Just a couple of weeks after she and the rest of the Girls cast wrapped their final season, I sat down to chat with Allison Williams at her latest Keds campaign shoot. The actress was in a nostalgic mood—she'd just posted a series of throwback stills from the show on Instagram. And, as she revealed, she had been crying nearly every day since.
"Yesterday, this woman came up to me, and I had my rain jacket and hood on, and I was sad—I had been crying for three days," Williams recalled. "She just gave me a hug and was like, 'It's going to be OK,' and I was like, 'Thank you.'"
It's the end of an era for Williams, but we—like that woman—know that she's going to be OK. From figuring out what's next to buying keepsakes from the set, to letting herself "feel married" to Marnie here's how Williams coped (or, is coping) with parting ways with the onscreen character she's played for the past six years.
1. TAKING A MOURNING PERIOD
"Lena and I just sat around for the past two weeks [after the final episode] and just looked at old pictures and indulged in the memories of it," Williams said. "This experience has been a blessing. It's given me family and friends for life. And I know people throw that around a lot, and whenever a show’s ending, it’s so boring because everyone says the same sh*t, and I don’t always believe them, but these are my family members. Because of the kind of show that this is, it’s very vulnerable, intimate."
2. QUESTIONING HER LIFE AND EXPERIENCES
"It’s basically like we’re bidding our 20s farewell. Because I lived like a New York girl's twenty-something experience through Marnie, I gave her that experience and as a result, I had a much more abnormal twenty-something experience. And so now, am I 22 again now? Do I have to now go back through all of those phases?" she asked. "How much of me is shaped by this experience and how much is just who I am now because of this experience?"
VIDEO: See the Looks from the Girls Premiere
3. ACCEPTING THAT IT'S OVER
"I think I’ll find out [about how I feel] probably around next summer, because in the spring, my body’s going to feel like getting ready to go back to Silvercup Studios to shoot more Girls, do the first table read, do the first fitting," she said. "That's been my life, my rhythm for six years."
4. LETTING US ASSOCIATE HER WITH MARNIE
"I’m totally fine if people ask, ‘Are you Marnie?' for a little while longer," she said. "It won’t bother me, or forever for that matter. I’m very proud of her, I’m proud of the show, I’m proud of what a full human being she is. I feel like I helped make someone very three-dimensional and if she feels real enough that they think they can really compare us, then that’s a testament to the writing and the creation and the direction of the show. I loved playing her, and I can’t believe I don’t get to do it anymore. I'm really lucky it happened at the beginning of my career, and I'm lucky it was a character I really respect."
5. ...WHILE FIGURING OUT HOW TO PLAY OTHER CHARACTERS
"I used to be petrified that I was going to be stuck as Marnie forever, but I have a little bit more faith now," she said. "I played Peter Pan, and he's a British boy who flies and sings, and he's very different from Marnie. I really only play people who are nothing like her."
6. EMBRACING HER CHARACTER'S STYLE
"By the end, my look and Marnie's look were nearly indistinguishable. My everyday look was basically my costume, and I was like, Oh god, this transformation is eerie,'" she said. "We started out dressing fairly similarly, like jeans and heels and that red DVF dress—not at all a crazy departure from what I would wear. Then she went into this whole singer-songwriter look that was just pretty terrible. And then this season [season 7], she’s reverted back to basics, which has been nice."
7. BUYING MARNIE'S POSSESSIONS
"The things I want from Marnie’s wardrobe are the iconic pieces, so the plastic dress that she wore to Jonathan’s party is going to the HBO archives, but I want to try to get the dress that she sang 'Stronger' in and that DVF dress from the Highline in that episode," she said. "I already bought the things that were most special to me: her guitar and her engagement and wedding band. I wore them yesterday, because I just needed to feel married to her. I wore them until I went to bed last night and then I didn’t put them on this morning because that felt a little unhealthy, frankly.
"It just feels a little crazy to have two sets of wedding and engagement bands on my hand. Lena and Jenny gave me this beautiful ring and after they gave it to me, I put it in between these two rings, so it was kind of like I’m married to both my lovely husband and to Jenny and Lena, which feels pretty accurate, honestly given how much time I’ve spent with both of them."