#HERSTYLETHEORY: GAY GIRL STRAIGHT GIRL


June 28, 2017

#HERSTYLETHEORY: GAY GIRL STRAIGHT GIRL


 Captured by: CORINNE LOUIE PHOTOGRAPHY

What a WONDERFUL, small freakin’ world!

My best bud and #HerStyleTheory photographer extraordinaire, Corinne Louie, would not stop raving about a comedic duo she photographed for a headshot session she had months back and after hearing all she had to say, I immediately knew we HAD to feature these awesome ladies on The Style Theory.

Oh, the Universe! You funny thing you!

At my last hair appointment at Fox & Jane East Village (shout out to Betsy Duggan!), I’m sitting waiting there for my balayage to process and there was a woman there who looked insanely familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And, then it hit me! I think… So, to be sure, in complete stalker form, I went up to the super sweet assistant at the front desk and asked for “that girl in Betsy’s chair’s” name & BOOM! It had been confirmed that it was none other than THE ASHLEY GAVIN, one half of Gay Girl Straight Girl!

So, I pretty much charged at her with crispy white hair & told her that I’d been meaning to reach out to her to feature GGSG, week’s later saw her perform at Carolines on Broadway (SHE WAS AMAZING!) & a couple of month’s later we are shooting this feature (where I FINALLY met the beautiful Lee Hurst) just in time for the release of their HILARIOUS new web series, Gay Girl Straight Girl!

I had such a great time shooting with Lee & Ashley! I can’t wait for you to learn more about these multi-talented, funny, brilliant boss babes & shine some light on GGSG because it deserves all of the attention and success in the world (omg! I died the entire Bridal Shower episode!!) and I’m so honored to feature them on TST during PRIDE MONTH!

I’m so inspired by you, Ashley & Lee! Can I be you when I grow up?


 

Interview with Ashley Gavin

Q: This is your first leading role playing a gay woman. Can you talk about other roles you’ve played throughout your career, and other roles you go in for now, based on your “type”?

Ashley: This has been a problem for me for a long time. When I first got an agent, who really didn’t understand me that well and is one of those agents with 4000 clients and probably just wrote in his notes somewhere “Ashley Gavin: Lesbian”, he only sent me in for “masculine woman” or “butch lesbian”, and that’s not really who I am. It’s hard to be a minority in this industry because so many people want you to be an extreme stereotype of that minority. Indian people have to force a fake accent, black people are told to be “more urban”, and I would probably get a lot more roles if I shaved my head and got a tattoo.


So it’s really freeing to be a regular human character who happens to be gay. My character is firstly a little awkward, loves to explain things to people, competitive, intense, funny, and then gay. Of course we throw around some gay stereotypes, but the humor comes way more from the depth of the characters and their relationship.

Q: If you could give an elevator pitch to anyone in Hollywood, who would it be and what would you say?

Ashley: Tina Fey. I’d tell her to executive produce (with me of course) a show with Lee. I have done so many things in my life. I was an engineer at a national security lab at MIT. I’ve been a part of many startups and helped them scale, I taught for a while, I jump started my own college touring business… if there is one thing I can do really well it’s learn how to do something well enough to succeed. So, I would tell this to Tina Fey, because I really believe our writing style will resonate with her (very punchy, a little absurdist) and tell her it’s time to Broad City GGSG.


Q: What’s the next project you want to create?

Ashley: Lee and I have a spec for a semi-scripted man in the street talk show called Mid Day Today. It both honors and makes fun of late night by interviewing regular people in the street, but with a pop up cardboard des and a band. Lee gets to do character work by playing all the field reporters, because we can’t afford to pay more than one actor, and I get to show off my stand up crowd work in the interview sections, which people rarely get to see, unless you’ve watched my stand up on the road.

Q: What’s the difference between delivering punchlines on screen and on stage in your stand up?

Ashley: Most obviously, in stand up, you get immediate feedback. You can’t get that on set because people have to be quiet. There’s literally no room to read. In stand up you learn how to feel a room and understand how to adjust your rhythm and emphasis on certain words or phrases, and your timing, and the order of your set, to meet the room where it is. On set you have to predict what is going to look good and translate on camera (and the camera is like right in your face), so subtly is key. Some of that is even as technical as having extreme body awareness and keeping track of how you might look in the frame. I sucked at this. But in working with Lee, who is an expert at this stuff, I learned a lot and got a lot better.

Q: What’s the best memory you have of filming GGSG?

Ashley: Lee did about 15 minutes of physical comedy with the dildo in the Bridal Shower episode, and it was all improvised. Including the lines. It was unbelievable and I had a VERY difficult time not laughing, I laughed a few times actually, and I peed a little. But I think for me I was also blown away by watching the other actors, the DP, the sound person, the PAs, and the makeup artist watch her. It was clear to everyone like this girl isn’t just funny, she’s an actual genius. She didn’t just nail it, she nailed it for 15 minutes. We could have just released that. I feel like I know the next Steve Carell or Julia Louis Dreyfus. Not just an acting genius but a straight up comedic legend.


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Q: People always give advice when they’ve “made it”, but since you’re in the process of “making it”, what’s your advice to those doing the same?

Ashley: People tell me a lot I’m making it right now (I know how obnoxious this sounds), but I personally don’t really buy it yet. I would say one of the best things I’ve done for myself is always aimed a little higher than I can do in every facet of my life. It’s pretty surprising how we under value ourselves, so going for a goal you can’t reach, is actually where you need to be. When I booked the headlining spot at Carolines I had never done an hour without doing some crowd work (when you talk to the audience and roast them and stuff), because crowd work is a very important skill when you’re on the road and you’re not famous. You have to find a way to connect with the audience, and when you’re gay and in rural West Virginia, that’s important. But I wanted to prove to myself and the community that I could do a tight hour, rather than the traditional ~45 minutes. It was a seriously stupid idea. But I somehow, in one month, was able to solidify 20 minutes of new material. Which is the craziest thing ever. I don’t know how it happened and I doubt it’ll ever happen again. I guess my point is we spend way too much time insisting that we aren’t ready for something but maybe one day we will be. That’s stupid. Just do it now. Don’t be crazy, but just push yourself a little bit. You might fail, but, when it comes to self-growth, what do you really have to lose?


 

Interview with Lee Hurst

Q: Function line: you are so smart, and so hilarious, but based on a headshot a lot of people probably wouldn’t believe that. Is it frustrating?

Lee: Yes. I call this “little girl-ing”, and people do it to me all the time. In the process of creating this show, someone said to us that they “just assumed” that I didn’t write any of it, that only Ashley did. What’s frustrating about this is I always get advice from people about how I should change myself – wear glasses to meetings, let them talk first so they don’t feel intimidated – but that’s not who I am. I create things, I run things, and just because I’m not a tall dude with a beard doesn’t mean people don’t have to listen to me, they do. I have a great body of work that’s gotten me in the room, and that’s that.

Q: If you could give an elevator pitch to anyone in Hollywood, who would it be and what would you say?

Lee: Hey Steve Carell, watching you on The Office taught me how to be funny. In fact, I think I am personally responsible for roughly fifteen percent of the views on Netflix and that’s an accurate calculation, ask anyone I’ve lived with. I would like to make a movie with you and Taylor Schilling. It’s a dark comedy, we play half siblings, and we murder someone. It wins us all Oscars.

Q: What’s the next project you want to create?

Lee: I want to make a TV show for the television. I want to be on set every day for the rest of my life.

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Q: The physicality you bring to your humor is incredible. This is particularly evident in Bridal Shower, where you did about 15 minutes of physical work with the strap on. What do you do to get to that place, what techniques are you employing? What’s going through your head?

Lee: Everything I know is because of Geoffrey Horne. He was my acting teacher at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Everything I do I think: Would Geoffrey think this is funny? Would Steve Carell think this is funny? At Strasberg you learn to be very free in your body. So, I try as much as I can to do that. It’s not always easy because I am a human woman. Having trust in my body is something society has taught me not to do, but it’s something I work on in acting all the time. It’s always a process, and dammit I love it.  

Q: What’s the best memory you have of filming GGSG?

Lee: I think I peed a little when Ashley had on the scuba suit. It was four hundred degrees outside and she had on a full suit and head thing with goggles on, which were completely fogged up, and her cheeks and lips were smushed up so that she looked like a cartoon fish. During her shot, when she was delivering her lines to me, I had to keep my eyes closed and hold my breath, SO UNPROFESSIONAL, for every take, because I was laughing so hard.

And then Ashley started improvising lines about swimming away in the East River. Also a guy in a full three piece suit came by the pier on a freaking Ski-Doo. It was too much to handle. We will make a blooper reel of this one day. My favorite day on set by a landslide.

Q: Tell the story of the first time you made anyone laugh.

Lee: I remember this like it was yesterday. I was wearing nothing but a diaper. I was sitting on the dining room table in front of my dad, sister, grandpa, and maybe others. I told one joke, to which the punchline was “Spices!” – Why? Who knows. It got a huge laugh. I was hooked. I kept rewriting the joke, a new set up every time, but I knew the punch worked. So I landed on “Spices!” every time. I  guess this was my first time trying stand up, and I fucking killed.

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XOXO
Lisa

June 28th, 2017 | Lisa | Posted in:

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