The following feature appears in the February 2017 issue of NYLON.
Like many successful, so-called nasty women, Lena Dunham is a masterful practitioner of the sugarcoated business voice. You know the one; Melanie Griffith cooed it in Working Girl. Taylor Swift could offer an MBA in it. Game of Thrones’ Margaery Tyrell wrapped boy-kings around her pinkie with it. If you wield it incorrectly, though, beware: Hillary Clinton, Dunham’s political girl-crush, never powdered enough sugar on those boss pipes during the election, according to the pundits. And, well, we all know how that went.
Dunham, 30, identified with Clinton, whom she actively campaigned for alongside friends America Ferrera and Amber Tamblyn, because the demands to be a different kind of woman have burned her, too. More aggressive, more gentle, more clothed, more invisible, more whatever, it’s always changing. But after six seasons of creating, writing, directing, producing, and acting in her HBO series, Girls, which premieres its final season on February 12, Dunham has finally learned how to be her own kind of bohemian boss. She’s learned to apologize when she makes mistakes, but never to apologize for living in plain sight. And living in plain sight means asking for what you want—but in the voice, always the voice.