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LEISHA... Interviews and Articles Online

Lovin' the Leisha

Leisha Hailey: The L Girl

Leisha Hailey - A Whole Lot of L

Showtime Live Chat

An Interview With Leisha Hailey

Changing Roles - The L Word Leisha Hailey Tackles Music And Acting

 


 

Lovin' the Leisha

by Anne S. (2007-04-01) - Advocate.com

Advocate.com © 2007 PlanetOut Inc.

Hi y'all, Anne here. I won't lie; I was moving slower this morning. Actually, so was everybody. Even the spikes on the young dykes' fauxhawks were drooping. Before I packed up my bags over at the Wyndham, I had to take a couple minutes and go dip in the pool. The deck chairs were already full of scenery. I left my towel on a patch of concrete near a gaggle of deck chairs occupied by some laid-back ladies. Hearing their conversation, I realized the redhead in the middle was visiting from Ireland. "Having a good time?" I asked? "Terrible," she replied—gesturing with a big grin to the sun overhead and the flesh all around. "Dreadful weather and nothin' to see!"

I couldn't linger, though.  I got a hot text message from my Undercover Buddy over at the Doral L Word Pool Party. "Alice just got here—signing Tshirts!"

All right, then, The Advocate's on the way!

 

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Leisha Hailey is the BEST. I'm telling you. I first met Leisha before she was the big cheese that she is today. And, while we all know so much more about how gifted she is, Leisha has in no way turned into that horrid-attitude-trainwreck of a human being that celebrity practically dares you to become. Leisha's outstanding work on The L Word has earned her a reputation as our new Lucille Ball—an actress so natural and so buoyant that we always believe she's actually in the predicament she's acting—and so lovable that we want to hug her till it's all better.

Leisha and Lucy share this in common, too:  Like Lucy, Leisha is a businesswoman with an eye on the future. Where Lucy built Desilu, the TV production powerhouse, Leisha founded Marfa Records, where she's giving super musicians the chance to be heard.

But there's also a huge difference between our two L girls.  Lucy, as we know, couldn't sing a lick. But our Leisha is just a good a musician as she is an actor.  Leisha's first band was The Murmurs, then came Gush.  And NOW…DRUM ROLL!…Leisha's got a brand new band. The name:  Uh Huh Her! (The exclamation mark is mine.)

All of which brings y'all up to date: When I hit the Doral Pool Party, there's lovely Leisha, signing "Uh Huh Her" T Shirts. I asked her to autograph one for her Advocate fans (we'll be giving it away soon; watch for the sweepstakes on Advocate.com).

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They say "follow your bliss…"

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And Leisha is a major bliss-magnet.

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Meet Uh Huh Her Bandmate Camila Grey (left), blissed-out Anne, and lovely Leisha. I can't wait to hear their music. And the minute I do, you'll read about it in The Advocate.

 


Leisha Hailey: The L Girl

by Lawrence Ferber (2006-02-15) - Windy City Times

(Thanks to Southie from TWOP for the link)

The Human Rights Campaign and Showtime teamed up to launch season 3 of The L Word, bringing together thousands of fans across the country for an evening of celebration and education. L Word creator/executive producer Ilene Chaiken and star Pam Grier made guest appearances at the Atlanta premiere event, while new cast member Daniela Sea made a splash entrance in Washington, D.C. Cast members Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey, Kate Moenning, Erin Daniels and Alexandra Hedison helped kick off the Los Angeles event. The premiere was a huge hit with fans who are thrilled to support HRC and check out the L Word this season. Nearly 500 individuals hosted house parties to screen the events at home, while more than 15,000 people joined us at nearly 40 events nationwide. Photos by Kevin Weaver, for the Human Rights Campaign

Leisha Hailey used to be one-of-a-kind. When Hailey joined the cast of Showtime’s The L Word three years ago as bisexual journalist Alice Pieszecki, she was the only out actor on the show. But with season three, which premiered Jan. 8, she was joined at last by other openly queer talent including Alan Cumming, as bisexual The Planet manager/party boy Billie Blaikie, and Daniela Sea, as Jenny’s ( Mia Kirschner ) new gender-bending lover, Moira. So, you see, Hailey’s not one-of-a-kind anymore. And she’s fine with that.

“Yeah, I can handle it—I think it’s good for the show,” Hailey says. “It makes it fun. And it’s not like before I ever felt like an outcast or anything like that.”

Alas, her character, Alice, endured some outcast moments during Season 2. She and tennis star best friend Dana ( Erin Daniels ) fell in love, made a go of it, and found that things weren’t working out. Their breakup lead to the pill-popping, irrational and obsessed stalker Alice has become at the start of Season 3. More romantic strangeness follows: by Episode 6 Alice becomes distracted by a new romantic interest: Uta ( Erica Cerra ) , a lesbian vampire. In between checking mirrors for a reflection, Alice realizes that Uta is damn good when it comes to sex, and she can finally get over Dana. But fate has a twist in store for Dana that will bring Alice and all of her friends together … she has cancer.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Nebraska, Hailey trained at NYC’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She garnered her first following as one-half of The Murmurs, an alt-rock band with Heather Grody. The Murmurs contributed music to, and Hailey appeared in, 1997’s teen lesbian classic, All Over Me. Once she landed the role of Alice in The L Word, Hailey turned her focus to acting, and since then The Murmurs—which became Gush—have split up. Hailey recently stepped behind the camera to executive produce a documentary about teens raised by gay parents, Raising Teens, which will air on LOGO and MTV in 2006. And Hailey can regularly be seen as a man-hungry yogurt-eater in a series of Yoplait TV commercials.

To discuss The L-Word, Alice and bi-curious yogurt, I spoke with Hailey by phone.

Lawrence Ferber: How was making Season 3 different from making last season?

Leisha Hailey: I really feel like we got back to the first year feeling this year. Last year there was so much pressure. Because we had done so well the first year, we came back full of anxiety. Everyone was trying to top it somehow, or worried about topping it. It was odd. But this year we came back and were ourselves again and the energy was great. It feels like a really tightly run ship.

LF: Alice has quite an arc so far this season. In just the first six episodes she goes from being a complete stalker psycho to hooking up with a vampire.

LH: Yeah, it’s a great year. I feel really lucky because there’s so much to play with. I go from one end of the spectrum to the other, which is really fun for me. It’s rare that you see people taking getting dumped and turning psychotic. And as much as it looks crazy, I’ve seen people react in those ways.

LF: Have you ever reacted that way?

LH: I’ve never stalked anyone, but I’ve felt that angry. It makes you feel like you’re losing control, after severe heartbreak. Not that I’ve ever acted on it, but I can understand where that came from.

LF: Do you know which writer brought the vampire idea to the table?

LH: I feel like [ show creator ] Ilene Chaiken told me that Quentin Tarantino pitched the idea.

LF: Have you ever met a real vampire?

LH: I haven’t. It would be interesting. But I know there’s a whole lesbian vampire scene. I’ve seen pictures.

LF: What sorts of other ideas have been pitched but didn’t fly?

LH: I think there’s a lot of that, but it doesn’t get to us [ actors ] . I haven’t been in the writer’s room [ lately ] .

LF: I heard they have the real lesbian love/sex chart in there. Are you on it?

LH: They do. I am! It’s accurate. But I haven’t looked at it since the pilot.

LF: And does your set of branches look like a bonsai tree or a weeping willow?

LH: Yeah, it’s nuts.

LF: Was Alice closer to you when you first started playing her, or now?

LH: Now. Not the crazy stuff, but maybe the longer you play a character you sink into it, or the more of yourself comes in. I’m not sure. It definitely feels like I relate a lot more now.

LF: Do things going on with the other characters ever correspond to events in your own life or ring particularly true?

LH: Yeah. I think they touch on a lot of things. I guess for some reason I really relate to Bette and Tina. Maybe because they’re a domestic couple …

LF: Aren’t they such fags? Always breaking up, having affairs, getting back together …

LH: Yeah, right. Well, who’s not having an affair on the show.

LF: Point taken! Who has been your best onscreen lover so far?

LH: Erin! For sure. The vampire was great, but because Erin and I are so close it made it fun to go into work every day.

LF: I heard that some cast members cringe if they suspect the writers might pair them up with an actress they’ve come to know as a close friend. Like, “Oh please don’t let us hook up, we’re like sisters!”

LH: Yeah. [ Laughs. ] Certain people were like “No, don’t put us together.” But once you are together it’s funny and makes work a lot of fun.

LF: Have there been actual romances on-set?

LH: No. Not that I know of.

LF: Are there pranks played on set, like during a scene where you order a coffee at The Planet you’re given something disgusting?

LH: No but I’m going to use that next year! Yeah. Pranks definitely go on but I can’t think of one offhand.

LF: How does the cast respond to the glut of L Word gossip out there?

LH: It depends. It’s not like we all sit around reading the message boards but you hear things. It’s just funny because you have no idea how things start. It’s strange what people come up with. But it’s pretty entertaining.

LF: Do you have a favorite bar in Vancouver?

LH: Yeah, we go to this place all the time called Rodney’s. It’s like a clam shack. We love it.

LF: What has it been like with Alan Cumming on set?

LH: I love him, he couldn’t be nicer. He’s funny, witty, and makes the whole room laugh. Especially at the table script read-throughs every week, which aren’t always the liveliest things to do. A lot of times you have to play characters that aren’t in the room. Alan is great with those.

LF: It’s funny to see you cooing about men in those Yoplait commercials.

LH: I know, it’s funny. Especially with the same girl in every commercial. She likes the L word.

LF: Have you ever asked if your Yoplait character could become bi-curious, or is that more of a Dannon yogurt thing?

LH: Yeah, it may be that. That’s something I started doing years and years ago and sometimes out of the blue they’ll call and I’ll do another one.

LF: So The Murmurs and Gush are in the past. You’ve completely shifted from music to acting, then?

LH: Yeah, definitely. I think it was hard for me at first to figure out what was happening because I had spent so many years doing music. But acting is what I always wanted to do. It’s hard to let something go you’ve concentrated on and put so much energy into, but I think now I finally made peace with the fact that this is what I’m going to try and do.

LF: How does Heather Grody feel about this?

LH: We’re great. We didn’t have a sad ending or anything. At that point we had been together almost 12 years. So she continued on. She’s great.

LF: What can you tell me about the Raising Teens show you exec-produced?

LH: I co-produced it with Lara Spotts and Sam Counter .The ‘gayby boom’ [ of gays having children ] is fairly new. So it was about finding teenagers who were products of gay marriages that had been there from the very beginning. We wanted to talk to the teens and find out what their experience has been like. We found three fabulous kids and went through their journeys and talked about what it’s been like and what it’s like today.

LF: Was it hard to find the kids and parents? And will this lead to more behind the scenes activity?

LH: It really was. It took like three months just casting the kids. We had to find teens that had an arc happening at that time in their life so it wasn’t only talking heads where they just tell us about the past. So we could actually follow them going through something. I really liked the process of filming and meeting the families, but the producing part is not so much my thing. Too office-y for me. I’m too creative for the phone calls, e-mails, that type of thing.

LF: Have you considered becoming a gay parent?

LH: No. I don’t think so. Not for me. I don’t see myself with kids and never really have. But never say never. I guess what scares me is the thought of getting older and not having any family around. That’s creepy.

LF: Back to L Word, what else is going to transpire this season? Will Alice end up with a partner?

LH: I probably shouldn’t answer that.

LF: Well, do things get easier for Alice?

LH: It only gets worse!

LF: How’s your own love life these days?

LH: Oh great, I’m totally in love! It’s been five years. Her name is Nina. She’s really happy I’m on a show I love so much and she loves everyone on it.

LF: Would you like Nina to do the vampire thing?

LH: No!

LF: You’re going to become a star with vampires and other nightcrawlers, though.

LH: I know! I want to be loved by the vampires.

 


Leisha Hailey - A Whole Lot of L

Lisa Steinberg - questions by deepinblue (01/20/2006)

Q.  We know that the latest season of "The L Word" just began airing.  Do you like where your character has gone this season and do you think that it is realistic for the six months not shown?

A.  That's an excellent question, I do like where my character is just because it's fun for me to play something different, even if it is a little off the wall and crazy and slightly unrealistic, it's still crazy and fun for me.  It made work different, like it just wasn't me hanging out at The Planet hanging out with my friends.  It was actually something to do and as far as the six months go, I would like to see what happened in the six months.  They give us back-stories so we're sure we know what has happened but I'm sure as an audience member it becomes frustrating, because you want to see that played out.

Q.  The show has been up and down ratings wise.  Do you feel the show is strong enough to carry into a fourth season?

A.  Yeah, I think we have a strong enough built in audience and it actually has been doing really well this season with the ratings.  It's gone up from last year so that gives me pretty strong hope that we'll get picked up.  But, you never know.

Q.  You recently guest starred on the show "CSI."  What made you want to be a part of this show?

A.  Well, I wanted to do some different things on my hiatus, we have about six months off.  I didn't want to just hang around waiting for the word, if we're getting picked up or not.  So, I started going out on auditions for guest spots and I got the "CSI" and I also got a "Grey's Anatomy" episode.  I am planning on auditioning still for lots more. 

Q.  You had to go through a big transformation for the role on that show.  What was the hair and makeup process like for you for that role?

A.  It was itchy, it took about two and a half hours to glue all of the hair on my face.  I just thought it would be interesting for me to play something completely and totally different than anything else I've played.  I think it's fun for anyone to play the sort of monster character, it's just another form of an outcast and I really find that interesting.

Q.  Will your band Gush be coming out with a new CD soon?  Will you be adding any more artists to your record label?

A.  Well we're not together anymore, we ended that band about three years ago.  If there is any other music I put out again it would either be something that would be a new project that I would do alone or it would be a reunion with Heather and I for The Murmurs.  I plan to add more artists to the record label, I'd like to sign a country act some time but right now I'm focusing on putting Amy's record out, Amy Cook, and the website is up now so people can actually by the record now.  The website is marfarecords.com.

Q.  You are involved with acting, producing and music.  Is there anything else you would like to try your hand at?

A.  Not right now, I don't have any big plans, I just sort of want to focus on acting and that's pretty much it for this year.  I am really psyched to do different things because I can get bored pretty easily so I like to switch it up all the time. 

Q.  As a role model, what do you recommend for a person who has come out to their family and they don't accept?

A.  That's a really hard question I think it can be so different for so many people it depends.  That's hard, I think you really just have to have a strong support system with your friends and I think that family comes in lots of different ways.  So you form families in life I think as a gay person where your friends become your family, so I think that if someone is having a hard time with their biological family you just need to reach out, find local support groups or friends to talk to.  You actually build your own support system that way.

Q.  As Alice on "The L Word" you have wonderful comedic timing.  Is this something that comes naturally to you or is it something that you're constantly working at?

A.  I guess it comes slightly naturally, I don't know why.  I'm nothing like that in person so maybe it's just the fact that you have funny lines written for you so it's really about delivery.  It's pretty easy for me, it takes a lot of the pressure off so instead of coming up with something funny to say, it's already there.  So, you just have to deliver it in a funny way and that doesn't seem so hard to me. 

Q.  Since the show is in its third season, how do you think the cast keeps up with the chemistry between each other?

A.  Well, it comes naturally, I mean we're all really good friends.  I think the closer we become the more natural and real the relationships between the characters become.  So, it actually just grows deeper I think.

Q.  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A.  I love to run, I run every morning by myself.  I love to go out to dinner, I love to see movies, I like to paint and that's pretty much it.

Q.  What is your latest obsession?  Are you into any particular book, music group, sport or activity?

A.  I just bought a bike so I want to start training because one of my dreams is to do the AIDS ride.  So, I'm going to start doing that and I'm really into The Like, that band.

Q.  Now that it is 2006, what are you most looking forward to this year?

A.  I really this year want to focus on stretching myself in the audition process.  So, when I go out for things I can feel proud of what I did in the room.  I really want to grow as an actress and that's my focus right now.

Q.  What would you like to say to all of your fans and supporters?

A.  I just really want to thank everyone for supporting the show and really getting behind it and understanding there are flaws but at the same time being huge supporters of it.  I really appreciate the compliments that I get and I am very thankful for all of that, I feel very lucky.

 


 

Showtime Live Chat

with Leisha Hailey - February 15, 2004

Leisha Hailey: I guess I just want to start by saying hello to everyone and I hope you enjoyed tonight's episode. I'm looking forward to answering any questions that you have. And at the same time, I'm curious about all the questions.

timeless: Leisha, love you on the show - was it hard for you to decide to take such a controversial role?

Leisha Hailey: Timeless Angel, no, in fact, I was really excited to take this role because it's very different from myself. Also, the subject of the entire show was exciting to me.

calsgrrl: You all seem to get along so great. Have you or any of the others had feedback indicating people have changed their thoughts or attitudes about homosexuals in a positive way?

Leisha Hailey: Calsgrrl, we haven't as a cast gotten feedback about changing anyone's opinions, but we feel like what we're doing on the show will eventually open the minds of people in the world and hopefully show them that being gay is nothing different from anything else. But I feel like gay people are happy to finally be represented on tv.

xdream1: I loved you in The Murmurs and Gush and was wondering if there was any chance that the character of Alice will ever sing on the show?

Leisha Hailey: In the tenth episode, we tell our coming-out stories, and you'll learn that Alice had a band in college. But I don't want to give away too much more than that. It was actually one of my most favorite scenes to shoot the whole season.

marianne: Is it hard to split your time between the show and the band Gush?

Leisha Hailey: Marianne, it was a very difficult decision when I took the show to know if I would have time to do both. Eventually it turned out that it's too difficult to straddle the two careers. But when I get home after shooting, like right now when I'm on hiatus, I have plenty of time to write and will eventually put my own band together. Because Heather and I have decided to let each other go our separate ways musically. For those who don't know, Heather's been my music partner in the Murmurs and Gush, and I'm really stoked that you like the bands, by the way.

chey2000: Leisha, was this the first gay role that you have played?

Leisha Hailey: Chey2000, no it wasn't. I was in an independent movie in college called "All Over Me," where I played a young gay girl named Lucy. That movie was so much fun to work on.

dao10: Does it bother you that many (men and women) may be watching the show for the sexuality rather than the characters/stories?

Leisha Hailey: I feel like people might tune in for one reason in particular and that could be the sex, but I feel like one they get sucked in by the characters, they'll find themselves not caring so much about the sex scenes, and getting more invested in the people. And just to add to that, one of my biggest wishes is that the show succeeds across the board and reaches not only the gay community but the straight world as well.

leznurse63: How was it going on the Olivia cruise now that you are a true lesbian icon?

Leisha Hailey: Leznurse, that's funny, I don't consider myself an icon at all, but it's very flattering, thank you. The Olivia cruise was really really fun. I don't know if you were on it yourself, but I went with Mia and Kate. It was the night the show opened, so we got to view it with the women on the cruise. And that was really special. It was also inspiring because there were couples on that cruise that have been together for 50-some odd years. That was really sweet to see. That was especially meaningful to me because my parents have been together for 38 years, and it's beautiful to see two women last that long.

smedj: Will the L Word tackle the hot topic of gay marriage in future episodes?

Leisha Hailey: Smedj, I'm sure it will, because it's such an important topic to deal with, but I can't say for sure because, as you know, I have nothing to do with the writing. But I'm sure Ilene and the writing staff will deal with that. But I can't say for sure it would be my character. Oh wait, I just remembered something-- it does come up in this season. I was completely spacing out just then. But I definitely can't give it away.

jop82: Leisha, if you could write an episode of the show, where would you like to take your character? Would you make it a funny episode involving Alice or would you want to explore some more difficult, more dramatic sides of her?

Leisha Hailey: That's a really good question. I do crave Alice diving into some deeper issues. But I completely enjoy being funny on the show. I guess I would really love to see Alice fall madly in love in a real way. And try to have a real relationship with someone.

tangy119: How do you feel about portraying a bisexual character, since it is controversial in the lesbian and straight community?

Leisha Hailey: Tangy, it's really fun for me to play a bisexual, because I had to learn so much about that sexual orientation. For me, labels are like a comfort zone. I've always embraced the word "gay." It's always felt natural and safe to identify myself to a word and a community. So bisexuals were challenging to understand. But now I realize that it's just as legitimate of a sexuality as calling yourself gay or straight. It's not what people usually think of, which is a sort of flighty, non-committal person, who can't decide between gay or straight.

daisy25: Do you feel any added responsibility as the only openly gay women on the show?

Leisha Hailey: Daisy, I can't really say that I feel an added responsibility that would be bigger than any other cast member. I feel like we all have a huge responsibility as a group to represent the gay community properly, because the whole cast cares so much, and the writers, about portraying people correctly. Although I'm aware that we're not representing every lesbian in the world. But I can say that I'm proud to be out. I think it shows that being gay and being out in Hollywood is okay. There's nothing to be scared of.

llaughlovelive: Do any of the other actors ask you advice on how to portray a lesbian?

Leisha Hailey: That's really funny. I have to say the answer's no, and that they all seem to be doing an amazing job on their own. I think that they care so much about what they're doing, and that when you put two women together in a love scene it's really no different from a scene with a man, and I can say that because I'm used to being with women, and when I did a love scene with a man it wasn't that much different either. Because love is love, and that's what we're all trying to portray.

meganpage: Do you think it is more important for Alice to fall in love with a man or a woman, or does it matter?

Leisha Hailey: Meganpage, I don't think that falling love with either a man or a woman is gonna matter. I think as long as Alice feels that it's true love, that's what's most important. I personally would like to see her fall in love with a woman, because I feel like it would feel more natural to Alice, but then again maybe that's just me.

sobriquet: Are we going to be able to see more background on these characters via flashbacks etc, throughout the season? I'd love to gain a deeper understanding on what these women went through previously in their lives.


Leisha Hailey: Sobriquet, that's a great question. I think because there are so many characters on the show, and we had only 14 episodes to shoot, that there's a lot of information that needs to be filled in, and I think there was only so much we could do in one season. But that's what's so exciting about getting picked up for a second season. Now that you know the characters on one level, by next season, when you learn more about them, it will be that much more exciting. And p.s., yes, there are some flashbacks.

buddy: Do you have a significant other in your real life? What does he/she think about your role?

Leisha Hailey: Buddy, yes I do. I'm very much in love. She's very supportive of the show and very excited to see me doing something so special. But I gotta say, the long distance is wearing.

flashyheels: Were you surprised when Showtime renewed the show so soon?

Leisha Hailey: No I wasn't surprised at all, because from the beginning they've been behind the show 100 percent. And I think they're just as excited to be at the forefront of a subject matter that's so cutting-edge. I think they realize there's been a void in tv for gays and lesbians, because they've already show the support in "Queer as Folk."

billarox: Do you feel that, like Dana's character, many athletes and actors in high profile professions are being forced to stay quiet about who they are?

Leisha Hailey: Billarox, I really believe when it comes down to it, it's a personal choice whether you want to come out of the closet publicly or not. I don't believe that people are forced to stay quiet in Hollywood. I believe it's just an old myth that if you come out your career will plummet and people won't accept you. But I think that slowly that's all changing, and I think that the more people who are brave enough to be themselves, that people will follow in their footsteps.

nichole: If you could make the President watch one episode of the show, which one would you choose? Or which storyline? And why?

Leisha Hailey: Well, if I could have the control to sit him down for one show, I might as well make him watch the whole season. I can't necessarily pick which character I would make him watch, because I feel like each character and each storyline has something to offer, and that through those characters he might learn something.

fembutch1: I understand that a few of the cast members live near each other does that help in your working relationship.

Leisha Hailey: Fembutch, yes, it was a huge help. Because we were all uprooted, mostly from Los Angeles, into Vancouver, it felt like a tiny town. It helped all of us to be able to go to each other's apartments or houses and cook dinner and watch movies and bicycle around and just be girlfriends. It felt like sleep away camp when I was a kid.

flamenco: The opening scene of every episode doesn't seem to involve the characters on the show. Is it supposed to be a form of social commentary that sets the tone of the episode?

Leisha Hailey: Flamenco, if you watch closely, the random acts that happen at the top of each episode, eventually tie in somehow to the storyline. Sometimes it's really obvious and sometimes it's harder to figure out. But that's what's so cool about it.

rychusbabe: The QAF cast tours the country making appearances at Pride festivals... do you think the cast of the L word will be gracing our celebrations this summer?

Leisha Hailey: I sure hope so. Gay pride festivals are so much fun. I've been to tons of them because my band used to play a lot of them. Actually, one of my biggest wishes that I keep telling Ilene about, is that i want the whole cast to go to the Women's Michigan Music Festival. I don't know if you've ever been, but it's a complete blast. I would love to film an episode there.

itsinthekiss: Leisha, do you read the message boards like Mia had indicated on the last chat?

Leisha Hailey: Yes I do. I try not to look at it too much because sometimes it feels overwhelming. It's so exciting to hear what people are thinking about the show, it makes you feel like a fly on the wall. But we've all talked about it, and we're going to try not to read it so much, because sometimes the negative sticks in your head, and I think that could carry into the second season when we're up there. You could have too many opinions ringing in your head.

snoopy1214: You are a very inspiring person, do you have any advice to people wanting to come out?

Leisha Hailey: Snoopy, that's so sweet of you to say, thank you. I guess giving advice seems silly coming from me. All I can really offer is that I believe when you're true to yourself people respect you more and treat you differently. I've only had good things happen to me because of being out. It's moved me forward personally and professionally. And I have my parents to thank for that, because they always taught me to be honest with myself. And that whatever I was in life was gonna have great outcomes as long as I was truthful.

velvetboo22: I think the show is great because it steers away from so many stereotypes. How do you feel about being part of such a great, break through show?

Leisha Hailey: Velvetboo22, It's honestly one of the biggest thrills of my life. I've always wanted to be a part of something really important, and I never really knew what that was going to end up being. So the fact that I'm a part of the first lesbian series on tv fills me with great pride.

cyndy: So here is a question for you... do you prefer your new blonde hair to your dark strands prior?

Leisha Hailey: That's really funny. I actually went blonde just for fun before I auditioned for this part, so that's how the casting directors met me, so they all assumed I was a real blonde and wanted me to stay like that for Alice. But I actually like myself as a brunette because that's how I know myself, and it just feels like me. I would actually like to buzz it off, but I know I don't have enough time to grow it out for second season.

wow: When did you first realize you were gay, and how was your coming out process???

Leisha Hailey: Wow, I started having feelings for my best friend in high school, but I wasn't sure what any of it meant. But immediately after high school I moved to New York City, and I used to go to a bar called the Cubbyhole, which is now Henrietta Hudson's, after school all by myself. I had a fake ID cuz I was only 18, and I guess you could say I just entered into the world of women. And then eventually in that year when I realized that all this meant I was gay, I told my mom and dad first. And then it was really no problem to come out to any of my friends. But I have to say it was really fun sending women beers across the bar.

blkandwhte: Where can we send you and the other cast members fan letters?

Leisha Hailey: Gosh, I have no idea. I guess for now you could send them to the message board, and I could have Showtime maybe tell you guys where you can send fan letters. It's probably going to end up being the production office in Canada, but don't quote me on that, because i have no idea.

sho_moderator: Any closing comments?

Leisha Hailey: I can't believe the chat's over! That flew by. I guess I just want to say thank you very very much for watching the show and supporting the show. Keep the faith! We all care so much, like I said, and we hope that we're doing you justice. You guys are great, and thanks again. It was great chatting with you.

 

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An Interview With Leisha Hailey

By Jenny Stewart
www.planetout.com
April 2004 


The "L Word's" adorable Leisha Hailey sat down with PlanetOut entertainment editor Jenny Stewart to talk about the complexity of relationships, her favorite lesbian film and why she loved the Dinah Shore episode.

Alice and Dana have that interesting "we're just friends but it could be something more" dynamic going on. Would you like to see the two of them get involved in a full-blown relationship?

I'm only speaking for myself here, but I personally would really like to see them get together.

Really?

Yes, because I think it's the kind of situation that really happens to everyone. I think that sometimes when you're that close to someone, you don't realize that it could cross over.

That's true. I have a friend right now who was really close with someone and the other person just met someone else and started dating her. My friend is very upset by it, and I was asking her "Wait -- are you in love with her, or are you simply having feelings of loss for losing your friend?" And she just can't figure it out.

Exactly.

What has been your favorite episode so far?

I actually had a great time filming the Dinah Shore episode.

That's a great episode!

Yeah, and see, my favorite thing about the show is the parts where we get to see the friends together and the dynamics of all these girls just hanging out. I think the Dinah Shore episode really made that shine.

Are there any particular scenes -- even ones of other cast members -- that have really resonated with you as a lesbian?

Yeah, the Bette and Tina storylines, always. For some reason, I always identify with them because I'm a serial monogamist.

So how you do feel then about the whole cheating thing with Bette?

I think it's real, and I think it happens all the time. And I think that if Ilene were just to show Bette and Tina as this perfect couple all the time, it would just be so unrealistic, because it just doesn't ever end up perfect. And I think it's a huge thing that happens when you meet someone and you connect with them in the world. Some people go for it and some people don't. And I think it's a real challenge.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt watch "Friends" together at home every Thursday night, and I was wondering if you watch "The L Word" every Sunday night?

There's a bar called "The Revolver" in L.A. and they show it on the big screen, and sometimes we all [fellow cast members] meet up and watch it there. One of my favorite things is to see other people watch it. It's so much fun getting to watch their reactions to it -- it's almost like watching theater. [Laughs.] And sometimes, one of us will host a house party and we'll all head over there to watch it.

That sounds like so much fun. So I guess you guys really are that close in real life?

Yes, we really are.

The show's been getting a lot of great guest stars. Is there any particular actress you would like to see come on and perhaps play the role of Alice's love interest?

[Much laughter.] Well I would really like for someone funny to come on, like Parker Posey or Margaret Cho. Someone who would be like, a perfect challenge maybe in the workplace? Like maybe someone Alice could have a funny dynamic with, but that could also possibly turn romantic. But I would want a really funny person.

What about Tina Fey?

[Laughs.] Oh my God, she would be amazing!

Ellen's coming out episode had a profound effect on just about every gay person in the country, and everyone always has a "Where were you the night of the famous episode?" type story. What about you? You were with k.d. lang at the time and she was in the episode, right?

I was actually in the episode.

You were?

Yeah, I was an extra in the coffee shop! [Laughs.] There was room on this seat, so I just sat there. It was funny.

What was the atmosphere on the set?

Oh, it was sooo charged. I mean, it was just crazy -- the energy was nuts. And it was so exciting, because you could feel you were a part of something huge.

What's your current relationship status? Are you single?

Oh, no, no, no. I'm in a total relationship.

What part of a woman do you find most attractive?

Her mouth, always.

What would you like to see happen to Alice in season two?

Well, I already talked to Ilene about this, but I would love to see Alice go through heartbreak. Because I feel like so far she's always been in control of starting and ending things. Well, except for Gabby, but ... no, she was. Well, even though she was totally run over by her. But I think it would be fun to see her sort of left in the dust and have to deal with that. But on a really deep level, you know -- serious heartbreak.

What's your favorite lesbian film?

"Desert Hearts" is so great, just because I think it's the one we all [most lesbians] saw. I remember watching it with my friend Heather, and we were both like screaming because we couldn't believe it. It was so exciting to see two women do that!

Are you getting recognized by lesbians on the street, and if so, what are they saying to you?

Yes, I am, and usually they are just really appreciative. They say that they really like what we're doing on the show and really enjoying it and loving it. And also, a lot of straight girls are coming up to me as well.

Really?

Yeah. In fact, I think it's more straight women than gay women. Like I was in New York, and straight women kept stopping me and saying, "God, I really love your show," which is great. I think that if any girl ever thought about crossing over at one point in her life, then she's watching the show.

The Murmurs were one of the first openly gay bands. Now, all of a sudden, there is this onslaught of openly gay rockers out there. We receive about three CDs a week from these really good bands who are all gay. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork. What do you think of that?

I think it's just ... amazing. I remember meeting the Butchies when they were just starting at the Michigan Women's Festival, and it was so great to see them. They said that they looked up to us, which was really nice. And now, I see them on the covers of gay magazines, and I love it. That's something that really makes me happy.

 

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Changing Roles - The L Word Leisha Hailey Tackles Music And Acting

www.synthesis.net

 

Probably best known for her part in the charming pop group The Murmurs - a group that left an impression on fans in the ‘90s - Leisha Hailey managed to survive the “alternative” rock boom of the last decade. Recently, Hailey has been making more of a splash with her acting, thanks to her role on Showtime’s The L Word. Hailey is no stranger to the screen, however, having roles in independent films such as 1997’s All Over Me and The Snowflake Crusade in 2002. The L Word is Hailey’s first television series, and though she says the schedule is difficult, the work is definitely rewarding.
The L Word explores the relationships of a group of women - both gay and straight; Hailey plays the role of bisexual journalist Alice Pieszecki and stands as the series’ only openly gay cast member. With the second season of The L Word currently in production, boasting an impressive lineup of indie filmmakers like Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) and Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon) drawing director duties, Hailey took the time to answer a few questions regarding both her music and acting careers via e-mail.

I've heard that you've reunited with Heather Grody, your partner in the Murmurs, to form Gush. How does this project differ from the Murmurs?
It was very different because in the Murmurs we both fronted the band and it was very pop driven. In Gush, we wanted to put Heather in front with no guitar and just let her loose. The music was more on the rock side. I played lead guitar and sang backup. It was really fun for me to just concentrate on my guitar playing. But we've since decided to stop that project. We both want to do other things musically outside of each other.

There's a Murmurs song on The L Word Soundtrack, "Genius." Why was that particular song chosen for the soundtrack?
I believe it was chosen because it was in one of the episodes in season one. I was really happy when they picked “Genius” because it's one of my favorite songs from the past.

How do you think it applies to the series, or maybe your character Alice?
The song is about people who might initially judge someone else because they think they are crazy, when really the crazy person is more in touch than anyone else.

What other music projects are you currently working on?
I feel open to so many possibilities musically right now. I'm starting a project in Texas where I'm opening a live music venue and also a small music label. Also, I want to start another band soon.

Does the shooting schedule for The L Word give you time to work on your music?
The shooting schedule is very gruelling but I spend my time off writing music. It's fun to be in Vancouver and meet other musicians too.

What do you get from music that you don't get from acting?
It feels like second nature to me. I don't have to think about it too much. It's non-threatening, whereas acting brings up all of your insecurities. It's a more direct, personal outlet. It's on the spot. With music you can sit around and work on a song forever and maybe no one ever hears it.

What do you like most about your character Alice? What do you like least about her?
Playing Alice is an absolute blast. My favorite thing about her is how outspoken she is. I have personally always been drawn to people like that. The ones who say what’s on their mind at all times. In contrast, the thing I dislike the most is the fact that she won’t let herself be vulnerable. I guess the two go hand in hand.

How do you relate to her, and how did you prepare to take on the role?
I really relate to the friendships she has. My favorite thing about her and the show is the major respect and love this group of friends has for one another. It runs deep. No matter what, friends come first.

How does it feel being the only openly gay member of the cast of a show that deals with issues in the gay community?
Being on this show is one of the biggest thrills of my life. I have so much pride in the fact that as an openly gay person, I'm a part of something so groundbreaking and important for the gay community.

Is it difficult to keep the show topical and entertaining at the same time?
It doesn't feel difficult. I just do my part as an actor. The real pressure probably comes down to the writers.

I've read a quote from you in an interview where you stated that there was a lot of pressure on The L Word. Now that the show is in its second season, how do you think you've handled this pressure and answered some of your critics in the lesbian community? What kind of feedback have you been getting?
The feedback has been incredibly supportive. I think people know how much the entire cast, crew and network care about this show and care about making it the most realistic, honest and entertaining show it can be. I think you can feel that when you watch it and the audience has gotten behind it. Season two will be even better now because of the support we've been getting.

 

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