Exclusive with MAD MEN’s Sam Page

Study in Contrast

On Mad Men, Sam Page plays the husband of buxom redhead Joan; on Desperate Housewives, he mixes it up with Bree; and in Gossip Girl he is the love interest of Blake Lively’s character Serena van der Woodsen. In real life, Sam Page is an Ivy League-educated guy, who is making a big splash in Hollywood. A man of contrasts, Page gives us an exclusive glimpse into his fashionable side.

Photographs: Eric Silverberg

Styling: Ashley Phan-Weston

Interview: RJ Simons

Having co-starred alongside some of the hottest women in showbiz, Sam Page is upwardly mobile. After growing up in a small Wisconsin town and graduating in the late 1990s from Princeton, Sam Page decided he would head to Hollywood to make his name. Now, after 10 years of working in the biz, he is finally getting some well-earned recognition from the industry. Always a high-achieving guy, whether on the sports field in school or in the science lab at Princeton, Page is seemingly following in the footsteps of some other notable thespians with Ivy League educations, including David Duchovny (The X-Files), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Edward Norton (Fight Club) and Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta). Page was also happy to share some exclusive details with DA MAN about his life and career.

DA MAN: You graduated with a degree in biology from Princeton University; that hardly seems like the typical path to Hollywood stardom. How did that all work out?
Sam Page: Well, through my entire childhood, my goal was to play Major League Baseball, a path that included, without question, playing baseball in college. I was recruited by Princeton to play, and it seemed like the best of both worlds: playing NCAA Division 1 baseball while getting arguably the best undergraduate education in the country, if not the world. Along with baseball, my other passion was film, though between a regular class load and the extracurricular requirements of baseball, film/drama study just wasn’t an option for me at the time. I still adamantly and studiously watched as many films as I could, probably to the detriment of my university studies, but decided to major in ecology and evolutionary biology because it was something I was fascinated by and was driven to learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding. By the time I graduated, a career in baseball wasn’t much of an option, and I decided to finally turn my passion for film and television into a career focus. I moved out to L.A. with the understanding that I was well behind the curve as far as experience, but knowing that the one thing I did have was a passion and an insatiable appetite, if not an inherent need, to learn about acting and filmmaking.

DA MAN: So what prepared you for acting?
Sam Page:
Playing any sport at a high enough level of competition or pursuing any kind of higher education where you are practicing and competing every single day requires a great degree of dedication, ambition and discipline all to work toward a relative performance. In that sense, doing those things helped prepare me for an acting career.

DA MAN: You must often find yourself being the ‘smartest guy in the room,’ how do you deal with that?
Sam Page:
I don’t know if I’ve ever been the smartest guy in any room. To be completely honest, I’ve never really thought about it.

DA MAN: What do you do in your leisure time now; still keep up with biology journals or still play baseball?
Sam Page:
I do still play baseball, but the only exposure I still have to biology studies are the science section of the Tuesday New York Times and reading Richard Dawkins, of whom I am a huge fan. I am currently reading his book, The Greatest Show On Earth. It may be my favorite of all his books.

DA MAN: You star on Mad Men as the husband of buxom redhead Christina Hendricks’ character Joan Harris and in the fourth season of Gossip Girl as the ‘love interest’ of Blake Lively’s character Serena van der Woodsen. How do you score such enviable roles with these sex symbols?
Sam Page:
Actually, working opposite the kind of inherent sex appeal that Christina and Blake both have—in spades—is easy. It doesn’t take much imagination to fall for them between ‘action’ and ‘cut.’ Every scene I’ve had with those two is driven, in some way, by either love or attraction. Not a bad way to make a living.

DA MAN: Are you into the whole ‘plus-size’ buxom thing that Hendricks has helped to re-popularize?
Sam Page:
I can’t say whether I am or am not into ‘plus-size,’ but I am most certainly into beautiful women, and I think we can all agree that Christina is a—if not THE—definitively beautiful woman.

DA MAN: Can you share any wild stories?
Sam Page:
Not if I want to be hired to work opposite anymore high-profile actors I can’t.

DA MAN: What has been your biggest show to date, between Mad MenDesperate Housewives, Shark, etc.?
Sam Page:
Desperate Housewives has the biggest audience, Mad Men the biggest cachet of critical acclaim and awards and Shark was the most work. So, all three were my ‘biggest’ show in their own way.

DA MAN: You are in the fourth season of Gossip Girl, correct?
Sam Page:
Yes. I’ve done  several episodes during the fourth season.

DA MAN: Are there long-term plans for a regular role on Gossip Girl?
Sam Page:
It is a fairly big arc for four episodes. Beyond that, I’m not sure there are plans for the character to return or not. I hope so, because working on that show is a blast.

DA MAN: You seem to a do a lot more TV than film. Is that your preference?
Sam Page:
It’s just where I’ve made my bones so far. I’d love to make a real jump into film, but it is a big jump. However, I do love working in television, at least on a good number of the shows I have been fortunate enough to work.

DA MAN: How do you push yourself?
Sam Page:
I don’t know if I ever stop pushing myself, which can be a problem.

DA MAN: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sam Page:
Getting a college degree.

DA MAN: What is your most treasured possession?
Sam Page:
My dog, though I don’t really think of her as a possession. She’s a four-year-old golden retriever.

DA MAN: When you want to step out and make a fashion statement, what do you wear?
Sam Page:
A great suit. I just got a classic navy suit from John Varvatos that I’m excited to wear. His clothes are beautiful and his suits are without rival.

DA MAN: Where would you like to live if money were no object?
Sam Page:
An awesome floating fortress of solitude.

DA MAN: What superhero power would you like to possess?
Sam Page:
That’s easy. I would like to have the power of telepathy.

This article appeared in DA MAN’s October/November 2010 issue, to subscribe or get back orders, go here.