For Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser, being on television’s most celebrated drama means being able to step away from everyday life and seeing the world from a different perspective. Kartheiser, a real-life minimalist who has sold or given away most of his worldly possessions and is extremely concerned about the environment, plays a backstabbing young advertising executive on AMC’s period drama.
“Anytime we can do something that’s so different than ourselves, it gives you a head start into finding parts of yourself you can explore. That’s the fun part of my job — pretending to be someone I’m not,” Kartheiser recently told Advertising Age. “It’s nice to have things that kind of kick-start you away from yourself, because you’re used to making the choices you always make. At least I am.”
Considering his wealth of acting experience, Kartheiser has surely tapped into many sides of himself. The 33-year-old was doing dozens of commercials a year from a young age and has kept busy in recent years, appearing in seven films in the past two years. “One year I did 65 radio commercials! I made good money when I was a young man doing that sort of thing.”
No matter the role he’s playing, Kartheiser says he’s able to draw upon the human condition all the same. Perhaps that’s why he’s so believable as his polar opposite on Mad Men. “To tell you the truth, our show is about advertising, but it doesn’t matter whether your character is a copywriter or an artist or an agent,” he continued. “We’re human beings and the human experience is universal.”