Ellie Kemper and Jon Hamm have a long history together. It stretches all the way back before either were famous and Kemper was still in high school. Hamm, before he was a household name, taught high school drama in his hometown of St. Louis, MO, and Kemper, star of Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, was actually one of his students.
Even years later, Jon Hamm is still playing the role of advisor to Ellie Kemper, as she related in an interview with NBC News discussing how she found a balance between work and her personal life after becoming a mother while still working on her Netflix show. Ellie Kemper’s first daughter was born 2016. Shortly after, the filming for Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt began and Kemper was a working mom for the first time.
According to Ellie Kemper, she realized what that meant: her time was not only hers anymore. It was Jon Hamm, ever the advisor, that gave her some advice that has stuck. She said:
Things where I would have been sheepish about standing up, in terms of protecting my own time, suddenly became non-negotiable because it was an issue of feeding my baby, getting home to see my baby and that was knowing my value.
Jon Hamm, who plays her tormentor and former captor on the Netflix hit, and Ellie Kemper were shooting a scene a together, the old teacher told his old student what she needed to do. Kemper also recalled,
I was supposed to do a scene with Jon Hamm, and he said, ‘Your lines are off camera, go home to your baby right now.' But it was that moment of knowing that I brought it to the floor, and I felt like I need to do this right now. Also, bless that man, bless that Hamm.
It's no surprise that Ellie Kemper would take advice from Jon Hamm to heart. The Mad Men star has played an important role in her life. Recalling her freshman year drama class in an interview with A.V. Club way back when she was first on The Office, Kemper has formerly revealed how Hamm was a popular teacher,
In a room full of freshmen girls—he was definitely just as handsome back then, and having this grown, tall man teach you theater, it was like having a hunk in the class. So basically what I remember is that he was really handsome.
I think there’s still a teacher-student dynamic, and acting with him was a little bit nerve-racking just because I felt like he was still grading me on some level. But he’s a wonderful man and it was a lot of fun.
Jon Hamm's role in Ellie Kemper's personal and private lives is a crucial one, and she's obviously very grateful that he has taken the time to mentor her in both.