Interview with Mia Kirshner


Who killed Jenny Schecter? A mere five months ago, that was the burning question on lesbian lips in living rooms and local bars from Los Angeles to Little Falls, New Jersey.

Mia Kirshner (Miss Conception, The Black Dahlia, 24) — the astonishing actor who played Jenny, and managed to find the humanity in a character known for uttering, “Adele, the appliqué on the back of your jeans was declared an abomination by the Geneva Convention,” and other psychotic bon mots — is in fact a thoughtful woman who’d rather spend time with her friends than bask in the spotlight of Hollywood.

After a record six years as Showtime’s longest running original series, The L Word finally ended in March, putting our love-to-hate relationship with Jenny Schecter to rest, not to mention relieving us of those annoying alliterations.

What many people don’t know is, all that time, Mia was also focused on humanitarian issues, and in October, 2008, she published her first book, I Live Here, a collection of “visually stunning” narratives told through journals, stories and images, by refugees and displaced people from around the world.

The normally press-shy actress talked to and opened up about working on The L Word, her reaction when she found out Jenny was dead, and furthering her efforts for I Live Here with an upcoming fundraiser that will include L Word cast members Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman and Rose Rollins. Now that The L Word is over, can you tell us what your overall experience was like?
Mia Kirshner:
It’s hard to talk about an overall experience, because each year was so different. But looking back now that a few months have passed since it ended, I miss seeing the girls. They were really fun to work with. I miss that dorm atmosphere that happened on the set. I miss giggling with them. I think in retrospect, in spite of some of the weirdness with the storylines, particularly with my character, it was wonderful. Showtime gave us a lot of freedom, and I realize how rare that is, and how lucky we were to have those jobs.

AE: How was it to work with so many women and so few men? That’s a rare thing.
It is a rare thing. When I first started the show, I was worried about it because in high school, there were packs of girls that reminded me of packs of wolves. I always felt like a group dynamics [can get] nasty. I remember in the pilot, I kept to myself. But now, I can only say it was a really wonderful experience – on the social side of it and the creative freedom that we had.

Working with all women is a great thing. Women talk more about how they’re feeling, what they’d like from each other, and what they don’t like. It can be a more sympathetic environment, if that makes any sense.

AE: You were all doing something groundbreaking, a show about lesbians, and going through it together. Did that help?
We never thought of it like that. I didn’t at the time. And we had all had our own experiences in the gay community, with women, whatever. Not all of us, but some of us. It wasn’t a big deal. And we were shooting in Vancouver, so we were in a little bubble.

AE: So, being cut off from Hollywood fostered a little esprit de corp?
Yeah, it was nice. We had dinner in each other’s homes. Leisha [Hailey] and I lived together the first year. It was a special, special time.

Kirshner with Hailey at the launch party for her book

AE: Who were you closest to in the cast? Who do you miss the most?
I would say I was close to Leisha. Kate [Moennig] and I hung out a lot. But it was always group stuff. Leisha, certainly, because I lived with her the first year and the second year. We got to know each other very well.

Rose Rollins is definitely one of my best friends. I speak to her every single day. I love her very, very much. And I would say Jennifer [Beals], as well.

AE: So, that notion that women don’t support each other, or try to keep each other down — you didn’t see any of that?
No, absolutely not. I didn’t. Also, I was working on I Live Here, the whole time I was in Vancouver, so I had other things I was thinking about. I was focusing my energy on the book. I wasn’t that involved in the politics.

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