From Childhood Pranks to Loving Adults — Facts On Emily Deschanel and Sister Zooey Deschanel
Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel are Hollywood sisters. They both come from parents well-versed in the entertainment industry.
But the two had different approaches to their acting career. One of them did not even want to become an actress.
So, which one was it? Here are details about that, as well as other things about the sisters and their lives, together and apart.
Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel's Birthdays
Emily is the older of the two Deschanel siblings. She was born on October 11, 1976. Zooey, the younger sister, arrived four years later, on January 17, 1980.
Emily Deschanel and her sister, Zooey Deschanel, circa 1983. (Photo: Zooey Deschanel/Instagram)
Their parents are Hollywood mainstays — their father is cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel, and their mother is Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir), an actress.
The Deschanel Sisters' Ethnicity and Heritage
Emily and Zooey share a lot of different ethnic backgrounds.
Their paternal grandfather, Paul Jules Deschanel, was from Oullins, Rhône, France. He migrated to the U.S. in 1930 and started a family there, giving the sisters their French heritage.
Other than this, the sisters have some Quaker ancestry from Pennsylvania, courtesy of her paternal grandmother, Anna Ward Orr. Further, they have Deep Ohio, New York, and Irish, Swiss, English, and Dutch ancestry, thanks to their maternal side of the family.
Their LA Upbringing and Contrasting Views on That
Both the siblings grew up in Los Angeles, but only one enjoyed it.
"The city has so many wonderful things to offer," Emily said about L.A. in a LA Mag interview from April 2013. "Los Angeles will always be my home. I don't know if I could feel that way about another place. It's nice to be in one place and have a job that keeps me in L.A."
Zooey did not like the vibe L.A. gave, especially to girls.
"I just feel like growing up in Los Angeles, you learn, 'Well you're never gonna be the prettiest girl in the room, so just don't even try.' I mean, I care about being pretty, but it's not my most valued thing," she told Vulture in September 2011.
Emily Used to Bully Zooey When They Were Little
As Emily is older than her sister, it is obvious she developed her acting abilities earlier. So, when they were young, she used to prank and bully Zooey into thinking absurd things.
Emily had Zooey convinced that "Neptunians had [taken] [her] real sister and replaced her with a facsimile who looked just like her."
Further elaborating on this, Emily said in an interview with Conan: "I would tell her… that I'd [hurt] her sister and taken over her body, and that I was going to kill her next." She would even make her cry and laugh afterward.
Eventually, Zooey got to a point where Emily had to do nothing but widen her eyes, and she would get scared.
Only One of Them Completed College
Emily is the only one to have completed college education between the two. The older sister attended Harvard-Westlake School and Crossroads School in Los Angeles.
Zooey, too, attended Crossroads and had Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson as her peers. But, she soon realized her "specialness" was underappreciated at the school, and she dropped out, pursuing acting full-time.
Emily and Zooey Had Different Visions for Career
While Zooey went straight into acting, Emily had other plans. She always wanted to be an academic and pursue arts in that way.
Emily Deschanel and her sister, Zooey Deschanel. (Photo: Zooey Deschanel/Instagram)
It was not that Emily did not like acting at all. Both loved doing plays when they were younger, but only Zooey knew she wanted to be an actress early on.
Emily instead wanted to be an architect. "I love architecture. I just love the combination between art and science, I guess," Emily said during the sisters' conversation with Buddy TV in December 2009.
They Have Different Diets
Emily is a staunch vegan and has been so since her teenage years. Zooey, however, is not even a vegetarian.
But not for a lack of trying. Zooey tried her sister's diet when she discovered she was allergic to dairy, wheat, and eggs. She tried to stay off meat because she thought it would be easy as she already could not eat all her favorite food, anyway.
"To be a gluten-free vegan is, like, the most difficult thing you can possibly be. And I lasted, like, six months," she told Vulture.