With decades in the entertainment industry and over 100 credits to her name, Melora Hardin has stepped into a pair of fabulous shoes with her role of Jacqueline Carlyle on Freeform’s The Bold Type. The series follows a group of three best friends in their mid-twenties, navigating life and love while all working at Scarlet Magazine in New York City. Hardin’s Carlyle is the editor-in-chief of Scarlet and acts as the girls’ boss and mentor.
Loosely based on the experiences of Cosmopolitan editor, Joanna Coles, Hardin researched her role by visiting Coles at Hearst offices in New York, and sat in on a few issue previews. This, coupled with time spent with Coles socially, led to Hardin befriending the successful editor. “Jacqueline is her own person and the character is loosely inspired by Joanna Coles so my research was really more about feeling into Joanna’s world and her place in that world more than anything else,” said Hardin.
This isn’t the first time that Hardin has played the role of a successful boss. Arguably her best-known role is her performance as Jan Levinson on The Office. Playing girlfriend and boss to Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, Levinson lost her way as she went from a strong corporate leader hosting “Women in the Workplace” conferences, to being Michael’s unemployed and ungrateful girlfriend. However, Hardin knows that people can be strong and kind all at once. “Where Jan lost some of her connection to her softer, feminine side, Jacqueline stands firmly in her femininity and moves through her work challenges from that distinctly feminine place,” said Hardin. “I see more and more women in the world doing – and I love that Jacqueline is a representation of that ideal.”
On the surface, The Bold Type is a fun and colorful coming-of-age show. On a deeper level, the show has done an incredible job of using its voice to call upon current issues that face not only millennials, but society as a whole. Hardin has some experience working on projects that deal with current hot topics; she played Tammy Cashman in her Emmy-nominated performance on Amazon Prime’s Transparent, where she developed a love for working on roles with a purpose. “I realized that it is extra wonderful to be a part of entertainment that is doing good in the world,” expressed Hardin.
Melora Hardin photographed by Diana Ragland.
As such, the pilot script for The Bold Type won her over with its fresh and modern appeal. “I was very drawn to playing a woman of power who wasn’t a bitch,” said Hardin. She expresses that the role of Jacqueline has led to her receiving comments from female fans, young and old, about the importance of Jacqueline and how she is the boss they want to be, want to have, or wish they had. “Just as Transparent was a fresh take on the queer and trans community, The Bold Type is a fresh take on the 21st century woman boss.”
Jacqueline Carlyle is a character that every woman can relate to in some way, shape, or form, and this is true for Hardin. “I think Jacqueline and I are similar in that we’ve both been doing what we do for a very, very long time and we’re both very good at what we do – which isn’t just about the actual job of being an actor or an editor-in-chief, but is also about all the stuff, all the relationships, that surround the job,” explained Hardin. “I think Jacqueline and I are both very good at navigating those sometimes tricky waters. We are both compassionate leaders and we both have equal passion for our families as we do for our jobs.”
However, the most fun part of playing Jacqueline Carlyle may come in the form of fashion, which is a key character on the show. “The clothes I get to wear on this show are amazing, so it’s always a ball to dip into Jacqueline’s closet for each episode!” stated Hardin. “The clothes are one of the fun, aspirational parts of The Bold Type that ignites the little girl in me playing dress up.”