TRANSCRIPT Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chloë Sevigny

Chloë Sevigny is known for a lot of things in showbiz – but she is perhaps best known for being cool. She has an impeccable fashion sense and makes waves in that world. She’s an Oscar nominated actor for her role in Boys Don’t Cry. An indie darling in films like The Last Days of Disco and Broken Flowers. She’s had regular roles on shows like Big Love and American Horror Story, too. We were big fans of her recurring appearances as Alexandra on Portlandia. These days, she’s starring in The Girl from Plainville and Russian Doll. Chloë talks with Jesse about her latest projects and how she keeps it cool after all these years. We’ll also geek out with Chloë about her making own clothes.

Guests: Chloë Sevigny

Transcript

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Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

jesse thorn

From MaximumFun.org and NPR, it’s Bullseye.

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“Huddle Formation” from the album Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team. A fast, upbeat, peppy song. Music plays as Jesse speaks, then fades out.

jesse

Chloë Sevigny is my first guest this week. And she is very cool. She started out as a model, then she started appearing in music videos for bands like Sonic Youth and The Lemonheads. Then she was an actor in arthouse movies. Her debut was in Larry Clark’s pioneering film, Kids. Then she went on to bigger things: an Oscar nominated role in Boys Don’t Cry, roles in indie films like The Last Days of Disco and Broken Flowers, regular jobs on shows like Big Love and American Horror Story. Her latest project is The Girl from Plainville. It's a TV drama series inspired by the so-called texting suicide case. Conrad Roy III was 18 years old when he died by suicide, in 2014. Roy’s girlfriend, the then 17-year-old Michelle Carter, was charged and later convicted in connection to his death. The series explores the events leading up to Roy’s death and the relationship he and Carter shared. In this clip from the show’s pilot, Conrad’s family is getting ready for his funeral. His mom, Lynn—played by Chloë—asks her daughter for her thoughts about an outfit she has picked out.

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Lynn (The Girl from Plainville): Well, how about this one? [Beat.] Syd. Syd: [Flatly.] Yeah. Lynn: How about this? Syd: It’s fine. Lynn: You would’ve told me, right? Syd: What? Lynn: If you knew he was thinking about it. Syd: Yeah. Lynn: I don’t know why I asked. [A text notification pings.] Lynn: Coco’s friend. That girl, Michelle. Such a sweet girl. Syd: She texted you again? Lynn: Yeah, she’s hurting. I think she wants to be close to us or something. Did you know they were so close? Syd: [Beat.] Sorta. Lynn: He left her a note. Syd: What did it say? Lynn: A lot. He loved her.

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jesse

Chloë, welcome to Bullseye. I’m happy to have you on the show.

chloë

Thank you, Jesse. Happy to be here.

jesse

Did you think about—when you were preparing for this, did you think about what kind of teenager you were?

chloë

No, I’m more thinking about that in processing the work, post-haste. Which is generally my process. [They laugh.] I kind of make sense of it—

jesse

You post-intellectualize?

chloë

I kind of make sense of it afterwards, in a way—which is backwards, I know. I guess preparing for press, like I more kind of reflect on it. I think during—while I’m in it, it’s more instinctual.

jesse

What kind of reflections have you made in preparing to do press? What have you thought about?

chloë

I thought about—yeah, my own adolescence and… the security and love I had from my family and yet I still struggled. I wouldn’t say I struggled with depression, but I mean, I was hormonal and had problems that lots of teenagers have. Then, as a parent, like how do you read that, I guess I was thinking. You know? Now, I’m a mother and thinking about my son and when he becomes a teenager. Like, how do you know if it’s serious or not? And that, to me, is terrifying. ‘Cause like Lynn thought that Coco was on the up and up! He was—you know—thinking about going to school. He had just gotten his captain’s license. They went to the beach. He was like going to visit his friend at school. Things seemed fine! And then that night, he took his life. And she thought they were very close. I imagine she wanted to be—you know—really involved but not intrusive. Like, that’s the sense of her that I got from watching her interviews. But… how does one know? I mean, we’re dealing with a mental health crisis in America, right now. And—you know, and we see—you know—very successful, happy, beautiful people suffering in all walks of life. You know? It’s like there’s no guarantees. So, I guess—yeah, I’m mostly terrified, going forward, how to interpret my teen’s feelings. [They chuckle.]

jesse

Was it appealing to work as a sort of down-to-earth mom?

chloë

Yes. I think over the years, in my career I’ve played a lot of very grounded characters and kind of the moral compass of many a story and/or film, and I think—yeah. Showrunners, directors see something of that in me: this, you know, quote/unquote realness. But when I was offered The Girl from Plainville and I watched the documentary on HBO—I Love You, Now Die—I was just very taken by Lynn, by her personality and that she put forward in the documentary. ‘Cause, you know, whenever there’s a camera on, we give a certain version of ourselves and I’m sure she was protecting certain aspects. But I was—yeah, I was just taken by her humor and her attitude and just the way she spoke.

jesse

It feels like it would be a hard place to live, as an actor, for the amount of time that it takes to make a series that’s as sort of long and deep as this. You know. It’s not a—this isn’t two weeks of work. You know what I mean?

chloë

No, it was about five months. My son was just over a year, and I live in New York City, and we were shooting in Savannah. So, I was going back and forth a lot, and there was a lot of time away from him. So, it was kind of like a double-whammy [laughs], dealing with the subject matter and then dealing with my first time away from him and then what that would mean, going forward. You know. I’m an actress. This is my career, and I love it. And I am—you know, I have a lot of great opportunities, and I hope to continue to have those. But what is it gonna mean, moving forward doing this? So, it was—I was—yeah, it was a lot to kind of think about and take in and process.

jesse

Especially when you’re doing a story that’s about a character trying to understand where they were connected and disconnected from their kid.

chloë

Yeah. It was pretty—it was—it was a pretty painful place to be for five months.

jesse

Did you have a plan for how you were gonna have a kid in your life and how you were gonna integrate your family and professional lives? Like, did you—did you always have a scheme? Or was it something that you were like, “Well, something will happen, and I will figure it out.”

chloë

Nnno. He was a happy accident. Yeah, I had him later. I was 45. I’d struggled earlier in my life with conception, and so he—yeah, he came along and we’re like, “We’re just gonna figure it out.” Yeah. I—you know, it was like the best thing to ever happen to either of us.

jesse

More Bullseye still to come. After the break: clothes talk! That’s right. I get to talk about clothes with fashion icon, Chloë Sevigny. It’s very fun. It’s Bullseye, from MaximumFun.org and NPR.

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jesse

It’s Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. I’m talking with Chloë Sevigny. She is, of course, an actor and model. She’s starred in indie films like Kids, Dogville, and American Psycho. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her part in the 1999 drama, Boys Don’t Cry. These days, you can see Sevigny in the TV shows The Girl from Plainville and Russian Doll, which are airing now on Hulu and Netflix, respectively. Let’s get back into our conversation. What kind of teen were you before you—you know, like when you were—when you were in your late teens, when you were 17 or 18 or something, you sort of embarked upon your career. [Chloë confirms.] You started modeling and ended up acting and etc. But before that, what kind of teen were you?

chloë

Like, junior high or like freshman/sophomore year?

jesse

I’m talking about 14 and 15, you know what I mean?

chloë

Yeeeah. Um. I mean, I think junior high, I was pretty—I was pretty happy. I was like just—you know—into like playing softball and Esprit clothing and like—you know, going to the pizza parlor and hanging out at the beach. And I was pretty popular. I also grew up—you know—in a really wealthy community without a lot of—without as much as everyone else. So, there was always a little bit of a divide. And I think around that age, I started to kind of… distancing myself from some of the more popular cliques. But my town was really small, and I had known everyone since kindergarten. So, you’re just basically all together. You know. And then, when I got into high school, my brother dated this girl that was from California. And she had purple hair and wore Doc Martins and kilts and—or I guess maybe that was eighth grade. And I became like obsessed with her. And I was like I wanna be like quote/unquote “alternative”. Maybe that was eighth grade, because I remember my first day of eighth grade, I wore like striped stockings to school and like this mock neck knit, two-piece outfit and like shell toe Doc Martins or something. So, yeah. That must have been eighth grade when I started the alternative vibes. [Laughs.] Or aspirations. When I was like, “Okay, I don’t wanna be a Esprit girl. I’m looking for something else.” Which was hard to find where we lived.

jesse

Did you grow up in a family where that was unusual or expected?

chloë

Uh, well, my brother was doing it. So, it was kind of like—you know—he was paving the way. And my father was a bit of an outsider. So, yeah.

jesse

Yeah, the reason I ask is because like I know almost nothing about your parents, but there’s like a line in a bio somewhere or something that said that your dad was an accountant and later an art teacher. And I was like, “Oh.” [Laughs.] “Well. I don’t—I don’t know what that is.” [They chuckle.]

chloë

Yes. I think he had always had aspirations to be an artist, and his family was pretty conservative, and he went the business route. And I think he was always—you know—kind of kicking himself for not being true to who he was. So, they encouraged my brother and I—like, I actually started acting when I was quite young. I went to summer theatre camp, in kindergarten. And then I was doing—you know—plays in school and summer theatre camp and started doing commercials. I was in a Voltron commercial I think in first or second grade. I was doing like catalogue modeling in Connecticut. And so, people think that this happens like in my later teens, but it was something I had aspired to since a very young age.

jesse

I’m really excited to learn about this Voltron situation. Like—

chloë

[Seriously.] Go, Voltron force! Yes. [They laugh.]

jesse

You dropped that one in there like we were gonna slide past it, but I think we need to address these—

chloë

The poor man’s Transformer. [Laughs.]

jesse

Maybe the rich man’s Transformer, Voltron! Voltrons were pretty cool! [Laughs.]

chloë

I was the pink lion.

jesse

[Collecting himself.] So, was it one of those kind of commercials—I’m sorry that I’m gonna ask you about this and not the many wonderful works of art that you’ve created in your long career, but I am excited to talk about Voltron for a second. Was it one of those kind of television commercials where like—where like there’s kids in kind of a featureless black box and they’re like holding the toy and the toy’s in the foreground and the kids are in the background, and they’re going like, “YEEAH! [Makes laser sound.] Aah! Dooo!” You know what I mean?

chloë

You got it. We must be in the same age bracket. [They laugh.] And then you’re like playing with them and—you know. Yeah. And then you become them.

jesse

Then there’s like a voiceover that says like, “You gotta do it in the crossfire!” Or whatever. That rules! I mean, I feel like that is a very—that’s pretty much the most prestigious thing you could do, as a ten-year-old or eight-year-old. I’m trying to think of something more prestigious than that, and I’m struggling. Major league baseball player, but that seems unlikely.

chloë

Yes. I’m pretty proud of my work in the Voltron commercial, to say.

jesse

Did you—was there a—was there a time when you stopped doing that?

chloë

Yes. I think when I started—like 13, kind of ugly duckling, losing my teeth. And I remember like we went to the dentist to get like a bridge to fill in some gaps for like the auditions. And my mom was like, “This is getting out of hand.” And I think there was a lot of rejection. And I think, honestly, she was tired of like dragging me into the city and these big cattle call environments. And she weas like, “No more of this. You know. You can go back to professional, you know, when you’re 18.”

jesse

How did you feel about it at the time?

chloë

I think I was okay with it. I remember there was another girl in my school that was much more successful. She got a lot more commercials [laughing] and modeling jobs. And she was much prettier. And so, I think at a young—too young of an age, I was really comparing myself to specifically her. And then, yeah, other girls.

jesse

How did you feel about going on auditions for things that you didn’t get?

chloë

I mean, I wasn’t really that gregarious. Like, I think that I was probably a pretty awkward kid. I think that I just like—I knew I wanted to do it and I was good at it like… at camp. [Laughing.] But like I wasn’t like turning it out. You know? So, it was awkward. I don’t know. I think I had just like—I’d seen Annie on Broadway. I was obsessed with Little House. You know, Different Strokes. Like, I was seeing kids on TV doing this and I was like, you know, Drew and E.T., all of this. Like, I was like, “I wanna do what all these kids are doing!”

jesse

When did—at what point did you learn to sew?

chloë

I think I had like a Fisher-Price sewing machine somewhere in grade school. And my mom taught me to use it, and I would make like doll’s clothes.

jesse

Did your mom make clothes?

chloë

She didn’t, but she could—you know. She could—she was better at hand sewing than the machine. But she was very crafty, my mom. And she always—we always did a lot of crafty things at home. [Laughs.] And a lot of like, you know, traditional like female-y things, tropes-y, housewife-y things. Gardening. Cooking. Sewing. Yeah.

jesse

I mean, all of those are pretty great things. [Chloë agrees.] I’m not into crafting, myself. Any time I try and do that, it feels like I’m setting myself up for failure.

chloë

But we would like make donuts and ice cream and—you know, all kinds of fun things, as well. Yeah.

jesse

What kind of donuts did you make?

chloë

[Laughs.] I don’t remember. She had some sort of donut making device.

jesse

Did you make clothes for yourself when you were—when you got good at it?

chloë

I did! Yeah, I made a lot. It was more like reworking stuff. And I’d make some stuff from scratch, as well. Yeah. I started that kind of like—yeah, probably eighth grade. And then like, yeah, through high school. But I got really into—I had these like alternative years. ‘Cause my older brother was like alternative and punky, and I was into his scene. And freshman year, and I was very into like—you know, all the classic ’90s alternative and ’80s and there was like a hardcore club near us, in Connecticut, that we used to go to. And then I think summer between like freshman and sophomore, we were at like an outdoor festival, and I might have done a hallucinogenic. And I met a boy there, and he had really long hair, and he was Argentinian and really beautiful. And he was really into The Grateful Dead. And so, I kind of like segued into a little bit of that scene for a while, and there was a lot of dressmaking involved in that.

jesse

Were they like prairie dresses?

chloë

Yes. They’re called spinner dresses, specifically. Yes. They’re like empire waist with like a bigger skirt, lots of patchwork involved. [Laughs.] For spinning, ‘cause you just kind of spin. You know. People think it’s— [Jesse agrees with a chuckle.] People think there’s like a lot of noodling, which is a really unfortunate word. But no, it was more the spinning that I was into. So, I’d make the outfits that kind of go with that. Yep. And you would sell them at the shows. You know. It was a whole culture. It still is.

jesse

I love the entrepreneurial aspect of this!

chloë

Yeah. That’s like the—very much the scene. You know, like Shakedown Street, on the lot. Like kids like—you know, paying their way or making their way through tour by selling stuff and ground scoring. You know. When you’d each like run the venues at the ends and like pick up change or whatever they found that people had dropped. You know. And that was ground scoring.

jesse

This is some like—

chloë

[Laughs.] This is a deep dive into that world.

jesse

I’m loving learning about this. I’m absolutely—I’m form the inner city. I don’t know anything about this stuff. [Chuckles.] Even inner-city San Francisco, they don’t have this.

chloë

Yes, they do! Come on! Especially in San Francisco.

jesse

So, like by the time you started wandering off by yourself—which seems to have been in your like mid-teens—that you were either like—that you were like going away for the weekend by yourself. Was it—were you still in hallucinogens and calico dresses mode?

chloë

Kind of both. I was kind of like dipping my toes in like all these different worlds. Like, I started working at Polo Ralph Lauren, and that was when like all the—like, the hip-hop kids were getting really into Polo. They were called lowlifes. And they would like—and so, that kind of—kind of there was like also the delite kind of like raver, hippie, homegirl, alterna-girl. Kind of like it all started churning into one. And the kids used to come to the mall, and they’d be like, “Oh, Chloë, do you have any teddy bear sweaters?” And I would like bring them out for them from the back. Teddy bear sweaters were the big thing. But yeah, I was kind of like a jack of all. I was like—I was just into like youth culture. Except surfing. That was like the one youth culture I had zero interest in.

jesse

Did you think you were gonna be an actor? Like, you started acting—it’s not like you started acting like—by like going to theatre school and then like showing up with headshots at agent’s offices, I don’t think. But like, was it your goal to be a working actor?

chloë

It was when I was younger and like through—you know—junior high and then when I got into high school, I got into other things that teenagers get into that lead them astray. Which unequivocally did. And I kind of lost interest in a lot of extracurricular and, you know, school in general. So, I think I auditioned for the drama club, and I just didn’t click with the—with the teacher, in high school. Umm. I remember, senior year, I auditioned for West Side Story. I had a shaved head, so I auditioned to play a boy part, which was very ahead of its time. And I didn’t get the part, so I ended up working in costumes. And I think—

jesse

You didn’t get any part?!

chloë

[Chuckling.] No. She held it against—she had a thing against me. She didn’t like me. But boy, did I prove her wrong!

jesse

Could you sing and dance?

chloë

I could sing! Yeah. Um. And I think around then, I was very into like fashion, and I thought I wanted to go into costumes or maybe work in a magazine. I had interned at Sassy Magazine, in the fashion department. And I was kind of unsure of what I wanted to do, but—you know, I wanted to do—yeah. Something in fashion or film. And you know, I started doing music videos. I did the Sonic Youth video. I had met Harmony Korine, who became like a very near and dear friend. And I was just surrounding myself and very attracted to people that were like doing stuff. So, yeah. I was just—I was driven, but I didn’t know to what end.

jesse

But you were trying to figure out like, “Well, I have to work to eat.” And work—just the meeting the bare standard of working as an actor is a hard standard to meet.

chloë

Yeah. I mean, I was definitely paycheck to paycheck until Big Love. And that’s I think when a lot of the fashion stuff entered the picture, ‘cause I was like, “Wow. Look at this big money.” You know? Like, one day “selling out” quote/unquote, which people don’t really think of it as now, but then it was a serious—you know… thing for me. Like, yeah. I was really torn about doing that kind of stuff, then. And I remember my brother being like, “Our dad would have to work a year to make that much money!” Or, you know, “Take the money and run!” Thank god I followed his advice, ‘cause now it doesn’t matter.

jesse

Are you ready to play Spider-Man?

chloë

What is that?!

jesse

Spider-Man? He’s like a guy that got bitten by a radioactive spider. [Chloë laughs.] And he shoots webs. They make a lot of movies about him.

chloë

[Chuckling.] Yes, I think my brother was him for Halloween once or twice, in the ’70s.

jesse

[Laughs.] Were you—were you not going out on auditions to be in Armageddon or whatever? Or were you going to those things and people were thinking that you were too cool for school or whatever?

chloë

I think a little bit of both. I was in New York ‘cause my mom was—you know—Connecticut. And like I said, my father had passed, so I never really—I never made the leap, ‘cause I wanted to be close to her. And you know, pre-911, there still were a lot of auditions in New York, but after that, there was not—you had to go to LA. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t think I was competing with like the Liv Tylers or Claire Danes of that day. I was—you know, I was like auditioning for like, you know, the sidekick of the funny girl. [They laugh.] Those kinds of things.

jesse

A couple steps removed. You were moving your way from branch to branch down the tree of the call sheet. [Chloë agrees.] I wanna play—I wanna play a scene from one of the movies that you made in the—in the relatively early days of your career. Not the very beginning, but the relatively early days of your career, The Last Days of Disco.

chloë

Oh yeah. Great movie.

jesse

It’s such a great movie. And—

chloë

I mean, how do you top that?! I mean, one of your first movies is Last Days of Disco?! You’re like, “Excuse me. Give me something better!”

jesse

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to just do any other thing once you had done a Whit Stillman thing, the most Whit Stillmany of all things is all Whit Stillman things.

chloë

I mean, I had a lot of heavy hitters, early on. It was really hard to top that.

jesse

So, the movie is about kind of the very beginning of the ’80s, and a bunch of young adults—Ivy League young adults. And in this scene, the character Alice, who my guest Chloë plays, has just finished up a date with a guy named Jimmy and they’re at his house. And Alice finds his Scrooge McDuck comic books.

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Alice (The Last Days of Disco): What’s this? Jimmy: Um, I collect original edition Scrooge McDuck comics. I know that sounds a little odd. Alice: Not at all! Jimmy: This is original artwork by Carl Barks, who created the Uncle Scrooge comics. He’s considered a bit of a genius. Music: Upbeat, jazzy music starts suddenly. Alice: There’s something really sexy about Scrooge McDuck. Jimmy: You really think so?

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jesse

Did you feel like you had a sense of what you were good at and weren’t good at as an actor? Like, did you feel like you were playing to your strengths or was it like an ideological feeling?

chloë

I remember a lot of Last Days of Disco being like, “I have no idea what I’m saying.” [Wheezes into laughter.] “What is this movie? What are we doing?” But I think I was good at like, yeah, just… keeping it grounded and nuanced. Like, I’m always trying to get back to the performance in The Last Days of Disco. [Laughing.] I think it’s one of my best performances. I’m always trying to get back to that kind of acting.

jesse

What about it do you like, retrospectively?

chloë

There’s something unselfconscious in it, even though the dialogue is so self-conscious. Yeah, it’s just nuanced. It’s internal. It’s—you know, quiet. It’s—yeah.

jesse

I mean, I think that’s one of your strongest qualities, as an actor—that you are interesting to see do person stuff. You know what I mean?

chloë

Mm. Do person stuff? [Laughs.]

jesse

Yeah. I mean, like it’s—you don’t have to—you don’t have to—you don’t have to scream and yell to be interesting to watch do something, onscreen.

chloë

I hate yelling. [They laugh.] I’m really bad at yelling, onscreen. I just like—I did Russian Doll in like season two, and there’s this one scene where I have to do a lot of yelling, and Natasha’s one of my oldest friends. And I remember her like cracking up and being like, “Alright, everybody. Chloë hates yelling.” [They laugh.] She just knows this ‘cause whenever we go to the theatre, I’m like, “Why is everybody yelling!?” [Jesse cracks up.] I think that comes from my mother.

jesse

Uh, what about other—what about other big things onscreen? Do you feel like you’re comfortable going through, you know, paroxysms of tears or whatever?

chloë

Yeah, tears. Tears are—tears are good for me. That’s a comfortable place. [Laughs.] It’s a—yeah, strong suit. Yeah. Running, terrible.

jesse

Why do you think—why do you think yelling is hard and tears less so?

chloë

I think yelling ‘cause I don’t like the texture of my voice when I yell. And I forget to like yell from my diaphragm. So, it’s something like cringy. You know? Um. Tears are—yeah. I don’t know—something I do a lot of. So, I like—[breaks into laughter] it’s a comfort zone.

jesse

We’ll wrap up with Chloë Sevigny in just a minute. Stay with us. It’s Bullseye, from MaximumFun.org and NPR.

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jesse

It’s Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest is Chloë Sevigny. Let’s get back into our conversation. Do you feel like you could be happy and fulfilled if you had a job—the kind of acting job where your skill and talent is a vessel for a machine that makes something that people enjoy, but like you also just get to go there on Monday, from nine—Monday to Friday, nine to five?

chloë

If we’re talking procedural, no. I have—like, I have a hard time doing procedural. I’ve tried, over and over. And—

jesse

‘Cause you can’t do the exposition?

chloë

I caaan. Um. And I’ve done some of that recently, but yeah, it’s not that fulfilling. Yeah. For me. But if it’s shooting in New York, now that I have a son—and when he gets into school—maybe! [Laughs.]

jesse

Yeah! I mean, like for real, like some people I think love that they just have a job. Like, some people want—like a big part of the appeal of acting for them is that they’re doing a very different thing every time they get a job and that they’re always jumping off a cliff and learning something. But I think there are plenty of great actors who are just thrilled that they can like go and act every day and that’s the part of it that’s important to them. So, that’s a dream job.

chloë

Yeah, I guess it would depend on the job and like where I am in my life. I remember, like Big Love—that character couldn’t have been more complicated. And I mean, to me, [chuckling] she was the best character on the show. But of course, I played her. But after a while, like really? This problem? This problem again? I have to deal with this again? I guess. Well, that’s real life. You have the same problems over and over. So, even in that environment, I remember getting frustrated at like the repetition of it. But I might feel differently, now.

jesse

You are famously well-dressed. And I think—I always think, “Oh! She looks great! What a great—what a great outfit.” Anytime I see a picture of you in an outfit.

chloë

Thanks, Jesse! I appreciate that.

jesse

I mean it. I mean it! I will say, though, that like when I had a—still have, but I’m not super active in writing for it, but I had a menswear blog for a long time. And like, the part of—I loved writing about clothes. I love clothes. But the thing where me showing that I cared about it, people often felt like I was—in demonstrating that, judging them. And that also like they should definitely judge me, because I was interested in it. And I thought, gosh, you have to deal with that, but like in the New York Post or whatever. Not on Reddit. [Chloë laughs.] [Grumbling.] I only had to deal with it on Reddit.

chloë

Yeah. I mean, it’s part of my job. I mean, you know, I’m a public person. There were the like wanting to wear things and knowing that I would just get ripped to shreds because of who I was. You know. People—I somehow got into that box where like, you know, say Rihanna was wearing it, people would be like, “Oh! It’s fabulous!” But I’m wearing it like, “What was she thinking?” Somehow, for a minute I was that for like the _US Weekly_s. And I mean, it’s the same thing now, like with Instagram. One bad comment and that’s all you think about out of, you know, 5000 great comments. You know. So, it was—so, there was that for a while, like in the early 2000s, when those magazines were—you know—ubiquitous. And you know, people—everybody looked at them.

jesse

Did you find that that led you to be more or less invested in wearing something weird? Like, did it—was it—was your reaction to that, “Uh, okay, well then I’m just gonna—”?

chloë

There was always a big divide for me between red carpet and my personal. Like, I feel like I never knew how to be myself on the red carpet. Like, I was always playing the part and I was like, “I don’t—” I still look at a red carpet photo and I’m like, “Who is that? What’s that—who is that person?” Like, I was—you know. Um. But in real life, I was having a blast. [Laughs.] When I was going to clubs or on the street or whatever I was doing, traveling. Yeah. So, yeah. I’m still a little—the red carpet still evades me, to a certain extent. It’s very hard to dress fancy. You know?

jesse

Do you still—do you still make or alter your own clothes sometimes?

chloë

I do, yes. I really like working with denim. Yeah. I’m really into all the like Junya Watanabe denim stuff with the eyelets and I’m like always trying to [chuckles] make my own versions. Um.

jesse

That rules. What’s the last thing you made?

chloë

Um, the last thing I made was like a denim and eyelet miniskirt. Yeah. [Laughs.]

jesse

Do you—what do you do—what do you do to put the eyelets in? Do you like punch—? Is there a—is there a special punch of some kind?

chloë

No. Like, trimmings. Like, adding trimmings. Yes. With a sewing machine.

jesse

Got it. I love it. [Chloë affirms.] What are you wearing that to? Whole Foods?

chloë

[Laughs.] Sure! Yeah. Wherever!

jesse

Well, I sure appreciate you taking all of this time to talk to me. It was—it was really nice to get to talk to you. I so admire your work.

chloë

Thank you. I appreciate it.

jesse

Chloë Sevigny. Catch her on Hulu’s The Girl from Plainville or in the second season of Netflix’s Russian Doll.

music

Bright, relaxed synth.

jesse

That’s the end of another episode of Bullseye. Bullseye, created from the homes me and the staff of Maximum Fun, in and around greater Los Angeles, California. The other day, I came outside, and everybody was out on the street on my block. And it turns out, somebody in the middle of the day had just walked down the street carving the letter “R” into everyone’s car hood. Gotta go to the body shop. Our show is produced by speaking into microphones. Our senior producer is Kevin Ferguson. Our producers are Jesus Ambrosio, Valerie Moffat and Richard Robey. Thanks to Catherine Cooke at CDM Studios, in New York City, for recording my conversation with Chloë Sevigny. We get booking help from Mara Davis. Our interstitial music is by Dan Wally, also known as DJW. Our theme song is called “Huddle Formation”. It was recorded by the group The Go! Team. Thanks to them and to their label, Memphis Industries. Bullseye is on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. You can follow us in all of those places. We share our interviews there. And I think that’s about it. Just remember: all great radio hosts have a signature signoff.

promo

Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

If you would like to pitch a guest for Bullseye, please CLICK HERE. You can also follow Bullseye on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. For more about Bullseye and to see a list of stations that carry it, please click here.

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