As an actress, vanity is your enemy. If you're thinking about how you look, you're not going to give a good performance. Once I realized, 'Hmm, I guess I'm not that vain,' it's like something I wanted to protect. I can't imagine anyone could give the full dynamic performance they're capable of and still be vain.
The amount of attention and sensitivity and education that we're getting in terms of specifically the transgender community is great, and certainly that's new to me. But it's not incredibly unfamiliar. I grew up in downtown New York in the '80s.
My mother is the sort of a person who has no boundaries and no filter. She also has a big ego, but it's a very unique one. And I grew up with lots of artists in an environment where conformity and the norm were totally not what anybody was after.
I don't revisit anything unless there's a really good occasion, like BAM screened 'This Is My Life', with Lena Dunham and Nora Ephron before she died. It also screened 'Uncle Buck', so I took my niece. I don't have a TV, so I don't happen upon old movies like you would if you had cable.
I never set out to be an actor. Again, my mother presented this job by job to me at the time, and if it sounded fun, I would say yes and if it didn't, I would say no. I always knew, since I was 7 or 8 years old, that it was a means to an end and that I wanted to go to college.
Every scene is on the table to collaborate on, to pick apart, to try a million different ways. Usually, what ends up occurring in the end is something that no single person knew would happen or had planned for.
I don't think it should be allowed for people to start working at a young age and not take the time to just be living as themselves in the real world, especially now in this new age of new media and the obsession with celebrity. I think it's a real crime.
I watched a lot of television as a kid, and the suburbs to me - that was exotic! Like, a mom and dad who lived in the same house and had jobs and cooked breakfast at the same time every morning and did laundry in a washing machine and dryer? That was like, 'Woah! Who are they? How do you get to be like that?'
I was obsessed with the idea of going to college. And I took many years off after that, so I sort of missed the weird, crazy transition that was what making movies was in the nineties to what's happening now.
It was like I lived in a little suburban neighborhood in the middle of New York City because I could run around barefoot or, you know, completely independently from a very young age in the safety of this building where I knew everybody and where I had friends on every floor, and I knew the bellmen in the lobby.
I wanted to live in the suburbs and have a white picket fence and my own bedroom. And a staircase - I thought having a staircase meant that you were a normal family. I thought somehow if you could transplant us to the suburbs, we would become a normal family. But in retrospect, I'm so grateful I grew up in the Chelsea.
My mom was a single mother, raising my sister and me. My mom has an incredible talent for living in the world without traditional structure, and her friend, who was in advertising, put me in a commercial when I was five. It was just to make money.
When I was a kid, I wasn't making my choices based on anything other than 'Did I want to work that day?' or 'Did being in school sound more fun?' And I don't remember ever reading a script and thinking, 'Is this going to be a fun part to play?'
I'm interested in people. I'm curious about people, and of course we're curious about people whose work we respond to. So I'm not saying that I don't understand fascination with other people. But as it's dealt with in this American, modern-day culture, I find it not just boring but actually sort of destructive, really.
I was given an incredible gift growing up in the Chelsea, a space where it is completely fine to be yourself - you just had to figure out what that was. You didn't have to figure that out in the face of opposition at every turn.