Did you struggle with identity issues growing up in Connecticut?
In high school I did. I was very frustrated with the town I grew up in and really wanted to be somewhere where there were more influences. This was, of course, pre-Internet, and it was really hard finding sources for things that I wanted to find out about. I wanted to be stimulated in a different kind of way, and I met kids from all different towns and was very influenced by all the different scenes—the skinheads [the punk/ska (not racist) kind], then the skater kids, and then the hardcore kids. I was wearing a lot of different hats, so that was something like an identity crisis, but it was more of a style crisis—of finding a way to identify with your tribe by what you wore. With my sexuality, I kind of played around with that a little bit in high school and after. But I’m always pretty much sure of what I want and where I’m going.
There seems to be this unanimous belief that you’re the ultimate cool girl. I haven’t heard much criticism about your work or you as a person. Has anyone ever said anything to you or about you that made you question yourself and your abilities?
I think I’ve had pretty thick skin since I was young. When I first was in the public eye, there was this article about my being celebrated that was very cruel. It said, “Well, she’s not smart or that talented or very beautiful.” And after somebody says that about you, it’s just like, what can you do? But you know, there are always haters. When people attack my physicality, that hurts more than attacking my talent or smarts or anything because there’s nothing that you can do about that.
How did you learn to move past that and embrace your looks?
Well, promiscuity helps. Just kidding…but sometimes it does help rebuild the ego. There are books like The Broken Mirror on body dysmorphia that teach about perspective—to remember what’s important and what’s not important, to just try to embrace yourself and not worry about those sorts of things.
It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to do that these days with the Internet and the kind of cyber-bullying that inspired #Horror—it seems like pre-teen girls are even more jaded and messed up emotionally because of it.
But hasn’t that always been the way? When I was in junior high, there were some days I would not want to go to school because of bullying. You know, I think that that’s always going to be around.