Krysten Ritter: 'Jessica Jones' Is a 'Refreshing Female Image' & 'a Character We've Been Waiting for'

"I think it's just such a way to move narratives forward for women," the Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 actress says of her Marvel storyline

Australian actress Rachael Taylor and Krysten Ritter film 'The Defenders' on Crosy Street in Soho in New York City

Jessica Jones fights crime in Hell’s Kitchen — but actress Krysten Ritter believes her character crusades for well-rounded, fully realized female roles in Hollywood.

Starring as the Marvel vigilante in both Netflix’s Jessica Jones and The Defenders, Ritter says she appreciates playing a woman who controls her narrative.

PEOPLE sat down with the actress at Saks Fifth Avenue’s 10022-SHOES 10th birthday celebration on Aug. 17 in N.Y.C. to discuss her complicated character.

Krysten Ritter
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“She’s a badass woman and a character we’ve been waiting for, one that I hadn’t seen as a little girl growing up,” Ritter, 35, tells PEOPLE of portraying Jones in The Defenders (streaming now) and Jessica Jones (season 2 is filming now).

“I think it’s just such a way to move narratives forward for women, to see this really flawed character,” she says. “Everybody is flawed! And I think that’s why people like her.”

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Adds Ritter: “She deals with real, relatable issues that we all see ourselves in. And I love that she is down and dirty: She’s not trying to get a guy, she’s not trying to look pretty, she’s not trying to get anybody’s gaze on her — she’s just trying to get through the day. That’s a refreshing female image.”

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But Ritter admits her work on Jessica Jones can get dark.

“You live in the headspace of a girl who has a lot of trauma in her life; if you stay in that dark headspace too long, you get the blues,” says the star, who decompresses on set with knitting — and other creative outlets. “I wear hot-orange sneakers, funny sunglasses, just things so I keep it light.”

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