After two seasons playing sharp-tongued, side-eye-slinging model Cece on New Girl, Hannah Simone has been a snarky foil for best friend Jess (Zooey Deschanel). But as Jess got saucy planning Cece’s sudden bachelorette party last night, Cece softened up. Weeks away from an arranged marriage to her perfect-on-paper Indian fiancé Shivrang (Satya Bhabha), Cece copped to insecurities about her engagement that will impact the rest of the season – and maybe even gave shippers a glint of hope that the loft’s lovable douchebag Schmidt (Max Greenfield) still has a shot with his model love.
In a recent chat with EW, Simone broke down the cases for (and against) Shiv and Schmidt, shared her reaction to finally finding out Cece’s decision, and discussed a sexy new campaign she’s joined (Schmidt would definitely approve).
As Cece heads toward her will-she-or-won’t-she wedding on New Girl’s May 15 finale, Simone didn’t sugarcoat the challenges ahead if Cece and Shivrang tie the knot. “It’s a bit of a struggle [with Shivrang],” she said. “She had a great connection with Schmidt … [and] she really gave him a chance this season, but he’s not at a place where she needs their relationship to be.”
Schmidt’s field playing is just one of the reasons Cece has accelerated her walk down the aisle. “Her biological clock is ticking really loudly,” said Simone. The abundance of phallic decorations and sex talk at last night’s bachelorette party certainly couldn’t have dampened the sound, so Cece’s “having to compromise and do things that aren’t necessarily her,” acknowledged Simone. “That’s why she and Jess have the fight. It’s hard for Jess to see Cece not being herself. She knows what would make Cece happy… but it doesn’t fit in the path that Cece’s taking.”
Soon enough, that path could lead to an altar. “We just shot our season finale last week,” Simone teased. Like the rest of us, she’d been kept in the dark about Cece’s fate. “I literally didn’t know until days before we shot the finale what was going to happen with my character,” she said. “It was crazy, but it really keeps you honest as an actor because you can’t play toward anything. We genuinely don’t know, week to week, what’s coming at us, so you just play the moment. I didn’t know what Cece’s fate was going to be with Shivrang or with Schmidt, and the finale’s really interesting in the direction Liz [Meriwether] chose to go.” She added, “I was really surprised how it all resolved and came to a head. … I don’t think anyone will see it coming.”
As Cece chooses what kind of man she wants, Simone’s making her preference clear – and it sounds a lot like Team Schmidt. As the new face of Gillette’s “What Women Want” campaign (alongside Kate Upton and Genesis Rodriguez), Simone was the focus of another lady-centric party – albeit with less shame-inducing slideshows and scoop shop strippers – in a new commercial, where Simone reveals that her aesthetic leans toward a fellow with a “smooth stomach to show off his six pack.” But, as one of the first women to front for this historically male-endorsed brand, she insisted it all goes back to confidence. “My family’s moved all over the world my entire life,” said Simone. “I grew up for most of life in Cyprus where people are on the beach all day long. … I’ve lived in Alberta where they have that rugged look, to L.A., which has a completely different look for men. It comes down to personal style, and that’s what’s sexy and attractive in a man.”
As for New Girl, whether Cece’s personal style hews closer to Schmidt’s lightning bolt suit or Shivrang’s casual prep, viewers will have to wait just a few more weeks. Simone assured it’ll be worth it: “It’s one of the most ambitious, incredible, beautiful, and hysterical episodes we have ever shot in two seasons, and I cannot wait for people to see it.”