A Golden Globe winner for her buttoned-up portrayal of Nicki Grant, the dowdiest sister-wife in HBO’s polygamy drama Big Love, Chloë Sevigny has been in style since her 1995 film debut as an HIV-positive teen in Kids. Killer supporting roles in edgy fare like American Psycho and Party Monster made her big, but it was her Oscar-nominated turn in Boys Don’t Cry that made us fall in love. Revisiting her many lesbian roles, the 35-year-old fashionista confesses the one food group that’s kept her from jumping the fence.
The Advocate: The last time you spoke to The Advocate was for a 2000 cover story after you’d just been nominated for the Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry. So this is good — we should check in and catch up every 10 years.
Chloë Sevigny: Sure, why not? A gay fan base is a very good fan base to have — is that a terrible thing to say? They’re very loyal. They’ll stick with you through the ups and downs because they’re not fair-weather fans. I love being a gay icon; I totally embrace it.
When did you first feel that love from gay people?
Right after Kids came out. I was working in this store called Liquid Sky on Lafayette Street, which was rave central in New York City, and I had a lot of gay boys coming in and coming up to me in the street. The first person who ever came up to me was actually a really young, very sweet boy with AIDS. But even way before that I used to make out with a lot of girls and gay boys when we were on Rohypnol — which I probably shouldn’t say. [Laughs] There was a lot of kissing in the club scene — boys, girls, gays, straights, and all the rest.
When you spoke to us in 2000 you had already filmed but hadn’t seen If These Walls Could Talk 2, so you were worried about how your lesbian fans would react to your butch lesbian character. You said, “I’m so scared they’re all going to turn on me and hate me for a bad representation.” How was the response?
When I first met with [executive producer] Ellen DeGeneres about it, she was like, “You can’t play butch.” I said, “Just watch me.” I feel like the lesbian community really liked that film and liked me in it, so I think I did them proud. But I still haven’t seen it! I should ask for a DVD. I’d probably love it now because I probably look really young and beautiful.
I’ve read that If These Walls Could Talk 2 was the only thing you’ve ever done just for the cash. Why was that project unappealing without the paycheck?
I wasn’t excited about the other two stories in the film and some of the other people involved. But at the time I was broke, and I needed a paycheck immediately because I was helping my mother pay her mortgage.
I’d think that kissing Michelle Williams would be all the payment you need.
But remember back then she was just a girl from Dawson’s Creek, and I was super-indie, so I was like, “Ew, gross.” She was still beautiful, but she wasn’t the Michelle Williams she is today.