By Nolan Feeney
November 14, 2014

TIME spoke to New Girl star Zooey Deschanel for this week’s installment of 10 Questions. In the issue, which features Taylor Swift on the cover, Deschanel talks about why Loretta Lynn is a role model, how New Girl rebounded from the Nick-Jess relationship and how she learned to write songs. Here are three things we learned during our interview:

She thought she had to “earn” the right to record a covers album
On Dec. 2, Deschanel’s band with M. Ward, She & Him, will release Classics, an album of standards covers. The project is something Deschanel always wanted to do, but she waited until the time was right. “Before I ever made a record with She & Him, I had a lot of people interested in making standards records with me,” she says. “But I just didn’t want to start that way. I felt like you earn your place to sing those songs. At this point, we had made four records, three records of originals, so I felt like we had properly earned the ability to make a standards record.”

She would totally play a superhero, as long as the role is funny
Despite her success with New Girl and other projects, Deschanel says she still feels like an outsider in Hollywood. “Feeling like an outsider is part of my nature, and it’s what makes me who I am, so I think I’ll find a way to make myself feel like an outsider no matter what situation I’m in,” she explains. But that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t play a superhero in a summer blockbuster, either. “I’m not against it at all,” Deschanel says. “I like those movies. I think it has to be the right type—it has to have a sense of humor.”

She and Billy Eichner were once classmates.
Deschanel dropped out of Northwestern her freshman year to be in Almost Famous, but she does have some fond memories of her time as a college student — including one about then-classmate Billy Eichner. “I remember he was so talented,” says Deschanel, who was in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Eichner, then an upperclassman. “I had a little part in the play because I was a freshman, and every time his song came, I would run to see it because he was so incredibly talented and funny. I’m happy he has a lot of success.” The two will reunite on the small screen next month when Eichner guest-stars on a New Girl holiday episode.

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.

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