No Shrinking Violet
BY Brandon Voss
July 08 2010 2:25 PM ET
She may have slipped off your radar because of her refusal to participate in VH1 reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club and The Surreal Life, but it’s a fact that Mindy Cohn, best known as Natalie Green on the ’80s boarding school-set sitcom The Facts of Life, is still making a steady living in Hollywood. The 44-year-old Los Angeles native now stars in Violet Tendencies as Violet, an unlucky-in-love “fruit fly” swarmed and sometimes stifled by a group of gay male friends in New York City. Violet Tendencies, directed by Casper Andreas and penned by Out columnist Jesse Archer (collaborators on films like Slutty Summer and A Four Letter Word), screens July 10 at Outfest 2010, which Cohn, Archer, and Andreas all plan to attend. Having recently headlined an Ontario production of Glorious! a play about cult opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins and her gay accompanist, Cohn gives The Advocate just the facts, ma’am, of why she’s earned the right to call herself a “fag hag.”
The Advocate: Have you been enjoying the adoration from gay fans at the LGBT film festivals so far?
Mindy Cohn: Are you kidding? It’s my life, my people, so it’s fantastic to be able to represent this type of character that hasn’t really been well represented on film. I’m really looking forward to Outfest.
When did your relationship with the gay community begin?
Birth. [Laughs] Some of us are just meant to be “fag hags” and divas. I don’t know why, but by God’s grace I’ve always had really close relationships with gay people — not only men but women as well, though that came later. I’m attracted to creatives, free spirits, and people who know there’s something more and want to figure out what it is. People who live in parallel universes are attracted to each other, hence my relationship with the gay community.
That relationship began before The Facts of Life?
Oh, way before. The irony is that we didn’t have many gay people around us on Facts of Life. Two come to mind, but it was much later that I really saw gay people as part of the film and TV community. My mom has a ballet background, so she always took my sister and I to the ballet and theater. When we first lived in West Hollywood, we had a one-bedroom apartment on Sweetzer Avenue, so we were surrounded by gay people. I have a very progressive family that’s always moved comfortably within all different communities.
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