By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Tall, dry Jane Lynch rose to notoriety by quietly stealing a variety of Christopher Guest films while wittily pickpocketing some other people's projects on the side. As a result, Lynch is everywhere lately: She's Sue, the cutthroat cheerleading coach on Glee, and she's part of the rotating array of actors in Nora and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore, the Off-Broadway series of monologues about what women wear that redefines "ensemble cast."
Our recent phone exchange went like so:
Me: Hi, Jane. Who are you replacing in Love, Loss?
Jane: I honestly don't know! I don't tax myself. I'm a busy woman. [Laughs.]
Jane: I know they're gonna give me the butch lesbian to play!
Me: That would be perfect. Since I know you have read the script: Do you feel fashion has an actual meaning other than just something to wear?
Jane: I'm really into fashion. I love to see transitions. One of my favorite lines in the show is, "When you start wearing Eileen Fisher, you might as well say, 'I give up,' " She makes overpriced gunnysacks. I have a couple of her pieces, and they're very nice. They're great if you don't want to show your figure much.
Jane: She was shaking in her boots. I did my best just to act like a normal person. At the end of the day, I'm a regular actor like her! [Laughs.]
Me: What other dramatic parts have you gotten?
Jane: On Criminal Minds, I did an institutionalized mother. It was nice to slow my rhythm and be medicated.
Me: You or the character?
Jane: The character. I'm always medicated!
Me: My drug of choice is Christopher Guest. Your fave role with him?
Jane: Laurie Bohner in A Mighty Wind. She's sexually confident and oblivious to what others might think of her. She has no shame and really loves her feminine, sexy body. I found it in me. I had to dig something up. But I couldn't wait to wash my hair out and take off the curls and tight pants and push-up bra at the end of the day.
Me: So you're not soft and feminine by nature?
Jane: I identified as a boy most of my life. I felt like a boy.
Me: I didn't.
Jane: That's why I felt like we'd get along! [Laughs.] But that movie helped me along. I'm showing "cleave" all the time now.
Me: Ever strap them down?
Jane: Never. I wore bras that smash 'em. You're not fooling anybody, though. They kind of go flat. It looks like you have a cutting board on your chest.
Me: As a kid, were you into boy things, like baseball?
Jane: I played baseball 24/7. There was a baseball field across the street. Some days, I'd get teased, and other days, embraced.
Me: So these days, are you the butch one in a relationship? Do you look for lipstick girlfriends?
Jane: I am very attracted to feminine women.
Me: I'm not. Is Sue on Glee a lesbian?
Jane: No, she's not. Though she'd do anything to win. If she had to, she'd sleep with a woman. She falls in love with someone in an upcoming episode. It doesn't go so well—but it does lead to a terrific musical number where I do the Lindy Hop!
Me: That's all that matters! Were you always out?
Jane: From 20 on, I was an active lesbian, but I didn't tell my family till I was 31. We'd still rather not talk about it. I'm glad it's off the table. I don't bring it up very much. Just the bare necessities: "I'm coming in on this flight, and we'll go to the mall."
Me: To buy some more Eileen Fisher!
[Update: I caught Jane in the show, and she didn't play a butch lesbian, but she was utterly charming nonetheless.]
Other wry blondes filled Funkshion Fashion Week in South Beach, where the bodies are so wildly displayable that Eileen Fisher is barely needed. At the Setai Hotel, Richie Rich's A*MUSE show trotted out bathing-suited models wrapped in yellow police tape—a fashion statement, a color code, and a warning all at once. At the end of the show, guest star Pamela Anderson surreally emerged on the runway in her dried-off Baywatch ensemble, followed by Richie giddily taking applause on roller skates. It was very Russ Meyer–meets-Xanadu.
In the crowd—where notables included drag star Elaine Lancaster and Brooke Hogan's gay best friend—I heard an update on the dish about Pamela's contractors' claim that she can't afford to pay them in full. Pam's stance is that the workers fell behind schedule and messed up some things, so she's holding back the moolah for now. And not to worry. Said my source: "Pamela is living in a fabulous trailer in Malibu Trailer Park. Believe me, it's amazing!" Much nicer than the one she grew up in, ba dum pum.