IMing with Rachael Hip-Flores and Nicole Pacent

 
 

The web series Anyone But Me‘s success is due largely in part to its two stars, Nicole Pacent and Rachael Hip-Flores. Both are accomplished stage actors, college grads and really good at playing lesbians. They’re also full of fun and interesting anecdotes in every interview, so we figured we’d give them an opportunity to interview one another, and found out a lot about the two, including some huge news for Rachael, what Nicole’s looking for in a girl, and what happened to the “Nobody knows I’m a lezbian” T-shirt from the first episode of the second season.

Rachael Hip Flores: Holler!

NP: Oh yes hey!

RHF: This is probably the first time I’ve chatted in like well over a year

NP: LOL. Oh wow.

NP: Yeah this is the first time I’ve chatted in, like, 22 minutes.

RHF: LOL Nice

AfterEllen: So who wants to go first? You guys want to take turns?

RHF: Hmmm, should we just start and see how it goes?

NP: Perrrrfect.

NP: I spent last night typing my personal statement for Yale in front of the fire, surrounded only by my cats. Haha.

RHF: LOL Nice — Yale? Grad school?

NP: I mean, that’s who I am. LOL.

RHF: Acting? Directing?

NP: Yes, grad school. Acting for sure.

NP: I very highly doubt I’ll get in this time around, but I figure it’s a good year to give it my first shot. From what i hear, most people audition more than once before they’re accepted, so may as well get my feet wet and go for it. I figured it’ll be a great way to get some solid classical and contemporary monologues in my pocket, so I’m psyched.

RHF: Sweet, lady — but I wouldn’t be surprised if you get it a bit quicker than you think. When’s the deadline?

NP: The application deadline for Yale is Jan. 3rd and for NYU (the other I’m going for) is the 1st, but my auditions won’t be till mid-Jan. In any case, it’s making it so that the holidays are so not relaxing, haha. But worth it. Are you working on any plays right now?

RHF: Excellent — congrats on the decision! Yeah, actually I’m AD-ing a show that Alexis is in with the Inertia Theater Company, a twin production of Macbeth and an original
show the company is developing.

NP: NICE!

RHF: And I’m also in a three person cast for this beautiful show called Trying.

NP: (And for those out there who might not know — what is ADing?)

RHF: Ah — AD-ing is Assistant Directing and Trying is a beautiful girl-girl love story by Erin Browne. Google it. We’re having a few readings of it in April and hopefully a
production in the spring or summer.

NP: Awwww, I can’t wait to see it! I will definitely Google it, too. Any good monologues in there, perhaps?

RHF: It’s a damn good play; I’m really excited to be a part of it.

NP: (You see where my brain is at right now, haha.)

RHF: Actually, yeah — really gritty stuff about the characters father. Mostly my girl’s pretty taciturn though, not so much of a talker. I’ll send you a copy!

NP: Awesome. P.S. don’t think I’ve ever asked you this — what’s your favorite role you’ve ever played?

RHF: Aah, well, Vivian — but aside from her, I played Vera in Auntie Mame which was Bea Arthur‘s part so I loved that! And then dramatically, I just played Hotspur/Henry Percy in a few Shakespeare’s over the summer and he was such a badass — led an rebellious army and was good at it! Huge temper! It was wonderful. I never get to do that! How about you?

NP: Ooo I would love to see you do some bill Shakespeare. i bet you rock it.

RHF: It’s fun as hell, man!

NP: I know! the most beautiful language ever.

RHF: What about you? Any favorite roles?

NP: Nina in The Seagull — first one that comes to mind. Always. I’ve played her twice, and i would do it again every night for the next three years.

AE: What was the role like, Nicole? In case readers aren’t familiar.

RHF: She stole my question!

AE: Ha I’m sorry, Rachael. You don’t even need a moderator! ;)

RHF: Outrageous!

NP: Well, The Seagull is a Chekhov play (Russian playwright around the turn of the century), and it is loosely based on — or, perhaps, rather draws from — Hamlet, which happens to be probably my favorite play of all time. So Nina is the Ophelia equivalent and she’s this young, aspiring actress (not terribly good), who gets caught up in the “glamorous” world of these accomplished artists, has an affair with an older writer, who knocks her up and leaves her. Her baby dies shortly after birth, and she basically goes insane. The last scene is her coming back to the summer house where the whole thing began, and essentially losing it in front of this young, outcast of a playwright who was the only person that truly ever loved her. Then she leaves into the night and probably dies. Awesome stuff.

RHF: It’s fun going to the dark side isn’t it? So, back to happy love: I have to ask because I’m guessing there are a ton of women asking the same thing — who’d you take to the
premiere party, how’d you meet, what’s she like?

NP: LOL. Oh dear.

RHF: Sorry, it had to be done

AE: That’s right — I didn’t even have to pay Rachael to ask.

NP: I only just noticed yesterday that she was referred to
as my “girlfriend” in the Autostraddle coverage of the party.

RHF: Though food donations are always accepted

NP: I’ll keep her name off the record, as she’s a
much more private person than I, but we’ve been friends for a while
and started seeing each other about a month and a half ago. She’s one
of my sister’s best friends, and the second my sister met her at work,
she came home and said to me, “Nic, there’s this girl you have to
meet. She’s totally your type.” So we’ve been spending a lot of time together and generally just
enjoying each other’s company. We are not officially together, though.

RHF: So — :D what’s your type?

NP: I’ve got too many balls up in the air in my
life right now to be in a committed relationship. But eventually I’d like to have that again with someone. It’s a
beautiful thing and I miss it. But anyway, my type, haha. So specific and you know it;)

RHF: :D I do, but others may want to see if
they’ve got a shot.

NP: I’m always complaining to you about how people try to
set me up with femme girls and it just doesn’t work. Not that they’re not beautiful and lovely and all that — and
of course I wouldn’t say no to femme girls across the board — but i
can’t help being viscerally attracted to girls with more of an
androgynous thing going on. It’s just how it’s been from square one for me.
As i like to put it, little boys with pretty faces. LOL

RHF: LOL. So what was square one for you? Do you
remember what she was like?

NP: Oh my god — I’ve never told this story in an interview, I think. Wow.

RHF: Oh no! Are — You don’t have to if you don’t want to.

NP: OK, so square one is UCONN field hockey camp. Age 15. (Oh, no, I love this story. I did a solo performance piece on it, so no worries.)

RHF: OK, cool!

NP: I went with my field hockey team to UCONN for a five day training camp after my freshman year of high school. All of us ladies had gotten downwind of the fact that some of our counselors were going to be guys from the New Zealand field hockey team, so we were obviously ecstatic. and knowing me, the notoriously
boy-crazy-since-she-was-old-enough-to-put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other girl, I was probably the one leading the pack on this particular thing.

So anyway, we get onto the field that first morning. It’s 8 a.m., the sun is shining, we’re all hyped up, and we see a bunch of the counselors (who we are yet to be introduced to) scrimmaging across the
way. We clearly begin to check them out head to toe. There is one that everyone’s kind of drawn to immediately: Medium-short in height, thin, tan, baggy lax shorts, grey T-shirt, and navy baseball hat. Overall, a good find. So the head coach blows her whistle and all the counselors come running over to greet us, and of course all eyes are on this one guy. So closer and closer he comes, and just as he reaches us, he takes off his hat and, well, I bet you can see where this is going — it’s a chick with a shaved head.

Woah! Hold the phone. So then, of course, laughter breaks out among the girls, and comments like “Eww, I can’t believe I thought she was hot!” are being
whispered amongst my teammates. And I think I managed a half-hearted “Yeah, haha” before
everything around me just stopped, and I thought, “Why do I still think she’s hot?” So that night, after practice, I spent two hours walking around the UCONN campus alone, just thinking, putting together pieces from when i was 8 and 11 and 14 and god who knows. Over the next couple days I just did my best to act normal around the rest of my teammates while my head was exploding. And i still remember her name: Ricki. Haha! So gay. Love it.

RHF: Did she have a New Z accent?

NP: And all can remember from the end of that week is that
I wanted to kiss her more than anything. That’s it — just kiss. It was
so overwhelming. No, she was from the States. Some of the counselors were college players from around the U.S. She might even have gone to UCONN, I don’t know. I remember trying to google her later and never being able to track her down.

AE: Maybe she reads AfterEllen.com

NP: Maybe she does!
wow

RHF: That would be beyond awesome!

NP: Wouldn’t that be crazy?

AE: Ricki, hit up Nicole!

NP: Haha! Do it. So yeah, anyway, that was square one. Little boys with pretty faces.
Gets me every time. What about you, Rach? Type? (Oh and i really want to ask about what you showed me at the launch party, but I won’t if you’d rather not talk about it;)

RHF: :-D Well, why not? I guess I’ll just have to make a few calls before this gets posted.

NP: YESSSSS.

RHF: Oh lord. Interesting night it will be then. OK, my
type: Very sweet and bright, light hair, light eyes, tall(ish), preferably willing to watch Jeapordy with me.
Those are the basics. ;)

NP: Haha oh Jeapordy: I always wished I could get into it.

RHF: He wins everytime! And I’m good at it! It’s really quite awful.

NP: well, it seems as though you’ve met your match, as it were ;)

RHF: I think I’ll hang on to him a little while :D So wait — I have a question: You’re bi. Do you look for the same personality traits in men and women?

NP: Ooo great question! But, before that, are we really not going to discuss the whole second part of my question? (Again, OK if you don’t want to, I’m just a huge dork and am fixated on it. Just tell me to shut up anytime.)

RHF: OK sorry — missed the second part. Ask away!

NP: What was that accessory you were wearing at
the launch party that added the perfect glamorous touch to your lovely
ensemble?

RHF: That would be my engagement ring?

NP: BAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m still freaking out about it.

AE: Ooh congrats!

NP: Can’t help it.

RHF: LOL Thanks! Yeah it’s still a smiley thing!

AE: Girls’ hearts are officially breaking around the world

NP: And i already know for a fact how much you’re going to
cry at the ceremony ;)

RHF: No ceremony! Not if I’m gonna go down like that! Aw hey, my lesbian self is still unattached — though, Nicole, you’ve got first dibs.

AE: That reminds me, I need to know: What happened to the “lezbian”
shirt after the first episode? Did you keep it, Rachael?

NP: LOL I don’t know. I assume Rach did.

RHF: No! And I don’t know why, ‘cuz God knows I keep most of those clothes. I think a crew member may have snagged it — maybe Meredith our intern. Someone who has more of a claim on it than I do.
I have no idea!

NP: Haha, that was going to be my next guess — someone on set. I already have enough gay-themed apparel, so i just let it be.

RHF: I think it went to someone on set. I did keep the
gym shirt though from episode fiveish.

AE: Oh good! Nicole, have you kept anything from set?

NP: Hmm I’m not sure. Actually. for a while, there we were only using our own clothes for wardrobe, So, yes, I kept everything. Haha.

RHF: Nice finds, those.

NP: Otherwise, I don’t think so. Maybe some pizza.

RHF: It is with us always.

AE: Nice! What a perk! So it’s been a little over an hour,
and I know you guys are busy. Anything else you want to know (and have
AfterEllen readers know) about each other?

RHF: Nicole! Which Star Wars character are you?

NP: Leia, obviously. Dressed up as her for Halloween when I was 9 and my sister went as an Ewok.

RHF: Nice. I did it when I was 20.

NP: LOL That’ll give a younger sibling a complex.

RHF: Tell me about it.

NP: Very cool! I’ll have to see the pictures sometime and Rach, last question for you: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?

RHF: A writer. That was the plan until I went crazy and
went to acting school instead. Acting was a very late(ish) development. I was good at one point in my life, but I think I’m much happier now :) Much to the chagrin of pretty much every English teacher I’ve
ever had.

NP: Oh yes, i hear you on that one.

AE: Maybe you will write your life story some day in a juicy memoir
after your brilliant acting career.

NP: Yessss.

RHF: Trish — you write it!
You’ve got dibs!

AE: Sounds like a plan. As long as I’m paid in pizza

RHF: That’s a woman I respect right there! Hired!

AE: Yess! You guys, thanks so much for chatting today. I know we got
some good stuff out of you :) My evil plan!

RHF: Woohoo!! This was a blast!! Thanks so much
for having us!

NP: This is was so much fun! What a great idea. Thanks for
indulging us.

RHF: Peace!

NP: Peace!

 
 

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