The A-List Interview: Rose McGowan

Playing another witch in Conan the Barbarian, the Charmed alum opens up about her gay sister, her education by drag queens, and how she feels about her gay bestie criticizing her outfits on Fashion Police.



Since her 1995 breakthrough role in Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation, Rose McGowan has scared up trouble and terror in films such as Scream, Jawbreaker, and Grindhouse. Now playing another witch in Conan the Barbarian, which muscles into theaters August 19, the 37-year-old Charmed alum continues to cast a wicked spell on gay fans.

The Advocate: Something tells me that the gay audience is going to love Marique, your Conan villainess.
Rose McGowan: While spending six hours in makeup every day, I thought, I can’t wait to see the boys and girls do Marique for Halloween in West Hollywood. She’s quite majestic and beautiful in an otherworldly way.

Jason Momoa, who plays Conan, isn’t too shabby either. When I see him in the movie, am I more likely to be aroused or develop a case of body dysmorphic disorder?
Aroused. Jason’s ass is epic. When I saw his backside naked, I was like, Oh, my. He’s got a beautiful body, because it’s not all Mr. Steroid. He looks raw and masculine.

Are you into big muscles?
I like people who are fit. I figure if I work out, you can at least return the favor. Would I go out with a meathead? No.

Back to the WeHo boys and girls, what was your earliest exposure to gay people?
When I came to the states from Italy around the age of 10, there would always be kids in school picked on for being different. I was as well — every day I’d hear, “You’re the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” and people would throw things at me out of their cars — but I didn’t care, so I’d fight back on behalf of the other kids. Looking back, I get it now that many of them were most likely gay. At 13, when I was a runaway, I was taken in by the most amazing drag queens in Portland, Ore. We didn’t always know where our next meal was coming from, but there was so much camaraderie and love. Not to mention, those girls could paint a face, and I learned how because of them.

Did they take you out to clubs?
Yeah, and I looked like I was about eight. I could finagle my way into lots of different places. Whether it was how I danced or the way I looked, I was always quite celebrated in the gay clubs. To this day, I only go to gay clubs. I’m perfectly at home there. I also like watching hot boys and hot girls who can dance.

Are you bisexual?
No. I disappoint myself. I’ve never even kissed a girl. Isn’t that funny? The girls I think are cute look like guys, but then I think, But if they open their shirt, they’ll have breasts. You know that guy Brad [Goreski], who was Rachel Zoe’s assistant? I’d be attracted to a girl version of him.

That admission alone may make you an honorary member of the LGBT community.
I was actually gay-bashed once. When I was with the drag queens, I had really short hair — sometimes they’d dress me up as Charlie Chaplin, just for fun — and I got clocked coming out of a gay club. But it was awesome, because my boys beat the hell out of those people, and it’s that kind of shit that’s made me a fighter for equal rights and for anybody’s humanity.