Hannah Einbinder Has ‘Faith’ That Ava Will ‘Grow and Mature’


  • “Hacks” star Hannah Einbinder said she has “empathy” for her character Ava. 
  • Playing Ava is sometimes hard because she doesn’t like for her costar Jean Smart “to be wronged.”
  • Megan Stalter also told Insider her character Kayla has “delusional confidence.” 

“Hacks” star Hannah Einbinder told Insider during an interview ahead of the season two premiere that she has “a great deal of empathy” for her character on the hit show, disgraced writer Ava. 

When we met Ava on season one, she couldn’t get a job as a TV writer because she tweeted before thinking, and by the end of the season, she was at risk of losing her job with veteran comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) because she drunkenly emailed details of working with Deborah to showrunners, violating her non-disclosure agreement. 

But no matter how many steps back she takes, Einbinder said she does not get frustrated with Ava. 

“She’s flawed and I have compassion for that and understanding for it. So, it doesn’t frustrate me,” she explained. “I know in my heart that she will grow and mature and be better. So, I have faith in that.”

Hannah Einbinder.

Hannah Einbinder.

Karen Ballard/HBO Max


 The actor did say that there is one downside to playing someone who monumentally screws up often, especially because her costar is a legend like Jean Smart. “The truth is, Deborah Vance is a character, but she’s played by Jean Smart. So, I am technically looking at Jean Smart,” Einbinder said. “So, whenever Ava wrongs the person playing Deborah Vance, which is Jean Smart, it upsets me a little.”

“I don’t like for Jean to be wronged in any way even if she is playing another person,” she added.

“Hacks” premiered the first two episodes of season two on Thursday. The second episode, called “Quid Pro Quo,” ended with Ava learning that Deborah was suing her for violating her NDA by sending the aforementioned email, though she was allowing Ava to stay on tour and continue working for her. 

Einbinder said she thinks Ava “understands the weight” of her violation, especially because she can read the email back, as Deborah forces her to do. 

Megan Stalter says Kayla has ‘delusional confidence’

Megan Stalter.

Megan Stalter.

Karen Ballard/HBO Max


In a separate interview, Insider spoke with Megan Stalter, who plays Kayla, the very bad office assistant of Ava and Deborah’s manager Jimmy (Paul W. Downs). 

Kayla has her job because her father owns part of the management company, and Stalter explained why her character’s spoiled upbringing has actually helped her gain a rare trait. 

“I think that what is helpful is this delusional confidence that he has given her. This self-love and feeling like you’re special, I think he’s given her that,” Stalter said of Kayla’s father, who is the reason why she has stayed on Jimmy’s desk for so long. 

Stalter said she understands Kayla, which helps her get in tune with the character’s larger-than-life personality. 

Megan Stalter on "Hacks."

Megan Stalter on “Hacks.”

Karen Ballard/HBO Max


“I think that I am a little bit delusional, in a good way. I know what’s important in life, but I feel like when you’re trying to act or be a comedian or [have] these big dreams, you have to be a little bit delusional,” she said. 

But Stalter told Insider that after being taken off of Jimmy’s desk for wearing lingerie in front of him on a business trip and then reinstated to the job, there is positive change in store for Kayla, too. 

“I think that she has such a big heart, that there’s moments where you definitely see her putting Jimmy first or trying to impress him and care for him,” she said, noting that despite some bumps, they’ll be taking their relationship up “an extra level” this season. 

New episodes of “Hacks” are released Thursdays on


HBO Max



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