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Mad Men's Talia Balsam's Vespa: "They're Sexier From a Distance"

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Comedy writer Bonnie Datt once bought a chainmail vest "for clubbing"—a purchase she later came to lament, once she realized that chainmail isn't particularly slimming. Inspired by this, she now spends her spare time asking famous people to dish about purchases which they initially loved—but ended up regretting, for Buyer's Remorse.

This week we speak to the talented actress Talia Balsam, who plays Mona Sterling, the ex-wife of John Slattery's Roger Sterling character, on Mad Men. In real life John and Talia are a happily married couple, whom Racked often sees supporting Nanette Lepore at her Fashion Week shows. Talia, the daughter of thespians Martin Balsam and Joyce Van Patten, has been acting most of her life—in television, film and theater, so we were wondering with such a long and eclectic career, what she might have had buyer's remorse about. We loved her candid answer...

Racked: What have you had Buyer's Remorse about?

Talia Balsam: All my life I had wanted/envisioned myself on an Italian Vespa. I was like, "That's it. That's my mode of transportation." I'm very interested in Italy. I've worked there and I was thinking this was going to be part of my—I guess—identity. I don't know what I was thinking. So when I was twenty-five, and living in LA, I got one. Nothing with buttons, a real stick shift one, an old white Italian Vespa. And I was trying to learn how to drive it. And I was on a two seconds I'd fallen off and almost broken my ankle. I just basically lifted the thing back up, walked it back to the garage and never rode it again.

Racked: You weren't actually hurt?

Talia Balsam: No, I just hurt and scared myself enough—and I'd realized my intrepid idea of "That girl on the moped." After buying it, it basically took nothing for me to never sit back on top of it again. A little less fearful, and I probably would have gotten back up. Basically, for me, they're sexier from a distance, but not my talent. John never understood why I never rode it again.
· All Buyer's Remorse Posts [Racked]