Piping Hot Piper Perabo
BY TOM GOTTLIEB
Cardigan ($670) and pants ($595), D&G. Saks Fifth Avenue, Tysons Galleria; saks.com. Panthère de
Cartier bracelet ($49,600) and Panthère de Cartier ring ($21,900), Cartier. The Collection at Chevy Chase; cartier.com. Shoes, Stuart Weitzman ($395). Tysons Galleria; stuartweitzman.com.
Falling in love hasn’t always been easy for Piper Perabo. She’s explaining this to me, the difficulty of developing a romantic rapport with actors who like to keep their on-screen love interests at a safe distance, when something occurs to me: Perabo is almost impossibly disarming. She’s attractive in that approachable, down-to-earth sort of way that few celebrities are, but with the enviable bone structure and even more enviable body (more on that in a bit) we’ve come to expect of them. She’s exceedingly polite: She asks for me by my full name when she calls, even though she’s ringing my cell phone; she compliments me profusely at the end of the interview—she even talks about how she couldn’t introduce herself to Tilda Swinton during this year’s Golden Globe Awards because she thought it too rude (she had someone else introduce her). And she’s effusive without being annoyingly peppy; her energy, even over the phone, is infectious. What I’m trying to say is, how could you not love Piper Perabo?
Lucky for the 34-year-old actress, her latest role, as CIA superspy Annie Walker on the USA Network’s Covert Affairs, has succeeded in turning plenty of heads. It was a ratings behemoth last summer, coming in at the number one spot for a cable series. It earned Perabo a coveted Golden Globe nomination. And, on the show at least, she’s fending off a minor horde of male suitors. (Perabo is notoriously tight-lipped about her private life; she politely deflected a few of my more personal questions.)
“One of the things I really like about Annie is how brave she is,” Perabo explains about her star turn. “She leaps before she looks.” You could certainly make the argument that this extends to Annie’s love life. But when your current office love interests are portrayed by Christopher Gorham—as the blind and shaggily handsome Auggie, willing to indulge her enthusiasm for danger—and Sendhil Ramamurthy as Jai (aka “the George Clooney of wherever he’s from,” as Annie’s sister hungrily observed in the show’s premiere season), it turns out you don’t need to work quite so hard at it.
“Chris Gorham is one of those guys who’s such a good guy that if you play his friend, after three scenes, it’s like, ‘Hey, you wanna go grab a beer and some pizza after this?’” says Perabo. “You can’t help it.” And Ramamurthy? “Some people look good on television, then you see them in real life and you’re like, ‘Oh, I get it—he’s only, like, four feet tall, or his head is way too big for his body.’ When Sendhil walks into a room, people just stare because he’s so handsome. I felt that way from the minute he walked into his audition. I was like, ‘Holy cow!’”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY WARWICK SAINT
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.