Gillian Jacobs is an American actress and director, who is most associated with her role as Britta Perry in the NBC sitcom Community.
Jacobs has also appeared in Netflix’s original comedy series Love and HBO’s Girls and is the director of a handful of films and is a podcast host.
Background Info and Early Life
Jacobs was born on October 19, 1982, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Martina Magenau Jacobs, worked at Carnegie Mellon University and was the daughter of the owner, president, and CEO of the Erie Brewing Company, John Martin Magenau Jr.
Gillian is an only child and mentions in an interview that she had trouble relating to other children at school, because she only was around adults.
In elementary school, she says she didn’t have any friends and a concerned teacher called her parents saying Gillian was at recess, talking to herself.
At the age of four, Jacobs began studying acting, attending weekend classes at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Gillian says she immediately fell in love with acting and found her community there.
Soon after, she began performing in shows at the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Annually, Jacobs would compete in the Public’s Shakespeare Monologue Contest, an acting contest open to all schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Through this contest, she was offered the role of Titania in Public’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
After graduating high school, she studied at the Juilliard School in New York City, graduating with a BFA in 2004.
The Book of Daniel
After graduation, Jacobs landed her first role in the television series The Book of Daniel. She was cast as Adele Congreve. Only four episodes aired as the show was canceled during the middle of its first season, with the remaining episodes going unaired.
Jacobs continued to have guest roles in various television series. She played Kim in the pilot episode of the series Traveler, but the character was eventually turned over to Pascale Hutton.
Jacobs appeared in Fringe as Joanne Ostler in season one, episode eight. She also had a guest role as Sue Smith in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, season eight, episode two.
She appeared in theatrical productions, such as the Off-Off-Broadway production of cagelove, The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero, The Little Flower of East Orange, and A Feminine Ending. After spending time in theater, Jacobs returned to film and television acting.
Gardens of the Night
Jacobs starred in the 2008 drama, Gardens of the Night. She played Leslie, a girl who was kidnapped and abused as a child and then grew up to find herself living on the streets.
The film was initially released at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2008, where it was nominated for an award. It was also released in the UK and France but did not appear nationwide in the US.
In 2009, Jacobs played Dana/Sarah in the science fiction psychological thriller film, The Box. Dana was a babysitter abducted by aliens and subsequently turned into Sarah. It was released nationwide in the US in November 2009 and received mixed reviews.
In March 2009, Jacobs was offered the role of Britta Perry on NBC’s Community.
Britta Perry is a Graduate of Greendale Community College who is estranged from her parents and has a rebellious streak.
Her storied past includes working as a foot model, joining the Peace Corps, and being a member of several activist groups. Her character can be pretentious and hypocritical, and she struggles with addiction.
Britta Perry first appeared in the pilot episode. She had a recurring role in every season from 2009 to 2015 as a primary cast member in her role as a core member of the Greendale study group.
Over the course of Community’s six seasons, her character gradually became less strong and independent and more silly.
Her need for a relationship is a significant characteristic throughout the show. Britta dates Troy (Donald Glover) and has a relationship with Jeff (Joel McHale).
In the final episode, Britta doesn’t end up with anyone. She concludes that she didn’t need a romantic status to define her.
What did fans think of her character?
Fans generally disliked Jacob’s character Britta, though she appealed to them in the first season. Her character seems to devolve throughout Community’s run, eventually ending up with Britta as a hypocritical, unintelligent, and rude character.
The term "Brita" ing started being used by fans to describe someone or something which "sucks the fun" out of a situation.
NBC canceled Community on May 9, 2014, with Yahoo! picking it up in June for the sixth season. The final episode aired on June 2, 2015.
What did she do after Community?
After Community, Jacobs continued to appear in numerous television shows and films.
Jacobs played Gwen Turley in the 2016 film Brother Nature. Her character is the girlfriend of Roger Fellner (Taran Killam) and the sister of the movie’s namesake, Todd Dotchman (Bobby Moynihan).
In the Netflix series Love, Jacobs plays Mickey Dobbs, a self-destructive member of one of the show’s main couples. She appeared in all three seasons.
Life of the Party, a 2018 comedy, cast Jacobs as Helen, a sorority member. Jacobs starred in the comedy-drama film I Used to Go Here in 2020, playing Kate Conklin, a novelist who returns to her Alma Mater years later.
Jacobs scored starring roles as Kristina Darkwood in the 2020 film Magic Camp and Sarah in the horror-thriller film Come Play that same year.
What is Gillian Jacobs doing dow?
Jacobs continues to act with her career showing no signs of slowing down. Most recently Jillian received roles in the animated television series Invincible and in HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.
Writing and Directing
She also directors and writes films. Jacobs directed a documentary short titled The Queen of Code, a narrative short film, Curated, an episode of Marvel’s documentary series titled Higher, Further, Faster, and is working on More Than Robots and The Seven Faces of Jane. Jacobs is also credited as a writer for The Seven Faces of Jane. In May of 2020, she appeared in a Community reunion table read.
Podcast Host and Creator
Jacobs co-hosts and helped create Periodic Talks, a STEM-focused podcast, beginning in 2021. Her co-host is Diona Reasonover, and the podcast is produced by Stitcher.
Jacobs keeps her personal life very private. She is not married and does not have kids. Jacobs is currently not dating anyone to the public’s knowledge and has not confirmed any past relationships.
Jacobs is a Teetotaler, meaning she abstains from alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and drugs. She cites witnessing addiction in her family as a child, specifically her father’s addiction struggle, as the reason for her total abstinence. Jacobs claims that she has never had an alcoholic drink in her entire life. Gillian mentions that it’s totally ironic, because her grandfather owned a brewery.