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Why Lola Kirke Gets “Nervous When Feminism Becomes A Fad”

Culture
Photo by Lauren Perlstein

‘Mozart in the Jungle’ returns on February 16

Now entering its fourth season, Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle is going into brand-new territory, as it further establishes and explores a romantic relationship between two of its leads, Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal), a former virtuoso conductor who has lost his way, and Hailey (Lola Kirke), a talented oboist who is now trying her own hand at conducting an orchestra. The show has long been a fascinating look at the heightened emotions and intense ambitions that exist within groups of creative professionals—including when said group comes from as deceptively staid an institution as classical music—but this season, it delves into the complicated dynamics of being a young woman, like Hailey, trying to make her mark in her hyper-masculine field, but being weighed down by the complication of having a boyfriend.

Recently, I spoke on the phone with Kirke about this newest season, what it's like to play the role of a woman in a very male-dominated field, and the current move toward political activism.

This is the fourth season now of Mozart in the Jungle. How is this season a departure from the prior ones?
It's been really amazing to get to learn about conducting, and I was working with the most incredible conducting coach who is a woman conductor, of which there are very few. She was, like, almost moved to tears—not by how amazing I was, but [because of the experience]. She does think I'm good enough to conduct her, like senior citizens group of classical musicians. I don't know if they're amateur or not, but she was like, "Yeah, you should come and conduct. They would love you." 

They probably would love you.
The problem is that I don't actually know what I'm doing. I just do what she tells me to do, exactly. But, yeah, she was very moved by the representation, like, finally there being a representation of a woman conductor on screen, because there had been nothing. So I'm very excited to get to be one of the early representations of women conductors on screen. 

What was it like to be a woman in this role that is so traditionally male? In so many ways, the symphony and classical music are these conservative institutions; they're full of creative, passionate people, but they still have such a traditional gender-role aspect to the whole thing.
Women have to work a lot harder to be in a place where men go very easily, and I think that that pans out typically with the romance that we see in the show. I mean, Gael's character is kind of enamored by his new role as the boyfriend, and Hailey is a lot more reticent about that relationship, because that's a privilege to be public about who you love, and when you're trying to break into a world that is typically male, it seems like you might want to strip yourself of all. And, in a way, there are benefits of stripping yourself of all kind of emotionality; like, there's this idea that you have to become available, or at least have people see you that way. I think that because conducting is a very physical job, there's also this kind of awkwardness in conductors which is like, how do I communicate with my orchestra no matter what size it is, but, also, not just completely embody these gestures that have been made clear by men.

I think, inherent to the role of being a conductor is authority, you're a leader, but then, for so long, that authority has been written in a language that is so specifically male. So, it's an interesting thing, as a woman, to think about, Do I adopt that language, or, like, act as if it's gender-neutral, and act as if being a man is actually neutral, or do I make it my own? 
Because a lot of composers wanted their music to be translated to the orchestra, and therefore the audience, as [being from] the male vessel, it might be like if a female actor takes a role like Hamlet that was written for a man and attempts to perform that. I think that is a difficulty for a lot of women conductors, and I guess there is that idea of humility that comes with being a conductor, because you can't be a conductor in a vacuum, you have to be in communication with your orchestra, and without them, you'd just have your back turned to the audience and making weird movements. 

To go back to what you said about being in a relationship as a woman who's trying to establish her career and how that can be something you don't want to put in the public eye, I thought that that was really fascinating. When women expose too much of their personal life, it allows other people to kind of pigeonhole them, because then the woman becomes just part of a partnership and isn't her own person anymore. Do you think it's getting more possible or less possible for women to be complicated and not to be dismissed because of that?
I definitely think that it's more possible for women to be—in certain places, New York and L.A., and San Francisco and Austin, Texas, in this century at least—seen as more complicated and more empowered and not be written off because of it. But I get nervous when feminism becomes a fad, just because fads die out. But I think it's so exciting to see a stronger call for women's empowerment. I also think it's taking a really long time, and, on some level, as much as we like to think that women are being more included, regardless of their gender, or whatever it is, I think that we still... I think this is gonna take a really fucking long time. 

There's definitely something really complex about everything happening right now, where feminism is just part our daily conversation and political activism becomes something that more and more people can see themselves being involved in, and that's essential. But, also, it does feel a little bit scary when you think that some people are just kind of buying the t-shirts and not really doing anything beyond that. 
I think it's very important that we move forward boldly about the way that we hold men accountable, and I think that at the beginning of any movement there are going to be casualties of that movement, and that's unfortunate. But beyond the public shaming of men—which I think is necessary in a certain way, and we're not gonna do everything perfectly—I think there needs to be a systemic change, which is education in schools—sex education, in particular—and the way that we talk to young men and women about consent—and the way that we talk to men and women of all ages about consent—is so important. I think that this is about consent, and it begins really young, and I'm sure there are lots of wonderful men who are confused as to whether or not they should be held accountable for some kinds of actions that they've taken. And that's unfortunate for them as individuals, and it's unfortunate for us as a culture that we have taught men how to be something and then we punish them for it later. This is what culture has told men to be, and in a way, there's some sexism involved in that, too. 

Mozart in the Jungle premieres February 16 on Amazon.

Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

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Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.


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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

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Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

He'd previously said he wanted to punch Jackson's 'Leaving Neverland' accusers in the face

Aaron Carter has been one of Michael Jackson's fiercest celebrity advocates in the aftermath of the Leaving Neverland documentary in which two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, alleged that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. In a new clip from People, however, he seems to walk back his defense.

People reveals that Carter will be joining the upcoming season of reality TV show Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars Family Edition with his mother. It's noted that he will be revealing more thoughts regarding Jackson following the documentary and the sneak peek specifically sees him alluding to a negative experience with the singer.

Carter, who has previously said that Jackson was never inappropriate toward him, says that Jackson "was a really good guy," though he does note that this is only true "as far as I know." "He never did anything that was inappropriate," he continues before stopping himself, as though remembering something. "Except for one time. There was one thing that he did that was a little bit inappropriate."

Carter does not provide any more detail after this statement. He has previously said that he would stay at Jackson's Neverland estate and sleep in the same bed as the much older star when he was 15 years old, though he hasn't seemed to understand then just how creepy that is. He also said earlier this year, in a clip from TMZ, that he would be telling a story of something that happened between them in an upcoming book about his life.

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