The L Word’s Daniela Sea on Being the New Hot L Girl
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Right, right. Well, tell me how you ended up as a series regular on The L Word without even having an agent.
Almost two years ago … I decided I wanted to pursue acting. I was living in New York and I’d been touring with my girlfriend Bitch … and I’d been, living in Europe for a lot of years, traveling and stuff. When I was in New York, I just … had this deep sadness where I got really sick and I didn’t leave the house for like a week and a half or something, … and I talked to my mom and she said, “You know, I think that there’s something you need to hear about yourself that you’re not hearing, and you gotta listen to what it is. Listen to yourself.”
So a couple days later I just had this epiphany. It was really weird. I was doing push-ups in the living room, and I was trying to strengthen up again after being sick, and I realized that I missed acting so much. It was something I really loved, and I had studied with people from all different backgrounds ’cause it was Laney Community College — you know, single moms and old people, senior citizens, you know, teenagers — I guess it was like a collective creating something together … not just music but something with our whole bodies and using language, and I just missed it. And I realized: Why can’t I just pursue this if it’s something that I love so much. There’s got to be a place for someone like me.
So soon after, I kind of spread the word, and I heard about an audition for John Camera Mitchell’s new film, Shortbus, and I auditioned for it and then I got called back … and then finally I got the part and I workshopped it, and during that time … I got a book on iMovie from the library and I made myself a reel. I just had some little vignettes from [when] I’d been in some music videos … and it took me forever ’cause I’m not the most computer adept person yet. But it was pretty fulfilling, and I just figured it out and then I sent it off … [to] someone I knew who was writing for the show who I’d known years before. I just called her and asked her if I could send her this package and would she pass it on to the right people. And she said sure, so she did, and sooner or later I got a call asking for an audition tape, and then I got a call on a Thursday night. I was at my restaurant job and they said, “Can you be here in L.A. tomorrow at noon for this audition?” And I thought to myself, heck yeah, I’ll do it. I used my last money and I borrowed some money from my roommate, and I bought a ticket and I came out, and then within like five days I was in Vancouver shooting the first scene, which happened to be a make-out scene with Mia’s character, and that’s how it happened.
Wow. Both you and Bitch are actually in the John Camera Mitchell film, right?
Yeah, we are both in there.
Are you one of the couples who have sex in the film?
No, we don’t. We could have.
Oh, a lot of crushed lesbian hearts out there now.
I know. Well, you know I was more thinking … of all the people that would say, “Is that trying to say something about lesbians? Like we just sit around and talk.” But he basically gave everyone in the movie an option of whether or not they wanted to. And I didn’t really want to, you know? I didn’t really feel like the character called for it. I mean, it would have been extremist, you know. There’s some good stuff in there anyway.
I’m looking forward to seeing it. So you went from that into being you know part of The L Word, this huge cultural phenomenon.
Have you been —
I’d never even seen the show before.
That’s what I was going to ask. So have you been following the whole, you know, ferocity with which women are attuned to The L Word?
I actually hadn’t realized how intense it was because … I just kind of stay at home and make stuff, or else I go see music or theater. I don’t usually watch TV myself. … So then whenever anyone would bring it up after I got the job, I realized almost everybody I know who is a lesbian or queer watches the show — even my doorman who’s a good straight guy.
It wasn’t that I was opposed to it; I just never found the time, but I [have] definitely watched all the episodes now, and I’m excited to be part of it. It’s something I really, really think is pretty amazing, and I think that it’s really very thoughtful. The people who are doing the writing and creating it are not — it’s not just making a TV show, they are definitely socially responsible and thinking about —
Representing us, yeah.
That’s such a heady task, too.
Yeah, it is. I mean, we are never going to be satisfied, right?
As a people, I mean, I say “we” meaning women, queer, lesbian, trans, whatever, all of us on that spectrum of people who have been women in the past and are politically active, sometimes I feel like we expect a lot, but I think that also makes us really aware … and really struggling for good causes.
Mm hmm. Yeah, sometimes it’s good to be demanding.
Yeah, I’m proud of us in that way. Even if we can be, you know, a little ornery sometimes.
[Laughs.] Well, what can you tell me about your character?
Moira is pretty f-ing cool. I really like her; I have a soft place in my heart for her. She’s a girl from the suburbs outside of Chicago, early 20s, and she’s kind of a computer — not exactly a nerd, but she does computer tech stuff, like a programmer. … I sensed right away when I started learning about her [that] she hasn’t reached her potential yet, like there’s something else waiting and it’s not just the trans thing. There’s more to her than just living in the suburbs she grew up in, you know, and so she meets Jenny Schecter and Jenny says that she’s going back to Los Angeles, and Moira says she wants to come with her, so we get to see them on this journey out to L.A. And then we get to see Moira in L.A. in this environment of pretty well-to-do — well, like all Jenny’s friends are mostly pretty up-scale.
Obviously you see that she sticks out like a sore thumb, and then you get to see the different ways that she deals with it and the way people deal with her and how they react. Sometimes it’s pretty strong, you know. Its just fun to play. I love that because I can relate to that feeling, you know, feeling a little bit outside. She’s very good-hearted like a gentleman, a real gentleman kind of woman. I like her.
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