Clementine Sets the Record "Straight"

By Michael Fairman

Originally published on Advocate.com March 31 2009 12:00 AM ET

Get ready Genoa City!
Tomorrow, Mackenzie "Mac" Browning reappears on the canvas
in the form of former
L Word

star, Clementine Ford. Best known for her role as Molly Kroll
and as the eldest daughter of Hollywood favorite Cybill
Shepherd, Clementine's foray into daytime is one of the most
highly anticipated of the soap season.

For those who need a
refresher course on Mac… she is the ex-girlfriend of Billy
Abbott, who ran away to Darfur when it was revealed that they
were cousins (shortly after they were married). Well, new DNA
results this week involving her grandmother and Billy's mother
will cause a seismic shift in relationships... and the drama
begins!

However, in real life,
Clementine has gone through drama of another kind. A recent
interview with Diva UK Magazine, whose cover headline touted:
"Clementine Ford Comes Out" left a bit of mess for the
actress to clean up. The interview intimated that she slept
with one of her
L Word

co-stars (she didn't) and put the subject of her sexuality
center stage: "I am gay," she tells Advocate.com,
"I just wanted there not to be this big emphasis on
it."

Advocate.com chatted
with Clementine about her exciting new adventure on the number
one rated soap,
The Young and the Restless

, and to clear up any rumors or misrepresentations that her
LGBT fans might want to know, and to tease us with what to
expect in her new role!

Advocate.com: Congratulations on your new role. You are stepping into a
role that is a recast on the top rated soap. What are your
feelings about it and your experience, so far, doing
daytime?
Clementine Ford:

I am a lucky bitch! It's so nerve-wracking. It's like I felt on

The L Word

when I went into that core group who has been together forever.
I was surprised because you hear horror stories about going in,
and the intimidation of the group. I thought, "Well, this
will never happen again," and then I get this job. I am
nervous, but my friend,
Y&R'

s Greg Rikaart (Kevin), told me wonderful things about everyone
on the show. And sure enough, everybody is great.

Being a sudser rookie, did your pal Greg Rikaart give you
any soapy advice?

He said, "Keep going! In soaps everyday is a new day." I
have gotten one piece of advice from the cast. They told me
it's going to be one of the hardest jobs I've ever had,
especially, the first little while 'til I hit my stride.
Once I hit my stride it will be fine.

CLEMENTINE FORD AND CYBIL SHEPHERD (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Mac comes back during the wedding of her ex-Billy and
Chloe.

I do. What prompts her return is she has heard that her
grandmother might be alive, and she wants to find out for
herself. This has been someone who is so important in her life
and she comes back, and that is the only agenda. The wedding is
a huge surprise and shock for her.

Certain family DNA tests come out at the wedding. How does
that affect Mac?

Let's just say, the DNA test affect me in a way that any 25 or
26 year old in this situation would be affected. It's Katherine
and Jill's DNA. Mac is Brock's daughter, who is Katherine's
son. The DNA results that come back, and the love of my life
who I thought was my cousin, is now married with a baby, and is
not my cousin! Now, to come back and to see that there is a
wedding, and that you are now not actually cousins, begs the
questions: "Do I run away? Do I try? Do I just try to exist
in this world where this guy is inches away, but a hundred
light years away?"

You are working with a daytime living legend, Jeanne Cooper
as Katherine. What were your initial thoughts?

I can honestly say that she is an incredible lady. God willing,
I am that on it at her age. She is so on it, funny and so warm.
I cannot say enough good things about her.

So, Mac being the humanitarian is still full of "good
will" when she is confronted with her family?

She was working in Darfur doing good deeds, which is hilarious,
because my sister in real life was working in a Palestinian
refuge camp in Jordan. So, my sister is the person I pretend to
be, and she is my little sister. Mac is a genuinely good person
and has the best of intentions.

Who have you got to work with so far on "Y&R"?

I mostly have worked with Billy Miller (Billy), Elizabeth
Hendrickson (Chloe), Jess Walton (Jill), Jeanne and Adrienne
Frantz (Amber). One thing that I loved was some of my initial
scenes with Jess and Jeanne. I could not remember the
back-story, but all I had to do was look into their eyes and
pay attention, and I knew immediately what the history was.

Do you have an idea of where your character will be heading
for the next several months?

I have heard inklings, but they are very protective of what is
going to happen. I have heard three different
possibilities.

But Mac will have romance?

It's a soap. Hello!

On
The L Word

, Molly was a great character! How was your experience
there?

I had a great time and it changed my life. I think it's not
that much different than the soap world. There are people that
come up to you that surprise you, who watch the show and love
it. There are fans that are obsessive and love it, and then
there are people that say, "What's that?"

CLEMENTINE FORD AND BILLY MILLER (JPI STUDIOS) | ADVOCATE.COM

The L Word was groundbreaking at the time for television
with an all-lesbian story. Did you feel that way about the
show?

I was excited to be working. In terms of it be
'groundbreaking,' I think in a way it's a shame. I don't think
it should be 'groundbreaking'; it should not be made into a
'thing'. There should be gay couples on television and lesbian
and transgender people on television. It should be something
that is normal. It's exciting that it was groundbreaking, but
now where do we go?

Did you receive comments from people or fans from your
performances on
The L Word

?

I had people come up to me and say that it made a difference.
Even people who are older than me would come up to me and tell
me that to be a character, and come in to the story as someone
who has a 'stick up her ass' about so many things and the
lesbian issue, and then to see that change, was good for them.
I do think it's difficult for a lot of women who have come from
certain backgrounds who are expected to have a different life.
It's not easy, and you don't know where to necessarily put
things, and you are not sure and a little timid. I had a lot of
people coming up to me telling me that it was nice for them to
see someone going through that struggle and figuring their
way.

Was there more pressure for you to succeed in show biz,
since your mom was famous? Did you have any misgivings when you
made the choice to be an actress?

I think it kind of bit me in the ass later, because her name
got me in the door at a lot of places and I was not ready.
Then, I started working and I realized, "You know people will
make comparisons, whether you like it or not." It's really
hard, and you kind of have to step back and go, "Am I
following my path or am I following their path?" I think with
time it's been my path. My career and my life are very
different. So, I kind of got over that hump real quick.

What did your mom say when you landed the role on
Y&R

?

She was thrilled! My mom has never watched the show that I know
of. I don't think she was a big soap person, but growing up, my
step-mom and I used to watch the ABC Soaps:
All My Children

,
One Life to Live

and
General Hospital

. My mom very rarely watches TV. She is a movie person. She
better start watching now!

When you finally got to step foot on the CBS soundstage of
Y&R

, what happened?

I kind of got on set and looked around and went, "Oh, My God!
I know who all of you are." It was exciting! Melody Thomas
Scott (Nikki) and Peter Bergman (Jack) were there. And to all
of those actors I was like, "Hey, you, and you and you! I
totally know you!"

Let's clear the air on the interview that ran recently with
Diva UK Magazine

, in which the cover said, "Clementine Ford Comes Out". In
the piece, it sort of intimated you came out and that you had
an affair with your co-star of
The L Word

, Kate Moening. Then you did an interview with
TV Guide Magazine

where you attempted to clarify. It sort of has given you some
pushback from fans. Can you tell us what happened?

It's funny. I was having kind of rough day. My best friend sent
me a text saying, "You have to see this." So, I went online
to see this link and I read the comments and I go, "They hate
me!" When I did the
TV Guide

interview, I was angry because there is the whole perception
now that I came out and I went back in. And what upset me was I
felt that because I did not 'come out' in that interview, I
felt it was unfair to fans that bought the magazine expecting
to get a tearful story that says, "I'm gay." I thought it
was misleading, and now because I was upset by that cover, I am
apparently back in the closet and people hate me.

CLEMENTINE FORD AND CYBIL SHEPHERD (JPI STUDIOS) | ADVOCATE.COM

But, can you understand how some people may have been
confused when in a magazine piece you are quoted like that?

There are people who get it, and get what my original meaning
was. Just as I was talking about storylines being a non-issue
on
The L Word

; it should just be these people are gay and it's part of life.
I think with that article, and what came across as ambiguity,
was actually my attempt at making it a non-issue. Look, I am
gay, and I just wanted there not to be this big emphasis on
it.

What about the reported, "fling?"

I would never!

Any of your
L Word

co-stars weigh in on your new soap role?

I talk to Kate Moening all the time, and she was the first
person I told. She told me congratulations.

Growing up in show business, do you think it gave you a
different perspective on life?

I am one of those people who are really lucky. I have no shame
about that at all, and I had a really great time. Yes, my mom
is an actress and I grew up in Los Angeles. There are a lot of
things I did that most of the people don't get to see and
people to meet, but at the same time, I was born in Memphis,
Tennessee. My other side of the family is very Irish-Catholic.
My father is a bartender, and my step-mom is a nurse. For me, I
grew up in the best of both worlds, with a sense of value and a
sense of being grounded, as well as traveling all over the
world and doing incredible things.

Proposition 8 has been such a hot button since the election
in November. Do you think there is a message that is missing to
the culture of how gay relationships are portrayed in the media
that could change the mainstream perception of equality for
all?

We have all heard it, where people have coined the phrase,
"straight-marriage", and that is a big thing for me. It's
like, "Why is it different? Get over it." If you don't want
to have a gay marriage, don't have one. Don't marry someone of
the same sex, but let me do it if I want to! Ellen and Portia
became poster children for gay marriage because we don't have a
lot of people that are representing this. There are still those
walls, and there are those people who say, "Hide who you are.
Be careful. Don't be too gay." I think a lot of that, and the
media feeding into that, is part of the reason that Prop. 8
passed.

In closing, on Y&R what can we look forward to from
Mac?

Two teases come to mind: Billy or Chloe, which one does she
choose? Will Mac stay in Genoa City, or does she go? Stay
tuned….