Uh Huh Her's Leisha Hailey talks acting, 'The Kids Are Alright' and her relationship with Camila Grey
Leisha Hailey is the biggest rock 'n’ roll sex symbol you’ve probably never heard of.
But it was her starring role on Showtime’s The L Word that helped make her a cult figure in the lesbian community. As Alice, a bisexual journalist and TV personality, she attracted scores of female fans, to the point where, in 1007, AfterEllen.com ranked Hailey No. 1 on its 2007 “Hot 100” list, ahead of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Natalie Portman.
These days Hailey (at right, above) and her Uh Huh Her bandmate Camila Grey are touring the nation behind a new EP, Black and Blue. On Saturday, they’ll be at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg (tickets are $16; click here to get 'em).
During a tour stop for a “family dinner” at Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore, Hailey took a few minutes to answer some questions by email.
Uh Huh Her has a more synthy, electro-poppy sound than your previous output. Did you listen to a lot of pop or dance music during your days with the Murmurs? Did you ever anticipate this was where your musical tastes would go?
No. Until I met Camila my musical taste was geared more toward an alt-girl style. Cam opened up my world to things more synth-driven because that’s the music she is drawn to.
How would you characterize your working relationship with Camila? Equal partners? Besties? Co-workers? Boss-employee? Wife-wife?
I can start by saying it doesn’t feel like work. It’s all of the above. In the studio Cam is definitely the producer. We pick up each other’s slack in a lot of different areas. Sometimes I’ll handle the business side of things while Camila has to tour, and vice versa. When we’re on the road, we’re both very equal in terms of duties, although I happen to lift all the heavy stuff because Cam has a bum shoulder.
You have a song on the soundtrack to The Kids Are All Right. And I seem to recall there was an Uh Huh Her poster on the wall of the daughter, Joni’s, room. How did all of that come about? Is Lisa Cholodenko a huge fan, or what?
We were in the studio recording with Wendy Melvoin, Lisa’s girlfriend. Lisa then approached us to possibly write a song for the film. After reading the script, we were drawn to the relationship between the donor dad and Joni, and how their souls connected even though they had never met. We watched clips from the film and ended up writing Same High. Lisa is very supportive of the band and we’re grateful for the chance to be in such a unique and culturally important film. We’re big fans of hers.
You have a strong lesbian following. Without abandoning those fans, is the balance where you’d like it to be, in terms of your fan base? Do you want to perform for more straight fans — in other words, go a little more mainstream? And if so, how do you do that?
Let me start by saying that our fans are very supportive, and we’re very appreciative of them. Our fans are mostly female, for sure. As far as their sexuality, that’s a non-issue for us. Our goal is to always to grow our fan base, and you do that by touring and promotion, etc. We certainly make music for everyone, and not one specific group.
Obviously, when you go on tour, you have to put your acting career on hold. Do you miss it? Are you still looking to act, or would you prefer to make a living as a musician?
I think of myself of a musician first. It’s what I did for 12 years before I was on The L Word. Most people got to know me through that show. I feel like now I’m back where I belong. I love acting and it comes very naturally for me, and I hope to do a lot more, but right now the band is my priority.
If you do still want to act, what’s your dream role?
It’s a case-by-case basis when I read scripts. The role just really has to grab me.
How much time per day do you spend doing social media? How has it impacted your daily life of, y’know, being a rock star?
I have to admit Cam takes on the social media workload more than I do. I can never think of anything exciting enough to say. I feel pressure to either deliver some sort of news or say something really clever, so I get overwhelmed and decide not to do it. Cam, on the other hand, flies by the seat of her pants and I have to admire that. I promise to get better.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: EDAproduction.com (2010).