Jayma Mays plays the quirky high school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury on “Glee,” Fox’s hit musical comedy/drama about a high school glee club, which is in its freshman season. Learn more about the character of Emma Pillsbury and about the actress who plays her.
About Emma Pillsbury
Emma Pillsbury is the quirky, always-cheery guidance counselor at McKinley High School in western Ohio.
She is a germaphobe and can frequently be seen disinfecting her office and washing her hands after any sort of human contact.
At the beginning of the series, major sparks flew between her and Will Schuester (aka Mr. Schue), the school’s Spanish teacher, who is also the director of the glee club, New Directions. To learn more about him, see “All About Glee: Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).”
Problem was, Will was a married man — and his wife, Terri (played by Jessalyn Gilsig) didn’t take too kindly to Emma’s flirtation with Will.
Eventually, Emma decided that a relationship with Will was not in the cards, so she began dating the football coach, Ken Tanaka — although it was clear that she didn’t love him, and in fact, she could barely stand to be near him.
Emma and Ken got engaged, but in the episode that preceded the show’s mid-year break, the wedding got called off when Ken realized Emma would always have feelings for Will.
At about the same time, Will left his wife when he discovered that she had been lying about being pregnant.
With both of their relationships effectively out of the way, Will and Emma shared a kiss — but after the mid-season break, the two decided that each needed more time to work on their own personal development before jumping into dating each other. (To get a complete recap of the episodes that aired before the mid-season break, see “Glee Characters: Season One Recap: Get Up to Speed with Fox’s Hit Series.”)
In later episodes, Emma confessed to Will that she was a virgin, and the chances of a functional relationship between the two of them became even less likely when Emma discovered that Will had slept with a glee club alumna and had had several heavy make-out sessions with the director of Vocal Adrenaline, a rival show choir.
About Jayma Mays
Mays, 30, has had bit parts in television shows and feature films since 2004, when she appeared in an episode of “Joey.” Prior to “Glee,” she had multi-episode appearances on “Ugly Betty” and “Heroes.” Coincidentally, in both cases, her character’s name was Charlie.
She is married to actor Adam Campbell, 29, who appeared with her in the 2007 spoof film “Epic Movie.”
She told Star magazine in December that she and Campbell want children, “but I don’t think we are ready just yet — maybe in a couple of years.”
Songs Mays has performed on “Glee” include “I Could Have Danced All Night” from “My Fair Lady” and “Like a Virgin” by Madonna.