioned that theory about "New Girl" being a wholesome bizarro world version of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"? Case in point: Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who played Nick's ex, Caroline. As fans of the irreverent FX sitcom know, Ellis plays The Waitress in "Always Sunny," the unrequited love interest of Charlie Day, to whom Ellis is married IRL.

Speaking with Us Weekly, Ellis, who returned to the series for Season 15, said that she finds her role on the long-running sitcom to be cathartic. "It's good therapy," she joked. "Yeah. Everyone should do it. Like role-playing of like, 'I'm your stalker and you're awful to me.'" But despite what the "Always Sunny" barflies may think, Ellis is so much more than The Waitress.

In recent years, she's starred in a whole slew of acclaimed projects. The actor had a role in the Oscar-nominated Paul Thomas Anderson film "Licorice Pizza," playing protagonist Gary's momager, per Slant. That year, she teamed up with fellow "New Girl" star Zoe Lister-Jones (more on her later) for "How It Ends," a dramedy about the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Paste Magazine notes. And, testament to how much she loves working with her hubby, she's set to star in Charlie Day's upcoming directorial debut. Deadline first announced the project, initially entitled "El Tonto," in 2018, but Day confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter in 2022 that it would be released very soon following a thorough recut.

Justin Long and the Longaissance

As Jess' nice guy turned outright weirdo boyfriend Paul, Justin Long was a riot on "New Girl" (few fans can forget Jess' attempts to seduce Paul in a legendarily cringeworthy scene). At the time of his appearance in the sitcom, Long was hot stuff, but he soon disappeared from the mainstream for several years. But, as Vulture notes, 2022 is proving to be "the Longaissance."

This year, the star has shown his aptitude as a scream king, acting in multiple horror films. If "New Girl" fans thought Long's appearance on the show was toe-curling, then his role in spooky flick "Barbarian" is stomach-wrenching: In one scene, he is, erm, nursed by a demonic force. But the horror buff is more than game for putting himself in uncomfortable situations. "A grown man? No. This is a first for me anyway," he told Vulture of the creepy scene. "It was actually surprisingly funny, because there's a very thin line between something creepy, unsettling, and potentially cinematic and something that is over-the-top farce — comical for the wrong reasons." The creature feature has developed a cult following, as Rolling Stone notes.

He also starred in Neil LaBute's "House of Darkness" alongside his long term partner Kate Bosworth. Critics lauded the sexual politics of the film, with horror site Bloody Disgusting praising the couple's complex onscreen chemistry. Soon, fans will see Long in real life ghost story "Dear David," about a BuzzFeed employee's sinister supernatural encounter, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Nelson Franklin is an avid Twitch streamer

Once described in "New Girl" as resembling "the guy who shot John Lennon dressed as a Ninja Turtle," Nelson Franklin played Robby, who dated both Jess (well, until they found out they were cousins) and her bestie, Cece. A lowkey and unconventional actor, Franklin has been building up a steady acting résumé these past few years. He had a main role in the short-lived NBC series "Abby's," a bar-based comedy also starring Natalie Morales and "Scrubs" star Neil Flynn. In an interview with AV Club, Franklin proved that he's not only a talented actor, but mindful one, praising the diversity of the show's cast and production staff. "We had no white male directors the first season of the show," he revealed. "It was all women and people of color."

Although not as successful as his fellow "New Girl" stars, Franklin has nevertheless made a name for himself in the movie world. In addition to a brief appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe via a minor part in "Captain Marvel" — a role that he called "a dream come true" — he also acted in the Oscar-nominated "Being the Ricardos."

But Franklin's true passion is gaming. Away from acting, he is a Twitch streamer under the name Slaughterpop. "I'm a film and TV actor you might recognize from something or other. My #1 hobby has been gaming for over 30 years now, and I've decided to finally start sharing it," he enthuses on his profile.

Olivia Munn is committed to activism

Olivia Munn starred as Nick's girlfriend, Angie, on "New Girl," but left the hit television show to focus on Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," as she revealed to SheKnows. But it wasn't until she reached her mid 30s that Munn began to enjoy a career breakthrough. She had a starring role on the Starz series "The Rook" and also lent her voice to the acclaimed Hulu animation "Hit-Monkey," depicting supervillain Akiko, per Marvel.

And now that she's an A-lister, the actor is using her fame for good. In 2021, Munn, who is of Chinese heritage on her mom's side, spoke out following a spate of hate crimes against Asian people. Regarding an attack on a Chinese woman in New York, Munn told NBC News about the importance of raising awareness of anti-Asian hate. "It was just immediate that we had to post it, amplify it," she stated. 

Moreover, she's heavily criticized the depiction of Asian women in Hollywood, admitting to CBS News that she hasn't worked as much as she'd like due to prioritizing her integrity in lieu of taking on stereotypical, offensive roles. "As an Asian American woman, the rules are: to be the submissive wife, or to be the out of control wife, to just constantly, be supporting other people's storylines... For me, it has meant that I don't work as much as I would want to, because, in order to work, I'd have to take a lot more of those offers," she explained.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Zoe Lister-Jones is fighting the patriarchy

In the later seasons of "New Girl," we were introduced to ambitious city councilwoman Fawn Moscato, played with panache by Zoe Lister-Jones. Much like her gutsy "New Girl" character, Lister-Jones is not afraid of tackling the patriarchy head on.

In 2021, she opened up about the alleged sexual harassment she endured from "Sex and the City" star Chris Noth, who is currently facing multiple sexual assault allegations. In a heartfelt Instagram post, the actor described Noth as a "sexual predator," detailing how he allegedly sexually harassed her when she was a guest star on "Law and Order." "Part of being a woman in this world is taking a certain amount of pride in knowing how to handle yourself in these situations," she reflected. "In denying their impact as a means of survival." Noth's reps told E! News that Lister-Jones' allegations are false.

In addition to speaking out against alleged predatory men, Lister-Jones has been proving herself to be a bonafide girl boss. In 2020, she directed the reboot of 1996 horror cult classic "The Craft." The following year, she co-directed and starred in "How It Ends" during the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside her then partner Daryl Wein. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she discussed the cathartic nature of the latter experience. "In the process of writing this film, I never knew how important a dialogue with one's younger self is in order to try to heal some of those wounds and be able to really evolve," she poignantly said.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).