You can tell a lot about a person by the things they've got sitting on their shelves. Whether it's a favorite book, an old-school family portrait, a lucky charm, or a keepsake from a treasured memory, the items we put on display for all the world to see say something about who we are, who we were, or who we want to be. Shelfies is our way of letting some of our very favorite people share a little piece of themselves with Mental Floss readers.
You probably know Emily Hampshire as the “99 Luftballons”-singing primary Jennifer Goines from Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, or as the sardonic-but-lovable Rosebud Motel owner Stevie Budd from Schitt’s Creek. But on August 22, Hampshire is swapping Jennifer’s knee-high socks and Stevie’s beat up Converse for a corset to play Rebecca Morgan in Chapelwaite. “It was my agent, Dani De Lio, who pushed me to read the scripts because she very much wanted me out of baggy jeans and plaid shirts,” Hampshire tells Mental Floss. “I guess a corset was the furthest she could push me out of my comfy comfort zone.”
Beyond the fact that Chapelwaite is an adaptation of a Stephen King story—“a big check on the ol’ bucket list,” Hampshire says—she was also drawn to the project because her character is a writer. “I had just sold my Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman remake pitch to Sony and was starting my career as a writer, so it felt so serendipitous for this part to come to me at that exact moment,” she says. “I was also, no joke, reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, at the same time that Chapelwaite came to me.” A Zoom meeting with writers Jason and Peter Filardi and producer Donald De Line sealed the deal.
From screen-used props and autographed photos to action figures and character needlepoints, the objects Hampshire has on her shelves are representative of her iconic roles and quirky personality. But because she recently bought her first home and has spent several months filming overseas, everything is a bit in flux. “I would describe [my Shelfie style] as … ‘I left my bestie with all my stuff because I’m in the middle of a move and was shooting in Scotland for four and a half months so she decorated her office with all my prized possessions out of lockdown boredom and I had no say in the matter,’” Hampshire says. “When this stuff was on my shelf, I preferred to separate everything by project. But now that it’s in my friend’s apartment and out of my control, it’s actually pretty cool to see all these different artifacts mixed together, like worlds colliding. King Kong vs. Godzilla! Freddy vs. Jason! Stevie vs. … Stephen King!” Here are just a few of the stories behind the items Hampshire’s got on her bestie’s shelves.
1. Crocheted Diary/Smaller Diary and Stevie Budd
Anyone who follows Hampshire on social media is familiar with her “Dear Diary, Dear Smaller Diary” series, in which she writes an entry in her full-sized diary, then writes the same entry, only truncated, in her smaller diary. “I love stationery stores—Paperchase is my Rodeo Drive,” she says. “I picked up that furry diary on one of my stationery shopping binges. But the first-ever ‘Dear Diary, Dear Smaller Diary’ I did was a video I sent to Terry Matalas, my 12 Monkeys showrunner and partner in crime in all snacking-spirals. I had eaten all this chocolate and candy and I felt so sick with sugar-induced heartburn that I randomly sent him this video of me writing about it in my diary and then summarizing it in my smaller diary. And that’s how ‘Dear Diary, Dear Smaller Diary’ was born.” The real-life diaries travel with Hampshire in her carry-on wherever she goes, but she also has crocheted representations of them on her shelf: “Crocheted Stevie and Diary and Smaller Diary were sent to me by @thriftyteddy on Instagram. I love the details so much. Look at that tiny Cabaret playbill!”
2. A Sock Monkey
“This is so special to me,” Hampshire says. “It was a gift from Les Handrahan and Amelia Berzins, our 12 Monkeys costume set supervisors. They made it out of all of Jennifer’s costumes. Like, it’s obvs made out of her signature socks, but there’s actually a piece from every costume I wore from the show stuffed with them, too. I’m going to cry if I keep talking about this.”
3. The J.H. Bond Poster from 12 Monkeys
One plot line in 12 Monkeys (spoiler!) sends Jennifer back to France just after World War I, where she changes her name to J.H. Bond and becomes an actress who performs stage versions of classic films—as well as a play about the Army of the 12 Monkeys, as seen on this poster. “I couldn’t choose just one poster—I had to have all of Jennifer’s French play posters!” Hampshire says. “But they’re currently being framed because I just bought my first house, so I finally have somewhere to display them in all their glory.”
4. The Stag Painting from Schitt’s Creek
Hampshire took a number of things from the Schitt’s Creek set, like “the dead Tamagotchi that was on Stevie’s keys” and “basically anything Mr. Rose gave Stevie, except the suitcase of makeup.” She also nabbed the iconic stag portrait from behind the desk at the motel. “The stag was just so special to me because behind-the-desk was such a home for Stevie,” Hampshire says. “And that stag was such a huge part of that, literally. It’s about my height, and I’m 5-foot-4.” Her co-star Eugene Levy, who played Stevie's business partner Johnny Rose on the show, also gifted her a sweet keepsake: A signed photo of the two of them reading “Emily—It's Johnny and Stevie forever! Eugene xo.”
5. Stuffed Plants, A Good Content Notebook, and a Humpday with Hampshire Mug
Hampshire’s main plushie is her yeti Stumbs, but she also has a number of stuffed plants and fruits from Jellycat adorning her shelves. “I’m just obsessed with these personified plants and edible things,” she says. “I wish the company would pay attention to their Instagram because I’m their BIGGEST fan! My ultimate goal is to get every food, plant, and object plushy they make. They just make me so happy. If they’re listening: I don’t have the Brie because you were sold out. Please help!”
Joining the plants on the shelf are a Good Content notebook and a Humpday with Hampshire mug. “Good Content is the company I have with my BFF Neila and those are our bitmojis,” Hampshire says. “It was a stocking stuffer I had made for her for Christmas. Of course, I got one for myself, too. The Humpday with Hampshire mug is a very special memory for me. When the pandemic first hit I was asked by The Actors Fund to host a weekly live talk show to raise money for everyone in the industry who was out of work. I thought it would be maybe a two- or three-week thing, but it turned into the equivalent of two seasons of Fleabag and was one of the hardest and most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. And it was the first thing Neila and I worked together on as professional writers, so that’s why it’s placed next to Good Content.”
The first episode of Chapelwaite airs Sunday, August 22 on EPIX.