Elisabeth Moss Gets Candid About Her Childhood And Entry Into Acting

Elisabeth Moss is considered one of the best actors of our generation — full stop. "The Handmaid's Tale" star is known for taking on challenging and dark roles, which she says is a deliberate career choice. "I like playing roles that are very conflicted or have some major trauma, which is all very different from my life," she told The New Yorker. But while she has already made a name for herself in the industry, she revealed that acting was not her first choice in terms of career.

In a guest appearance on the "Smart Less" podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, Moss talked about growing up in a family of artists, her stint as a ballet dancer, and how she found her way into acting. She studied ballet in New York City as a child but decided to pursue acting as she found it to be "easier" than dancing. "I loved both of them and I started acting when I was really young, but acting is easier to keep up than dancing. Dancing, you have to go every day and it becomes your whole life," she said, adding that she eventually realized that she loved acting more. "I could think about a life without ballet but I couldn't imagine not acting."

Moss said that she realized her talent in it from the get-go, with her first role that happened to be opposite someone she really admired: Sandra Bullock.

Elisabeth Moss' first acting gig was with Sandra Bullock

Elisabeth Moss started her career working with A-listers. In the "Smart Less" podcast, she recalled her first professional acting gig, in which she played Sandra Bullock's daughter. That's when she knew that she was cut out for acting after all. "I think my first real professional gig was this Lifetime movie called 'Lucky Chances' and I played a girl whose mom died, and my mom ... was Sandra Bullock. I had to find her dead, face-down in the pool when I was like 6 or 7 years old," she shared. "I was like 'this is awesome, I love this. Let's keep doing this.'"

Moss added that being a professional artist made sense, and "being anything else would've been weird" as she came from a family of successful musicians. Being cast in the film "Girl, Interrupted" was a pivotal career moment. She said, "There were all these great women in that, Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy, Clea DuVall...so that was kind of the one where I was like 'oh, this is something I think I'm good at.'"

And now, she's on top of her acting A-game and continues to find ways to challenge herself with her roles. "I'm never looking to make it easier on myself," she told Vanity Fair. "For me at this point, it's more about how do I make it harder? How do I find something that I haven't done yet?"