Craig Sjodin/ABC

She may play a Trophy Wife on her new show, but MALIN AKERMAN is more than just a pretty face.

Becoming an actress was never part of Malin Akerman’s plans. The Stockholm-born, Toronto-bred beauty was studying child psychology in college and modeling to pay her tuition when commercial and catalog work led to local TV and film roles and eventually a move to Los Angeles. In her latest project, Trophy Wife, a sitcom she also produces that premieres this month on ABC, the 27 Dresses and Rock of Ages star plays a reformed party girl striving to fit in with her older husband’s three children and two ex-wives. As if that weren’t enough, later this year, Akerman will portray rock icon Debbie Harry in the film CBGB, which also features her real-life husband, drummer Roberto Zincone, with whom she has an infant son. American Way chatted with Akerman about her new gig, motherhood and a long-held passion.

American Way: Between becoming a mom and scoring a starring role on Trophy Wife, you’ve had a pretty great spell, haven’t you?
Malin Akerman: Honestly, I could not be more blessed. To have had four months of mommy-baby time and then have a job to go to — which is, by the way, a 10-minute drive from where I live — I couldn’t ask for a better year.

AW: What did you draw from to play this part?
MA: I definitely draw from my own life as far as being from a diverse family environment. My parents split when I was 6. Since then, my mother remarried twice, my father remarried, and my first stepfather, with whom I’m very close, also remarried and has kids — so my family has become very eclectic. I think most people nowadays are in a similar situation, and some get along and have fun with one another. There are so many crazy stories that can come from it.

AW: You’ve said that you get many offers to play the trophy wife, which frustrates you. So why this role?
MA: When I got the script and saw the name, I wasn’t even going to look at it. To me, a trophy wife is like arm candy. My character is quite the opposite, just sweet and fun, completely in love with her husband and wanting to be a good stepmom.

AW: Tell us about helping other moms as a young ambassador for Opportunity International.
MA: I’ve always been vocal about my love for education. This organization focuses on microloans for women in Third World countries that allow them to start businesses and put money toward their kids’ educations. I went to Africa to see how it works firsthand and now, with any celebrity that I have, I try to garner attention and get other people as excited about it as I am.