The L Word star Kate Moennig began been breaking hearts as the aconic Shane McCutcheon for 15 years ago. Moennig, a star and executive producer of the upcoming The L Word: Generation Q, has not been one to talk much about herself in interviews.
But in a thoughtful interview with RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the podcast RuPaul: What's The Tee with Michelle Visage, she speaks candidly about coming into her identity while shooting the original L Word and also about her decision to tie the knot about 18 months ago.
The interview runs the gamut of topics from discussing the pronunciation of her last name at length to where to get the best cheesesteaks in Moennig’s native Philadelphia. When the conversation turns to Moennig’s identity, she’s generous and forthright about discussing her past.
“Did you always know you were a lesbian?” RuPaul asks about halfway through the interview.
“Well, I grew up Catholic and I went to Catholic school for 13 years so I wasn’t really in an environment to explore that, especially at that time in the ‘80s and the ‘90s,” Moennig says. “Now I believe if I was in high school now I would see it more. Back then you didn’t. That shit did not exist.”
The actress who left her seven-year gig on Ray Donovan to return to The L Word explained that her sexual identity didn’t really come into focus until she began shooting the original series.
“Oddly enough, when I got The L Word, that’s where my wheels started turning,” she says.
Answering RuPaul’s question about whether or not she’d dated men, she says she had.
“I’ve dated plenty of guys before that,” she says. “What crossed my mind was, if they were really cute I [would] appreciate their beauty. But why is it that I just don’t care?” she says she thought to herself.
“I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t have the vocabulary for it yet,” she adds.
Moennig says that working on the series, which debuted 15 years ago, with queer women behind the scenes and on-screen (her close friend Leisha Hailey, Daniela Sea, and Jane Lynch were a few of the out actresses on the series) helped “reshape” her.
“[It] was the first time I was in an environment when it was so welcomed and discussed. Everyone was open and proud and confident. I’d never seen that before. Never in my life,” she says. “It’s why all those women are my family and will be till the day I die."
Earlier in the podcast, when asked what her similarities are with Shane, Moennig says she had more in common with her character the first time around than she does now.
“We kind of blend into one sometimes. I don’t believe I’m as self-destructive as she is,” Moennig says. “I would be able to answer that question easier 10 years ago when I was doing that show because I probably was doing similar things to her. But now I feel like I’m settled. I’m married. I’m set up in life and she’s still not exactly.”
Later, RuPaul asks Moennig about marrying her wife of 18 months, Anna.
“I never really cared about getting married, to be honest. It never was important. It just happened organically,” Moennig says. “If I was to get married, it would to this one because it just makes sense. And it feels safe and it feels like I’m at home.”