What Chloe Sevigny Really Thinks About Those Drag Impersonator Videos

The actress subverts gender again in her newest role as a transgender woman who just happens to be an assassin.


  UPDATED: July 09 2012 8:13 PM ET

She says Mia lived as an effeminate boy before her transition, so “there’s a lot more to it for me than just her being transgender. Of course, that’s a heavy theme and obviously one of the biggest things she’s going through in her life, but there’s just so much more that makes up a so much more that makes up a person, makes them so much more complicated.”

With Mia, Sevigny hopes to stretch as much as she did on Big Love, in a role that gave her so much to do, she says. “It was five years of television. I think it ended up being 53 hours. So I was really proud of what I did with that character. Everybody says, ‘Oh, she was such a bitch.’ But she wasn’t. I think there’s just so much going on with that character. She was so rich. She was so much fun to play.”

Still, five years is a long time to play anyone. “I’m excited to move on as much as I loved playing her,” she admits, “I’m excited to find something else. Hit and Miss was so different that it was like the greatest thing I could go into after Big Love.

Still, few experiences can top her turn in director Kimberly Peirce’s iconic Boys Don’t Cry, a film role that is still her favorite for the impact it had on LGBT kids. “It was a very effective film and made people really think about bigger issues. I was really proud of that one.”  

Given that Sevigny has bent gender and starred in more than one transgender production, fans might expect her to be savvy on LGBT issues, but trans activists were surprised to hear her describe Mia in the media last year as a “tranny” assassin.

“Am I not supposed to say tranny?” Sevigny is honestly aghast. “What am I supposed to say? I don’t even know. I don’t know the proper rule, what people prefer. I apologize if I offended anyone. I would never use that word in a derogatory manner. Do you know what I mean? I have nothing but respect and admiration for anybody who decides to undergo that transformation. I guess within the gay community people tease each other all the time and call each other girl and tranny girl and this and that — I guess you just hear it around and think maybe if you’re within it you can use it and it’s not [a slur].”

The actress isn’t above getting her own feelings hurt too. After actor Drew Droege began imitating Sevigny on his Web series, she looked it up and initially laughed it off. “At first, was kind of like, Oh, that’s kind of funny. They’re, they’re so arty and weird and it doesn’t really represent me in any way or resemble me in any way. And then just everybody keeps talking about it and he keeps making them. And I was like, Do you just think I’m entirely pretentious? It’s just like totally making fun of me and I started slightly getting offended, and now I kind of don’t know what to think about them. Then I Google-videoed me. It was like the first time I had ever done that — I’m like so anti the Internet, it makes me so anxious. But I started dating this boy, which isn’t happening anymore, anyways, and I was like I wonder if he Google-videoed me what he would find and it was like the first 50 things were Drew’s videos, which I thought was kind of funny. I mean, it kind of makes perfect sense, me and who I am and that would happen ... that that’s who you would find. But I feel like it’s a little snide and that kind of hurts my feelings. And now he’s a DJ, and now he’s DJing under my name, which I thought was kind of a little much.

“I was like, Really? You’re just like co-opting me, but you’re not really representing me, like me in any way. I mean, I don’t know. Do you think it’s flattering or do you think it’s cruel? I haven’t watched him enough because I feel like he’s hating. I just feel like there’s this culture of hate that ... just gets perpetuated a lot and I don’t want to be a part of that.  I’m not snarky. I’m very down-to-earth. So that’s, I guess that’s what’s the most confusing.”

Tags: television