Jenji Kohan is unabashedly herself, which is one reason I love her.
Kohan is the creator of the Netflix hits “Orange Is the New Black” and “Glow,” as well as the Showtime series “Weeds.” And though you may well be familiar with her shows, you’re less likely to know a lot about the creative force behind them.
TV writer and producer Devon Shepard summed up Kohan perfectly: “She’s a weirdo, and a nerd, and all these things. You can’t just put that kind of person in any fucking room. She had to be a showrunner! She had to be in charge. Anything else would put that fire out.”
Find out more below:
1. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English language and literature in 1991.
3. Kohan, who grew up in and still lives in L.A., owns the city’s historic Hayworth Theatre, using the second floor as production offices.
4. Her kids have attended Jewish day school and summer camp.
5. In 1998, she wrote an episode of “Sex and the City” called “The Power of Female Sex,” in which Carrie goes shoe-shopping with her wealthy friend Amalita and her rich boyfriend. Carrie meets an architect, who ends up paying her after she goes back to his fancy hotel. Spicy, eh?
6. She produced multiple episodes of “Gilmore Girls.”
7. Kohan descends from high priests of ancient Israel, or Kohanim — on both her mother’s and father’s sides. Crazy.
8. On the set of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” for which she wrote, Kohan was nicknamed “White Devil Jew Bitch.” She was also one of two female writers.
9. She always knew that she wanted kids.
10. Her father is Buz Kohan, who was known as “the King of Variety,” as he wrote for shows like “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Gene Kelly: An American in Pasadena.”
11. Her mom, Rhea, published three novels and a screenplay, but also says motherhood is her greatest job, explaining: “I wanted my children to grow up and have jobs where they would never have to come and ask me for money.”
12. Kohan has twin brothers, Jono and David — both of whom are creative. In 1998, her brother David created “Will & Grace,” with his writing partner, Max Mutchnick. Meanwhile, Jono is a music entrepreneur.
13. She plays mah-jongg.
14. One of her favorite TV shows from childhood is “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.”
15. Her bright hair? She only started to dye her hair when it began to go gray — and is a vintage-store fanatic.
16. The title of her successful Showtime series “Weeds, about a pot-dealing widow mom, is also a metaphor for the struggle to survive on a daily basis: “Weeds are hardy plants that pop up everywhere and survive despite desperate climate and inhospitable environments,” she said. “There is also the expression ‘widow’s weeds,’ referring to a time when widows wore hats made of weeds. Mainly, though, it refers to hardy plants struggling to survive.”