The cast of Mad Men celebrated their 16 Emmy nominations—including one for best drama—in high style. “We went out and drank absinthe,” says actor Vincent Kartheiser. “The night is very foggy. I may have gotten married.” He’s joking (we think) but an impromptu wedding would fit right in with the juicy storylines from the breakout show, now airing its second season on the AMC network. Centered on the lives and loves of employees at the Sterling Cooper ad agency in the 1960s, the series has already tackled identity theft, blackmail and a hidden love child. Says costar January Jones: “It’s fun to find out what crazy things we’re going to get to do next.”
HE PLAYS Don Draper, ad firm partner and man with a past.
RESUME Starred in the 2002 indie hit Kissing Jessica Stein with girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt.
HAS FAME CHANGED HIM? “Not much,” says the Missouri-born Emmy nominee. “I have breakfast with my dog and read the paper.” His attire helps. “I don’t, in my real-life dress, look too much like Don. When my hair is not slicked back and I’m not buttoned into very tight-fitting suits, I’m able to blend into the background.”
SHE PLAYS Betty Draper, the perfect housewife yearning for more.
RESUME Played Matthew Fox’s wife in 2006’s We Are Marshall.
BEST JOB BENEFIT “Women were a little softer and more voluptuous back then,” says Jones of Mad Men‘s 1960s setting. “I don’t work out at all, and I have an excuse why I can’t. I gain a couple of pounds and [the producers] love it.”
SHE PLAYS Joan Holloway, wise and wily head secretary.
RESUME TV credits include ER and Las Vegas.
OFFICE ETIQUETTE So how does she feel about the show’s highly charged sexual politics? “The things men say to women seem shocking,” admits the Tennessee native. “[But] we all have sort of a twisted sense of humor, and a lot of us get a kick out of it because it’s so extreme.”
HE PLAYS Roger Sterling, cynical and debonair advertising firm partner.
RESUME Romanced Carrie on Sex and the City and Gaby on Desperate Housewives.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS “Each week [the scripts] keep getting better,” says the actor, who is wed to Talia Balsam, who plays his spouse on the show. “What’s so good is it’s unpredictable.”
SHE PLAYS Peggy Olson, formerly naive assistant turned copywriter.
RESUME Played the First Daughter on The West Wing.
AMERICA’S NEXT SWEETHEART? Although Peggy is ambitious and somewhat mysterious, “there’s something about her that everyone can identify with,” says the former ballet student. “She’s trying to do the right thing and achieve her goals.”
HE PLAYS Pete Campbell, weaselly account executive.
RESUME Costarred as David Boreanaz’ son on Angel.
GOT A LIGHT? Why is Pete one of the only nonsmokers? “He comes from a family with money,” says the Minnesota native. “It wasn’t polite.” But he wouldn’t be opposed to taking a drag: “Actors love props. They love to have something to light, pocket and pinch.”