W’s TV Portfolio 2022: Your Favorite TV Stars Celebrate Their Favorite Shows

by W Staff

Introducing W magazine’s third annual TV Portfolio.

For the last two years, we’ve asked some of the most sought-after names in television to pay tribute to their favorite small-screen characters by stepping into their shoes. It’s an assignment that the stars have come to take quite seriously—especially since their choices often reveal as much about their fandoms as it does about themselves. The end result is a visual celebration of all things TV as we gear up for primetime’s biggest night—the Emmys. This year, a host of first-time nominees will be hitting the red carpet including Adam Scott (Severance), Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets), Jung Ho-yeon (Squid Game) and Margaret Qualley (Maid), all of whom are featured here. With just a few weeks until the awards ceremony on September 12th, and so many great shows to binge, the only question is, what are you watching?

Jung Ho-yeon as Arya Stark from Game of Thrones

“I chose Arya Stark because I liked her whole journey,” the Squid Game star says. “She finds everything herself; she always makes her own decisions. That’s a woman who, pretty much, I want to be.”

Read Ho-yeon’s full interview here.

Photographed by Sirui Ma

Nicholas Braun as Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights

“In college I was like, I wish I was the Tim Riggins of my dorm,” the Succession star says. “He drinks beers, and he’s in high school, gets the hottest girls, like, wow—what a stud. He’s got some family or childhood issues that come up, and I feel for him. I want him to figure those out. But more than anything, I was just attracted to the hunkiness.”

Read Nicholas Braun’s full interview here.

Photographed by Lea Winkler

Adam Scott as Sam Malone from Cheers

Cheers was such a big deal when I was growing up in the ’80s,” the Emmy-nominated Severance star says. “For me, it was more than just this sitcom. It was a tunnel into this other world.”

Read Adam Scott’s full interview here.

Photographed by Julien Sage

Melanie Lynskey as Susan Edwards from Landscapers

“There are so many layers to this character,” the Emmy-nominated star of Yellowjackets says. “I watched that show and felt like this performance was magic,” and notes that Olivia Colman, who portrays Edwards in the series, is “my favorite actor in the world.”

Read Melanie Lynskey’s full interview here.

Photographed by Julien Sage

Zazie Beetz as Fleabag from Fleabag

“I find [I’m drawn to] characters who battle with their morality,” the Atlanta star says. “Fleabag is constantly in this war-torn place within herself: Is she bad, is she good, what is she contributing to the world, have her actions rippled out, affecting those around her? Her emotional turmoil, I was so attracted to and could empathize with, and could see and feel.”

Read Zazie Beetz’s full interview here.

Photographed by Julien Tavel

Margaret Qualley as Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls

“My babysitter Julie and I would watch The Golden Girls together all the time after school,” the Emmy-nominated Maid star says. “It’s just that comforting, cozy, homey feeling of a time before. Dorothy is the hero. She’s the epitome of cool. She’s not looking for attention. She’s just assessing the situation and saying what we’re all thinking as audience members, but in a really articulate, funny way.”

Read Margaret Qualley’s full interview here.

Photographed by Shane Timm

Natasha Lyonne as Afton Cooper from Dallas

“So here’s what happened,” the Russian Doll creator and star explains, “I wanted to do Ida Lupino in The Twilight Zone because she was the only actress who both appeared in an episode and then directed one. I was picturing a lot of double images and me jumping inside the screen, but it proved to be too complex. So we were styling my hair along Ida Lupino lines, and my publicist said, ‘Oh my god—is it Audrey Landers from Dallas?!’ And in that moment, we decided to celebrate this woman who was comically great. So another blonde gets the role!”

Read Natasha Lyonne’s full interview here.

Photographed by Lea Winkler

Jessica Biel as Don Draper from Mad Men

“I love-hate Don Draper,” the Candy star says. “You’re so attracted to him, and you just want to strangle him at the same time. That’s what I want my characters to feel like—I want you to want to be their best friend and also just wanna grab ‘em by the hair, like, What are you doing?!”

Read Jessica Biel’s full interview here.

Photographed by Alex Lockett

Elle Fanning as Paris Hilton from The Simple Life

“My sister [Dakota Fanning] and I would watch The Simple Life and act out the scenes,” the Emmy-nominated star of The Great says. “I would normally be Nicole Richie and she would be Paris. We would say ‘That’s hot’ and ‘Loves it.’ Finally, I get to dress up as Paris and have the dog, because Dakota always had the Chihuahua.”

Read Elle Fanning’s full interview here.

Photographed by Elle Fanning

Sadie Sink as Elaine Benes from Seinfeld

“With Elaine, the dynamic is so cool,” Sink says. “It reminded me of Stranger Things in a way—being the only female character in a group full of male characters similar to Eleven or Max.”

Read Sadie Sink’s full interview here.

Photography by Lea Winkler

Nicole Byer as Michelle Tanner from Full House

“My middle name is Michelle, and I would tell people that I was Michelle Tanner from Full House growing up,” the Grand Crew star and Emmy-nominated host of Nailed It! says. “A lot of nice adults just nodded their heads at me.”

Read Nicole Byer’s full interview here.

Photographed by Gabriel Sapiandante Lopez

Mackenzie Davis as Stath from Stath Lets Flats

Stath Lets Flats just makes me laugh out loud by myself,” the Station Eleven star says. “I’m constantly astounded by how insane it is. I’m not good enough to be on that show. They’re doing something that is really fucking transcendent. And I just want to pay homage as a true fan.”

Read Mackenzie Davis’s full interview here.

Photographed by Tung Walsh

Devery Jacobs as Catra from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

“Catra is the antagonist in She-Ra, an animated series developed by the incredible queer graphic novelist ND Stevenson,” the Reservation Dogs star says. “I had so many queer people in my life being like, ‘You need to watch this show.’ It blew me away. Truly, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a show as well written or thought through—which is wild to say, because it’s a cartoon. I watched the series again in preparation for this, and the finale emotionally ruined me. It left me in such gay tears.”

Read Devery Jacobs’ full interview here.

Photographed by Lea Winkler

Coco Jones as Olivia Pope from Scandal

“Olivia Pope has this balance about her where she’s showing her emotions, but you still know that she’s done [the job],” the Bel-Air star says. “She can handle everything that’s being thrown at her, and that motivates me.”

Read Coco Jones’s full interview here.

Photographed by Alexander Cody Nguyen

Sienna Miller as Patsy Stone from Ab Fab

“I don’t remember a world without Ab Fab in it,” the Anatomy of a Scandal star says. “If you are raised in England, it’s part of our culture. Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are complete cultural heroes for us. One of my best friends made people come to her hen party as famous blondes, and made me come as Patsy. I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun at a party than I did being her. I’ve got an inner Patsy that I like to channel.”

Read Sienna Miller’s full interview here.

Photographed by Tung Walsh

Chrishell Stause as Dexter Morgan from Dexter

“I’m such a fan of thriller, horror, real crime, anything like that,” the Selling Sunset star says. “No one would guess that. My favorite emotion is to be scared. And I love Michael C. Hall. For a long time, I had a crush on Dexter, which says something about me.”

Read Chrishell Stause’s full interview here.

Photographed by Julien Sage

Quincy Isaiah as Coach Ted Lasso from Ted Lasso

“I thought it was brilliant,” the Winning Time star says of Ted Lasso. “The way they touched on therapy, talking about mental health, toxic positivity, and not addressing the issues in your life—and how they can come up physically sometimes. You love his character, and you want him to realize that he doesn't have to put up this shield all the time. You want him to be more open about his feelings. If most people would do that, I think we would have better communication and fewer misunderstandings.”

Read Quincy Isaiah’s full interview here.

Photographed by Lea Winkler

Minha Kim as Lexie Grey from Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is so powerful,” the Pachinko star says. “I started watching when I was 15 years old. It was kind of shocking for me, because I’d never seen that kind of show before. I fell in love with Sandra Oh and the way Ellen Pompeo does her voiceovers influenced me a lot.”

Read Minha Kim’s full interview here.

Photographed by Julien Sage

Madelyn Cline as Peggy Olson from Mad Men

“Peggy is just such a chaotic character,” the Outer Banks star says. “I thought it would be really fun to do something completely different from anything I’ve been able to play.”

Read Madelyn Cline’s full interview here.

Photographed by Alexander Cody Nguyen

Tom Blyth as Dr. Jack Shephard from Lost

Lost was the first show that I remember thinking, I want to do that,” the Billy the Kid star says. “I remember always being amazed at how Matthew Fox had this permanent frown throughout the whole six seasons. It's amazing that his head didn't explode from frowning. He's kind of a reluctant hero.”

Read Tom Blyth’s full interview here.

Photographed by Alexander Cody Nguyen

Anson Boon as Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice

“In working-class Britain, Miami Vice was a dose of the American dream,” the Pistol star, who played Johnny Rotten on the Hulu series, says. “What the Sex Pistols did with music and fashion, Miami Vice did with TV.”

Read Anson Boon’s full interview here.

Photographed by Lea Winkler