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Nora Barry


29, West Loop

Real-life role: Chicago police officer 
Starring in: When Harry Met Sally


When does a life of crime fighting begin? “In my first year of law school,” Barry says. Say what? “I thought being a lawyer would be like Law and Order, and then you realize how slow the wheels of justice actually turn,” she says. “I made it through my first year and I said: I can’t do this. I’m not having any fun.” Six years later, Barry is a plainclothes officer, busting prostitutes on the streets of Chicago from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.—a shift she swears doesn’t affect her social life. “I actually find that I have a lot of time to hang out,” she says. “On weekends, I revert back to a normal schedule.”

Send Nora an e-mail

Worst advice you’ve been given? “Try it; it tastes like chicken.” It never does.

What did you do on your best date? We went to the Cubs game, had a lot of drinks, and walked home. It was really hot, so we bought swimsuits and jumped in the lake.

Gutsiest thing you’ve ever done? I went cage diving with sharks in South Africa. I have it on video, if you’re ever bored.

What makes someone a Chicagoan? This is kind of a police thing: you have to actually live here. Your driver’s license has to say “Chicago,” not the address of your parents’ house in Schaumburg.

Where would you like to get engaged? It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s the right person and a big ring.

In a dream world, who would you look like? Sienna Miller. Write like? James Patterson. Cook like? Giada De Laurentiis. And sing like? Madonna.

What do you do every day? Walk my dog, Midnight, a black Lab; read a book before bed; and have some candy.

Last movie that made you cry? I cried in The Departed, during the police funeral.

Favorite blog? I don’t have one. Probably because I’m not that into my computer at home, and I don’t work in front of one.

Most recommended book? Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts.

Who are you a secret groupie for? The [most recent] Bachelor.

What song will be played at your wedding? I really haven’t given my wedding much thought.

What’s your go-to homemade meal? Cereal is my favorite food. I’m a huge Honey Nut Cheerios fan.

Fill in the blanks: Vacations are for adventure, not umbrella drinks.

You pull a Ferris Bueller and call in sick on a beautiful July day. What do you do? I’d have to go to Oak Street Beach.

What Chicago neighborhoods have you lived in? [Near] UIC on Taylor Street, West Loop, and Lincoln Park.

How long is too long to spend looking for a parking spot? I only give it about five minutes. I’m not the most patient person.

Teacher’s pet or class clown? Teacher’s pet.

What did you think you’d be when you grew up? I thought I’d be a criminal prosecutor.

Name one thing you have in your house from your childhood: A stuffed alligator named Gus.

And one embarrassing thing you hide when guests are coming over: Gus, poor guy.

Describe the state of your closet: Well organized, thanks to the Container Store. I just got all those clear plastic things you put your shoes in.

What’s your power outfit? A workout outfit. A cool sweatshirt, gym shoes, pants, and Nikes. I am obsessed with Nikes. I have three pairs of Air Max 360s. I’m a gym shoe junkie.

How much is too much to pay for jeans? Nothing is too much, as long as they fit well.

Have you ever collected anything? I collected silver dollars because, when I was little, the Tooth Fairy would leave them for me.

Last time you jumped up and cheered? The first Bears possession of the Super Bowl.

Last time you told a lie? I haven’t lied to you yet, but probably hours.

Last time you Googled yourself? I’ve never done that. I don’t think there’s anything about me that’s out there.

If you could give someone a talking-to, who would it be? President Bush.

What do you do when a server at a restaurant brings you a horrible dish? I would have to take a few more sips of wine and call the server over to discuss it. But I would not be mean because I think that’s a very difficult job.

How many times do you hit the snooze button? Never. I hate snoozers.

Dive bar or nightclub? Dive bar.

What’s your remedy for a tough day? I don’t have too many tough days, but maybe a cocktail: a Captain Morgan and Diet Coke with a lime.

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