Lisa Butterworth’s interview reveals Paquin’s thoughts on labels and how, even after being condemned by judgmental eyes, she could find no reason “compelling” enough to not date her co-star, Stephen Moyer.
Now they’re married and she’s the stepmother to his two children. Good instincts: check. Brain/beauty: double check.
Disdain for Twitter: “I’d chuck myself in front of a bus for you, but I don’t really care if you put one or two shots of espresso in your coffee this morning.”
On modern femininity: “There are these very archaic stereotypes about female sexuality and what it means to be a woman. You’re supposed to pick a category – are you a girly girl, are you a tomboy, are you this, are you that?”
“And that doesn’t really mesh with reality most of the time. Look, our show stretches reality about as far as reality can be stretched, but as far as the sort of archetypal characters that we show, there’s a lot of complexity. Especially in our female characters, and I love that”
On dating her now husband, ‘Vampire Bill’: “Look, you don’t want to scream and shout about the fact that you’re hooking up with your co-star and moving in together when your show hasn’t even aired yet. And as far as people we work with go, we were sure [we wanted to be together], but that doesn’t mean other people weren’t going to look at us and be, like, ‘Are you guys 12? Do you have no self-control whatsoever?”
Being cast on True Blood: “I auditioned about a hundred times. The number of times that you hear ‘Yeah, we just don’t think that you’re a blond person’ – I don’t even want to know what that means. He [Alan Ball] could look past my brown hair and my pale skin! I mean, how extraordinary!”
Her signature grin: “I swear to god, people have been trying for years to give me a complex about my teeth, and it just hasn’t worked.”
Nudity on the show: “It’s about vampires, and vampires have always been deeply sexual figures in their mythology. People get so uptight about sex and nudity, and it’s like – they’re just boobs. It’s just another incredibly beautiful naked man, get over it.”
Getting into character: “To me, my job is about disappearing into somebody else’s skin, and the more different and more radical the transformation is from my perspective, the more fun it is.”
“There’s something really freeing about leaving yourself behind and getting to be something that no one in their wildest dreams wold ever have imagined you could possibly pull off. There’s a little bit of ‘Yeah, well, fuck you!’ You know? See – everyone can be blond.”
Her High School experience: “I was not popular or confident or strong, and yeah, I totally got picked on. Like, I could not wait to get the hell out of high school…I always find it vaguely obnoxious when you read interviews with actors going, ‘Oh, I was really unpopular in high school.’ No, I actually was really unpopular in school!”
On female bullying: “A lot of people think of bullying as being physical, and that’s just not how girls usually bully. Girls go the psychological path on each other and just make people feel so incredibly horrible about themselves that they don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of that, absolutely.”
On coming out as a bisexual: “I was asked to participate in the [“Give a Damn”] campaign, and everyone was being asked to identify themselves in whichever way they felt was appropriate. As much as I think labels are tired and boring, if you’ve got to pick one, I guess that’s the one that’s the closest fit for me. So it felt like a bit of a no-brainer.”
“I don’t think that aspect of people’s lives is particularly interesting or noteworthy. It shouldn’t really matter. It does, to a lot of people, but hopefully the more people are open about it, the less it will be considered the defining factor about people. Clearly I’ve done a lot of other stuff with my life. Being bisexual is not my defining characteristic.”
Photographed by Williams + Hirakawa at Smashbox Studios in LA