A.J. Cook is almost famous. The Canadian born actor first caught the attention of critics in the highly acclaimed film, Virgin Suicides, and now her resume reads like every Hollywood twenty-somethings’ starry-eyed wish list: feature films and ten television roles.
Currently playing the plum role of an FBI profiler, Jennifer Jareau, in the new CBS hit television show Criminal Minds, Cook has catapulted herself into the big league with award-winning co-stars Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson.
Unfailingly polite, Cook did not appear the least bit ruffled when the Animal Fair crew invaded her Californian townhouse. First to greet us at the door was Zara, Cook’s newly adopted one-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. Animal Fair sat down with Cook and her husband Nathan Andersen (who assumes the real-life role of an associate with Pacific Pet Transport – a company whose client list reads like a “who’s who” of animal actors in Hollywood) to discuss animal rearing, protecting her privacy, and working on Criminal Minds.
AF: What would be the absolute worst thing about becoming A-List famous?
AC: I can’t imagine what it would be like to have people dive into your personal life. I am a really private
person. I think that’s why I’ve never had a publicist.
AF: When you take Zara for walks, are you recognized along the boardwalk?
AC: It’s funny. The movie I’m most recognized for is the snowboarding comedy, Out Cold. It had a cult
following and people notice me for that.
I haven’t been recognized once for Criminal Minds. Now that the show is becoming more popular, I worry about being recognized. Sometimes I get double takes from people thinking, ‘I know that girl, but I don’t know how I know that girl’.
AF: How would you identify your dog-rearing skills?
AC: Hmmm, my husband would be a graduate of the school of “Loving but Firm”, and I would be a graduate of “Loving but Lenient”.
AF: I’m told you turned down a hotel voucher after seventeen hours on the set. Did you have something else in mind at the end of the day?
AC: I love coming home, opening the door, and seeing Zara there waiting for me. She gets so excited to see us, [and] she always beats my husband to the door. Then I unwind with Nathan, and just spend time together.