Tess Broussard may be a Southern belle, but she is certainly no shrinking violet. As the co-star on Comedy Central’s hit show, Kroll Show, Tess handles herself like a lady—while still being dishing out the laughs. We spoke exclusively with the soft-spoken actress about pursuing your passion, what it’s really like to be a single mom, and why it can be fun to die—twice.
Let’s talk about your background, Tess.
I’m Chinese, Hawaiian and French. My Dad is Cajun; my parents met when my mom was in Europe modeling. They were married three months later.
Were you always into performing?
I would perform in high school and I loved it. I was also always a fitness buff. In high school I majored in every sport imaginable. I could bounce a quarter off of any part of my body. I was doing a lot of fitness and swimsuit modeling while I was at Pepperdine University.
I got an agent and she wanted me to go to acting school because I had a really thick southern accent. I was booking commercials and then got involved with Playboy. I was a Playboy model and I did a lot of their movies, too. It was an amazing experience. I got a part on the series, V. R. Troopers, and that was super fun too. I had too many broken bones from sparring and getting my butt kicked, so I didn’t do it after that. I did more hostessing work, and I did The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel. Little by little I got to say more and more lines, which made me so happy!
Now let’s talk about you being on the Kroll Show.
I tried out for this show called Kroll Show. I wrote my own script and then I went really big with my audition. I got the part and I was so excited. I got called back to come back and be a regular on the show, playing Nick Kroll’s wife, Shannon. It’s a very dysfunctional family, to say the least.
You’re going into your third season now, right?
Yes, I have been on for two seasons and going into the third. In the second season, I get killed, two ways. The first way is violently by Dr. Armand because I had a relationship with his son! Oops me. [laughs] And then I die another way, too. But the juicy parts are so much fun.
So what is it like being a single mom?
It’s been a true delight. I did a lot of things that I wanted to do when I was younger. I had my daughter later on in life and now I can devote my time to her. It works for me. I don’t know what it would be like to have a husband and work together to raise a kid. I’m so used to being a single mom and I honestly love it.
You’re mom and dad.
That’s true. I’m very involved in her school. I am such a nerd. I love volunteering at her school’s library. She loves it because when I go to see her at lunch she runs up to me and hugs me. She likes to go shopping with me, too. We have a lot of fun together. She’ll even do the red carpet with me!
I have my kids with me a lot, too. It’s good for kids to see their moms working and doing something that they love, so they get the idea that work can fulfill you in a whole other way that doesn’t relate to them.
I think it’s great that you bring your kids with you. And I absolutely agree; with the way everything is today, your kids do become a part of your work life. I want to be a role model for my daughter, to encourage her to follow her dreams and make them a reality. Just like her mom did.