AE: So, do you guys have brunch on the show each morning?
HL: Well, we started out in the beginning where sometimes we’d make brunch, but really it’s just kind of like a cup of coffee and, you know. That’s pretty much what I have every day. It really is more just the name of the show.
AE: But you said sometimes you get to cook on the show.
HL: Sometimes I get to cook and we have other guests who come in and cook. But we’ve had some really fantastic chefs come in and cook, and that’s always fun.
AE: So, tell me about Xcess/Access.
HL: Xcess/Access is a show that I did with my old production company, Siren Multimedia.
Basically I pitched this fashion concept last March to Frank Olsen and he said, “Absolutely, do it.” Eight days later we were the shooting fashion shows in Los Angeles. So just having a
background in fashion has given me access in a way that not everybody can get. It’s also knowing what to look for. Having been a model, it’s like going back and talking to models, I find that it’s easy for them to talk to me, because I’ve done what they do. And I don’t come in
criticizing them or coming in with a lot of judgment, which so may people do, because they don’t really respect it for the very, very difficult job that it is. It’s like with any sort of
celebrity: People often think that it’s easy, that it’s a walk in the park. Modeling in some ways is even more difficult than acting, I think, personally.
AE: Well, I guess when it’s done well, that’s when it looks effortless and easy.
HL: Oh, yeah. So what we did was we went in and shot behind the scenes. It’s like
Excess/Access was basically excessive access to the world of fashion. Behind the scenes of the shows, of the parties, you know, interviewing celebrities and models. And I actually walked two shows, which was terrifying. So I got to do the catwalk, which is something I hadn’t done in over a decade.
AE: Wow. Good for you.
HL: Yeah, it was never my favorite part of the modeling business, and I can honestly say it still isn’t.
AE: But you made yourself do it.
HL: Well, yeah, I made myself do it, because it was a job. Of course, I had to carb to sleep for three days, but after that I was happy to eat some pizza again.
AE: Then Queer Eye for the Straight Girl — you’re not still doing work with that.
HL: No. Queer Eye for the Straight Girl just had one season. It was a great platform for me, but the unfortunate thing is that with one season I think it’s very hard to know the impact.
Because not everyone is going to write in or call in and say, “Hey, this is great. I love this show.” But my experience has been that since the show has not come back, everybody I know who saw it — or even just complete strangers — say to me, “Oh, I loved it. I wish that show would come back. I had no idea.” So they didn’t know. And I think that’s just part of the Bravo makeup, you know? If you tend to overrun shows seven times in one week, there’s nothing
special about it. But I think that the show was a great idea and that the Queer Eye guys, they’re still out there, doing their thing. Everything has a shelf life.
AE: And it seems like it’s the rule rather than the exception that series get canceled, even when people out there like it.
HL: Oh, exactly. And ultimately it’ll play itself out like everything does. And then hopefully everybody gets to move on to other things. That’s where I feel just fortunate that I got to do this to begin with, because being the lone female in this group of Queer Eye guys, I got to stand out in a way that said more about one segment of our community, be cause there are so many different types of lesbians. So I just got to use my experience as a mother and as a business woman and a divorcee, someone who’s been married and divorced and in a relationship and just all of those great things. And just working with women, making women over, was a hell of a lot more challenging, I think, than making any guy over. Period.
HL: Oh, yeah. Women have a definite idea of who they are. And most of the guys, if you’ve seen the show, it’s just like you tell them to comb their hair or tuck in your shirt, or match your belt and shoes, and that’s pretty much it, you know?
AE: [Laughs] Plus, they’ll just do it.
HL: Oh, we had women crying about their hair and… It’s just like, oh dear.
AE: So, on the show, you were “The Lady.” What was up with that title?
HL: It’s really just, you know, they had the Look, the Lifestyle, the Locale and the Lady. You know, it was the four L’s. That’s why I think a lot of the gimmicky stuff that they did, which I don’t know whose idea those names were — whatever. But I think the Lady encompassed everything it was to be a woman. Being the Lady was not being one of the guys, bottom line. It was all that being a lady encompasses.
AE: So, you’ve been in commercials, films, TV, and then you’ve produced film and TV since ’94, is it?
HL: About that. I think it was actually in ’97 that I set out to start producing. Because it’s only been about seven or eight years now. So in ’97 I was still modeling and I decided — I read the script for April’s Shower and I thought, Wow. I really, really would love to produce this. So Trish Doolan and I set out to make April’s Shower. You know, it took us six years to make that film.