You got the acting bug early, what was it about acting that appealed to you? Were your parents protective or concerned about your decision to enter into a field known for its high level of rejection?
I never could make up my mind on what I wanted to be, growing up. A high school math teacher, a doctor, a theater-as-therapy counselor, serving in the Peace Corps… But I saw a production of a musical at a young age and something about the feeling of being on stage and getting to live many different lives all while still being me made me feel alive in a way I never wanted to give up. Of course I don’t think I realized that at 8, I think I just was consumed with the joy of telling stories. And that irreplaceable feeling of being truly in each moment.
You’ve done theater — do you hope to go back to performing in front of a live audience again? What is more exposing or scary – filming a sex scene or live theater?
I can’t wait for the day I get to go back to the theater and tread the boards for a few months! Performing in front of a live audience is one of the most exhilarating, vivacious, and awe-inspiring things you can do as an actor. It was my first love and it will always hold the most special place in my heart. I was Elisabeth Moss’s understudy for the Broadway production of SPEED THE PLOW and I went on for one performance opposite William H. Macy and Raul Esparza- without ever having rehearsed with the two of them together. It was the most terrifying and exposing thing I have ever done- and the most thrilling.
While picking your next projects, do you feel hyper-vigilant about not being pigeonholed in the sexy roommate/girlfriend role? Are you already being offered more of the same?
I have always chosen projects where I am compelled or inspired by the character, the director, and/or the producers.
Naturally that has led to a wide array of characters to play thus far and I plan on continuing to choose projects in that light. I’m naturally drawn to variation- I can’t help myself.
How do you handle the sudden attention? Do you dig red-carpet dressing up?
I just feel incredibly lucky to have a job doing what I love. It is not lost on me what a blessing that is and I am very grateful. The fact that it sometimes involves putting on beautiful dresses is icing on the cake– but my favorite moments are always just being in the thick of it on set.
When I was growing up, anything other than vanilla — B+D, S+M, gender variance — was taboo and labeled deviant and sick. Now people are more free to explore and play with roles and gender, but there are still those who regard anything that is “different” as twisted. Have you had to do deal with any of that judgment? If so, how do you handle it? What is your attitude about expressing one’s sexuality, gender, etc?
I was fortunate to grow up in a very open and accepting community and that has shaped me into the person I am today. During high school I worked with Planned Parenthood as a peer educator, which meant going into local high school and middle school classrooms and talking with teens about their experiences with sexuality, peer pressure, bullying, and all the other complicated issues that come with being teenagers. Then and now, I am incredibly committed to dispelling the notion that “other” is bad or wrong. It’s important for art to instigate conversations that we otherwise maybe wouldn’t be having- and it’s equally important for us all to approach each other with open minds and hearts