8 Things You Didn't Know About Carrie Brownstein, Coolest Jewish Woman on the Planet – Kveller
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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Carrie Brownstein, Coolest Jewish Woman on the Planet

The final episode of Portlandia airs this week. While the beloved sketch comedy may be coming to an end, Carrie Brownstein is forever. Seriously. Aside from being one of Portlandia‘s creators and stars, the 43-year-old is a founder of the Seattle-based riot grrrl punk-indie band Sleater-Kinney (which you you may have heard of… you know, NBD).

But Brownstein’s keeping busy, to say the least. She’s recording a Sleater-Kinney album, and she has a new Hulu series in the works, based on her memoir (yes!), Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.

In a recent interview, the Jewish musician, writer, and comedian mentioned how she now wants to focus on writing and directing, adding that she wants to dismantle the “status quo:”

I think it’s really important to make sure that we are also having a conversation about class. It’s not about silencing women who want to share their experiences, but it’s about remembering that in terms of public discourse, that stuff is clickbait, and it’s perpetuated because it’s sexier to write about and it’s obviously more inflammatory and more eyes are on it.

Clearly, Brownstein is full of complexity and nuance — and that’s in addition to being an amazing and busy person. Here are some things you may not know about her.

1. She’s bisexual  — and was outed by Spin when she was 21. Her parents found out about her sexuality by reading the article. While she initially felt like her privacy had been invaded, she has since said she is grateful it happened before social media:

When I think about it from today’s perspective, I’m actually so grateful that I was not subjected to a chorus of opinions on social media. The only person I had to deal with was myself. It felt invasive, but not public. There was no commentary on it, except in your own head. Better that it happened in 96.

2. She founded riot grrrl band Sleater-Kinney in 1994. That same year, the band — with bandmates Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss — they recorded their first album. Brownstein and Tucker previously dated. The band just reunited in 2014 after parting ways in 2006 to pursue solo projects.

3. Brownstein is a writer. Her memoir focuses on her tumultuous childhood (including her mother’s eating disorder) and has been critically acclaimed (it was a New York Times Notable Book of 2015). She was also a writer for The Believer, interviewing musicians like Karen O and Eddie Vedder.

4. She and Fred Armisen, Portlandia co-creator and star, have a romantic, intimate, and platonic relationship. Both have commented on its intensity. Brownstein has said, “The love affair we started was ThunderAnt, and that blossomed into a full-blown relationship. So I think we sort of dodged a bullet. It’s one of the most intimate, fun­ctional, romantic, but nonsexual relationships we’ve ever had.”

Meanwhile, Armisen has said, “It’s a relief when we get to hang out together. Being in a room with her —we’re set. Like, I’m good right now.”

5. She could watch watchMoonstruck ten times.” Love it — so could I.

6. She’s making her film directorial debut on MGM’s Fairy Godmother. According to Deadline, the screenplay “is a comic revisionist look at the classic Fairy Godmother tale. Its logline: When sought-after Fairy Godmother Faye is hired by a mind-bogglingly gorgeous teenage client, Kenzie, to find her true love with the hottest prince in the land, Faye finds herself facing an unfamiliar challenge when the prince starts falling for her instead.”

7. Brownstein has had a recurring role on the hit series Transparent since 2014. She plays Syd, the longtime close pal of Ali Pfefferman (Gaby Hoffmann). The role was created for Brownstein — the show’s creator, Jill Soloway, is a fan. (And apparently, the feeling is mutual.)


8. Her mother suffered from anorexia and her father came out as gay in his 50s. This was covered in her memoir, and she’s opened up about it in interviews, saying:

Meals and eating and that sort of ritual of gathering at a table is such a part of childhood, and that was such a strange moment. It made me nervous to watch my mom cook for us and then not engage in the act of eating with us. It was almost like a performance to witness the ways she would avoid eating food.

When he came out, it was like this moment where something goes from black-and-white into the realm of color. There was just this brightening, this sense of illumination. And within that gleaming came feeling. It just seeped into him, and into all of his relationships, and it was very enlightening.

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