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'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' star Ellie Kemper reveals how she stays so cheerful

For TODAY's One Small Thing series, Ellie Kemper revealed how she maintains her upbeat attitude.
/ Source: TODAY

Ellie Kemper is known for playing sunny characters, such as Erin from "The Office" and the preternaturally cheerful Kimmy Schmidt. And the actress, a frequent visitor to TODAY, is just as exuberant in real life.

For TODAY's One Small Thing series, she revealed how she maintains her upbeat attitude.

"I feel like I am a generally cheerful person," Kemper said. "And I have a few habits that help me to sort of maintain a sunny outlook. One of those habits is, I try to get some sort of exercise every day. Because I think that's just an instant mood booster. No matter what you're doing, you can just be going for a walk, you can be going for a jog, whatever it is. I always, always, always feel better after I exercise. I sort of dread doing it, but I know that I always feel better."

She added, "When I'm going through any sort of frustrating or difficult moment, I try to tell myself that it's temporary. This might get a little deep, but I just try to remind myself that it's not gonna last forever."

Kemper, 37, also opened up about playing the eponymous heroine of Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."


"Kimmy Schmidt's optimism has rubbed off on me," she revealed. "I really admire her optimism and her fortitude and tenacity. I feel like when I am playing Kimmy Schmidt, it's very easy to feel optimistic because her clothes are so bright. And so it's just instantly a visual mood lifter, because she has bright pinks and yellows and purples. And I just feel better when I'm wearing them."

Kimmy, of course, has faced her share of hardships, having been trapped in a underground bunker by a doomsday cult leader for 15 years.

"Parts that I admire about Kimmy that I try to integrate into my real life are just the fact that she went through something really difficult, but she chooses to still believe that people are capable of really good things," Kemper said. "So if I am feeling pessimistic or grumpy, I try to channel that kind of energy. And sometimes it helps."

Nathan Congleton / NBC

Kemper also shared advice for coping with people who don't share her positive outlook.

"My trick for getting past negative people, and sometimes I'm one of them, is just to maybe acknowledge that they might be having a bad day," she said. "They might not be feeling like themselves. I try not to take it personally. And then I sort of try to move on or maybe limit my contact with them if I can. But, you know, everyone has a bad day. I just try to make an effort not to get too pulled down by them."

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