1) How did you find Lesley Arfin?
Elisa: Lesley has been on our radar for years. For one reason or another it didn’t work out to shoot her until she moved to LA, which validates my general feeling that timing is everything. It was great to catch Lesley at this phase of her life, with a recent move to the West Coast from NYC and the fairly new success of the hit show Girls (for which she is one of the main writers). It was fascinating to hear Lesley reflect upon the ups and downs of the past 10 years that have led her to this place in her life.
2) What’s the first thing you remember from your shoot with Lesley?
Elisa: How funny, honest & self deprecating she was. The moment Lesley got into her bed with her baby blankets for our interview will stand in my mind as one of SLU’s top ten most memorable moments for its originality and unbridled lack of self consciousness.
3) What’s the one thing in Lesley’s closet that you want?
Elisa: Her perfectly beat up motorcycle boots from Ebay– one of three things that she says she would save in a fire (along with her baby blankets and her cat, Spooky).
4) What were you most inspired by during your shoot with Lesley?
Elisa: There are so many things that Lesley said that I am obsessed with that I have to list almost all of them:
-”I think it’s sexier today to not have the perfect body” — I think the popularity of Girls shows our culture’s current hunger for all things real and imperfect.
-”People are doing the 90′s better now than in the 90′s.” I love how Lesley looks at things from such a distance and yet in such detail, subsequently dressing as a way to express her observations and tell a story. It reminds me of when she says “I became that girl. I’m her now. I figured it out.”–referring to a girl crush she once had at a Bikini Kill concert when she was 16, which was the inspiration for one of her looks in this shoot (see her Fred Perry hoody, Betsey Johnson floral dress and motorcycle boots).
-”I got rejected from every college I applied to (Bard, Vassar, Emerson and Bennington), before getting into Hampshire…and pretended not to care.” — Lesley’s honesty is beyond refreshing and I find it so inspiring that she has used failure as a chance to succeed.
-”I needed to be 22 in order to make fun of myself as 11. Not 22 as making fun of myself at 21.” –This is about Lesley’s book, Dear Diary, which is genius for it’s guts and perspective.
-”I need to remember to let go and to like put this ugly shit on the page.”– This reflects Lesley’s willingness to be vulnerable in her writing, which I so admire.
-”I thought the world was going to end because I wrote a book, and I thought that my name was going to be on The Marquis and they’d be rolling the red carpet out for me everywhere and that didn’t happen.”– This happens to everyone, including me, and no one admits it.
-”I never knew what I was doing, I had a million different jobs and a million different boyfriends… I mean, that’s what Girls is about.” — This is so true. Sometimes just everyday life tells a great story and is what people crave.
-”I didn’t even start understanding how to have good sex until I was in my late 20s. So I’m always going to go for it being gross, being ugly, because that was also fun too.” — Lesley is referring to the sex on Girls, and I think its honesty is so important in order to eliminate the BS surrounding this subject, both its romanticization in media and its general taboo in daily life.
5) What’s your favorite thing about Lesley’s style?
Elisa: How it is all about supporting her friends or about her humor, like when she wears her Chloe Sevigny for Opening Cermony red ruffle skirt or when she rocks her “mommy” cardigan that she fantasizes about wearing when dropping her future kids off “at jazz.” I am also into her fetish for sandals and black socks, which she refers to as her “old man” style.
6) What has Lesley inspired within you?
Elisa: To be able to be so courageous as to find nothing that I do embarrassing in the way that Lesley does. I have a long way to go.
Questions answered by Elisa Goodkind, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief.