Chloe Sevigny

I am worried that some of the choices I’ve made—and because people think of me as this fashion icon—might have affected my film career.Chloë Sevigny

Before Kids (1995), before Boys Don’t Cry (1999), even before Jay McInerney’s 1994 New Yorker profile that certified her as the generational paradigm of all things cool, Chloë Sevigny made her first on-camera appearance in the 1992 Sonic Youth music video for “Sugar Kane.” In the clip, set simultaneously at a Marc Jacobs–designed fashion show and on the streets of Manhattan, a thin, wan, boyish-haired teenager strolls through the glamour and grit of the city with the fast, disinterested confidence of someone who knows their turf. Twenty years later, Sevigny is a very different creature from that girl taking the train in from her Connecticut home to wander the skate parks and music venues of New York City, but she still has that walk. She still moves through the city like it’s hers—which, of course, it is.

New York. It’s definitely Sevigny’s town. If it has been a drawback careerwise to be so closely associated with the city or its quickly vanishing sense of street style—not to mention her dubious coronation as the archetype of it before even reaching adulthood—Sevigny has managed to cut a singular path for herself as an actress outside of Hollywood convention. She’s worked with some of the greatest directors of our time—Woody Allen, Lars von Trier, David Fincher, Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, and Olivier Assayas, among others. She’s jumped from working on stripped-down indie-film sets to doing five seasons as a sister wife on the hit HBO show Big Love (for which she won a Golden Globe). And she has picked roles so challenging, surprising, and unconventional that it’s hard to think of another actress who has morphed through so many genders, sexualities, classes, hair colors, genres, and time zones—most done without the crutch of major-studio financing. In short, she has done what you’re supposed to do in New York when things get a little uneasy: maintain your cool, keep going, and convince yourself that you can handle the situation.

In the upcoming British miniseries Hit and Miss, Sevigny finally takes the starring role—and, in the expectedly unexpected twists of her career, it’s no ordinary lead part. In it, she plays Mia, a pre-op transgender assassin who not only kills for a living, but is also taking care of a brood of orphaned children. It’s almost as if the casting gods decided to give Sevigny the ultimate acting test—and this one comes with a prosthetic penis. The show was filmed in the bleak northern England town of Manchester, forcing Sevigny to be away from New York for nearly six months in the summer and fall of 2011—not long after she had returned to Manhattan after five years of commuting to Los Angeles for Big Love. When shooting wrapped, she was happy to return to her East Village apartment, to reconnect with the city, her friends, and the prospects of future roles. This might be more of an editor’s note, but it would be amazing to see Sevigny cast in a few big Hollywood comedies, or perhaps even as a superhero in a sci-fi epic. In the meantime, it’s good to have her back in the city again. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon sat down with the 37-year-old Sevigny recently in the actress’s kitchen to discuss what is, what was, and how you wear that thing.

KIM GORDON: This is so funny because we’ve known each other for almost 20 years. [Sevigny gasps] It’s hard to believe.


GORDON: I was trying to think of when we met. It was maybe ’92, when we did the video for “Sugar Kane.”

SEVIGNY: I was still in high school then. I was a senior.

GORDON: You grew up in Darien, Connecticut. Were your parents freaked out about you coming to New York as a teenager?

SEVIGNY: Surprisingly not. Even before I came to New York, I was really into going up North. I was obsessed with “northbound.” It was a thing with me and my girlfriends. We’d go to Amherst or Burlington or New Hampshire. We were really anti going southbound on the I-95.

GORDON: Was that a way of rebelling?

SEVIGNY: I don’t know. I guess we were just into nature and more rural open spaces. That was what the North offered. The South was the city and Jersey and D.C., all of which seemed so condensed. And I had a Volkswagen bus my sophomore and junior years. We’d drive up and sleep inside the bus in Harvard Square or Vermont, which, looking back, is much more dangerous than going into New York City. I said to my mom, “I can’t believe you and Dad let me drive around and sleep in this bus. What the hell were you thinking?” [Gordon laughs] They always said there were more good people than bad in the world. They were kind of trusting, so I don’t think they realized some of the scenarios I got into.

What’s most shocking for me is how well these people know themselves. How can you be so sure? Aren’t you always questioning yourself in some way? Chloë Sevigny

GORDON: I remember hitchhiking to Big Sur when I graduated from high school. I was just 17, camping out, taking mushrooms, hitchhiking. I can’t imagine doing that now. What made you start coming to New York ?

SEVIGNY: Well “northbound” was this whole hippie stage I was going through, where hallucinogens and the Grateful Dead were involved. I dipped into lots of different youth cultures throughout high school.

GORDON: Did your brother get you into that?

SEVIGNY: No, he was anti that. He was three years older and really into hardcore. When I was in eighth grade I followed in his footsteps and listened to whatever he and his girlfriends were into, which was new-wave music and stuff like that. I was friends with all of his friends, so when they graduated, I was sort of left by myself and started hanging out with these hippie girls. Then I got a hippie boyfriend. His name was Juan and he lived in Greenwich. He was Argentinian with really beautiful black hair and green eyes. I just liked the parking lot scene. I liked how freaky the kids were. I did like the Dead, but it wasn’t about the music as much as the surrounding scene. It was the lawless freedom that the kids felt.

GORDON: Right, right.

SEVIGNY: Then, after that, I started coming into the city because I got into the skateboard scene, which my brother had always been a part of. I’d come in on Broadway, then go to Washington Square. I’d walk up and down 8th Street, but I didn’t venture very far. I didn’t know that many areas and I was scared of getting lost. We didn’t have MapQuest then. We didn’t have cell phones. So I stuck to my little areas.

GORDON: I’m always curious how kids get into music that’s not the mainstream. Whenever I see young kids in the front row of our gigs, I think, “What are you doing here?”

SEVIGNY: I had many friends who introduced me to your band, for instance. It was more like friends and mix tapes. That was a big thing. I still have friends who will make me mix CDs and mix tapes, and that’s how I find out about a lot of music.

GORDON: When you were young, did you spend hours dressing up in different outfits? I did. In fact, I wonder when I stopped doing that. Like, at some point you don’t have time anymore.

SEVIGNY: You don’t have time, or you don’t want to stick out as much as you used to. But for me that was the big reason to dress the way I did. It was a way of showing my identity and rebelling. I put a lot of effort into my outfits. I made a lot of stuff and I scoured thrift stores and I would change the tags at the Salvation Army, which I still feel slightly guilty about. [both laugh]

GORDON: That’s really genius. I’ll never forget the Darien thrift store tours that you took Daisy [von Furth, stylist and designer] and me on. That was fun.

SEVIGNY: There used to be so many thrift stores around when I was growing up, and now there’s one left and it’s all disposable brands. It’s really not worth thrifting anymore, which is sad.

GORDON: Do you get sick of talking about fashion?

SEVIGNY: No, but I am worried that some of the choices I’ve made—and because people think of me as this fashion icon—might have affected my film career. That people don’t think of me as a serious actress as much—sometimes that worries me.

GORDON: I think that makes you more of a serious actress. In most movies, you have some influence on what you wear. I think that brings so much more to the role. Do you think you have a lot of leeway, or that the costume designer appreciates your input?

SEVIGNY: It depends on the costume designer and how I get along with her—or him. Sometimes it can be a hindrance more than a help because I get too obsessed with it. And sometimes I think a certain thing is good when something else might look better. It can be hard to collaborate.

GORDON: Because the costume designer has an overview of the whole project, not just your character.

SEVIGNY: Yeah, they have all these tone meetings with colors and shapes. If one girl wants to wear this shape then you have to wear that shape. There are all sorts of compromises. Especially on Big Love when it was the three of us. If she’s in purple, I can’t wear purple.

GORDON: It was great on the show when your character shed her old clothes and came out on her own. It was like, Whoa! That must have been fun.

SEVIGNY: It was fun, but I preferred the old Nicki look. It was a uniform, and whenever you’re in a uniform it’s easy to fall into character. Once the uniform was gone, I was much more lost at sea.

GORDON: Is that because she started dressing in a way closer to what you’d wear?

SEVIGNY: Yes, or closer to how a normal woman dresses, and I felt less immediately in character. It really helps an actor to have a uniform. Even [Robert] De Niro talks about the importance of wardrobe.

now it seems like all these trashy women out there are called Chloë. When I was growing up, nobody had that name. It’s really embarrassing.Chloë Sevigny

GORDON: I remember when you were doing Kids—or right after. I asked you what you wanted to do next and you said you wanted to be a costume designer. I was really surprised, thinking, Doesn’t she want to go for it with acting? But it also gave me a new respect for you. Like, I thought, She’s grounded.

SEVIGNY: Costume designers who manage to make contemporary films interesting are few and far between—like in the way Wes Anderson does it. Or the woman who used to do Gus’s [Van Sant] films. There’s such a texture and a softness and a beauty to the styles. It’s more like styling. I guess that was what appealed to me and what I wanted to do: infuse contemporary movies with a better look. Because often they’re wearing whatever people can buy inexpensive at T.J. Maxx.

GORDON: My friend always goes to Uniqlo.

SEVIGNY: Your costume designer friend?

GORDON: For commercials and stuff like that . . . I want to ask you about the miniseries. You play a transgender woman.

SEVIGNY: Pre-op male-to-female.

GORDON: You must have done intense preparation for that role. How did you go about it?

SEVIGNY: I met with some post-ops and talked with them. They were very open and revealing and honest. Then I just read a lot. I read as many autobiographies as I could. It got a little repetitive. [laughs] I hate saying that.

GORDON: Which autobiographies?

SEVIGNY: April Ashley, Renée Richards, and Jonathan Ames did this compilation called Sexual Metamorphosis, which has chapters from different perspectives, M-to-F, F-to-M. I read a lot about the procedure. What’s most shocking for me is how well these people know themselves. How can you be so sure? Aren’t you always questioning yourself in some way? It’s amazing to be so steadfast, to just say, “I’m going to go through this insane hormonal treatment and then I’m going to have this surgery.”

GORDON: Did you learn anything about men during your research?

SEVIGNY: No, because it wasn’t my character. I was reading about men who knew that they weren’t men. Men that were sure that they were women.

GORDON: But how does that feel—to be a woman? I know this sounds stupid, but men and women have different brains. So how would anyone really know that they felt like they were meant to be a woman? What would that feel like? I don’t know.

SEVIGNY: I’m curious as well. It has a lot to do with the genitalia. From what I’ve read, it’s a feeling that they’re in the wrong body. But that is physical, so maybe the identification is a physical one.

GORDON: Did you have to practice walking differently?

SEVIGNY: I did. We had meetings about movement and I tried to slim down. I tried to lose a lot of weight because I thought it would make me look more masculine if I were gaunt. I had to do a lot of nudity as well, so I figured if I were less curvy, that would help. I was working out a lot because my character does a lot of physical stuff as an assassin. When I got to Manchester, where we were filming, I had rehearsals with the director and writer. I wanted to play the role with this exaggerated feminine behavior that a lot of transgender male-to-females have. It’s like a learned femininity. It’s very girly. But they didn’t want that. I thought, Well, how are you going to know? How can we remind the audience who I am? So on the show there are a lot of quick glimpses of me naked, wearing a prosthetic penis, which was horrifying. But I tried to get some of my own ideas in there. We did all of these different walks. I literally spent hours just sitting and moving my hands and walking to prepare.

GORDON: But you still had your breasts because your character is taking hormones?

SEVIGNY: Yeah. There was talk of body doubles and special effects, but in the end we decided I’d wear a prosthetic. [laughs]

GORDON: What was that like? Getting fitted must have been an ordeal.

SEVIGNY: It was uncomfortable because it requires having people really close around your private area. I mean, I’ve never even been waxed, or done anything unless it’s my doctor or someone. So it’s very strange to have someone you hardly know so close, and it took two hours to put on, gluing, then painting . . . . Then they would have to check it periodically because it’s their handiwork. When the woman who did the special effects came the first day, she showed up with the Terryworld book. That was her color reference for the penis. I was like, “I can’t believe it.”

GORDON: Oh, my god. There’s no escaping Terry [Richardson]!

SEVIGNY: So crazy. But I cried a lot when they put it on. I don’t know why. I felt like a freak. Which is how my character feels, so it was really good for the part and all the rest, but it was tough.

GORDON: How big did they decide to make it? Or did they keep it average size?

SEVIGNY: Well, it’s uncircumcised, because it’s the U.K., and I guess when you’re taking a lot of hormones, it shrinks a bit. So she’s not that well hung. [laughs]

GORDON: That would have been distracting, probably. Anyway, you have a sex scene, right?

SEVIGNY: Yes, there’s a bit of sex. It’s the first time she is really with someone who likes her, rather than just random sex. So it’s more of a love scene than a sex scene. It’s supposed to be very romantic.

GORDON: Someone told me it was an anal sex scene.

SEVIGNY: There is that, and it’s very covered. You don’t see anything.

GORDON: But what did doing that scene feel like psychologically?

SEVIGNY: I remember the director saying, “Remember, you know, it’s very painful.” I don’t want to get explicit. It’s supposed to be a painful thing for her. And it’s pretty intense the way you film these scenes.

GORDON: Did they basically have to close down the set?

SEVIGNY: Oh, yeah, but I was fully dressed. He just lifts up my dress and takes me from behind, so it’s all very technical.

GORDON: So it’s not you actually penetrating somebody with the fake penis. So confusing.

SEVIGNY: I know. Sexuality is confusing these days. But the way they shoot it and how they talk you through it really helps.

GORDON: Was the director a woman?

SEVIGNY: There are two female directors. We did six episodes and you have two directors do two different blocks, so the first three were directed by Hettie Macdonald and the second three by Sheree Folkes. They had very different styles of directing, which was interesting to see. I mean, for Big Love, different directors came in, but they were only there two weeks, so it was really fast. This was much more pronounced. Plus, this was the first time I’d ever starred in anything. I was No. 1 on the call sheet, so it was a lot of responsibility for me. The whole story revolves around my character. Anyway, it was fascinating to watch the two different styles of directing. One was much more emotional.

GORDON: Emotional in the way she relates to the crew?

SEVIGNY: Yeah. It made me wonder, Do you have to be this hard, removed, masculine type of person to command the respect from a crew? Sometimes when a director is more open and vulnerable, people get frazzled.

GORDON: The two women directors that I know, they say they always bulk up and wear more clothes basically to be physically bigger when they’re working.

SEVIGNY: Yeah, but both directors were really interested in the nudity, much more than I thought they’d be. They thought I was covered. They would say to me, “You’re not really showing anything.” And I’d be like, “Yes, I am. These are my real boobs and I have this prosthetic on! Can you imagine how hard that is?”

GORDON: That would be hard. You were filming in Manchester, right?

SEVIGNY: It was very hard being in Manchester. I know you guys must’ve played there so many times.

GORDON: Depressing!

SEVIGNY: It was one of the grimmest places I’d ever been in my entire life, and I was there for so long. I hardly had any visitors. I was so alone.

GORDON: It’s gotten better over time. When we were first going there in the ’80s, it was so depressing. I remember going to places so damp there was mold growing on the walls.

SEVIGNY: It rained every single day I was there.

GORDON: Did you ever get to see Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks? Did that work out?

SEVIGNY: I didn’t. They were playing the day after I was leaving, and I was like, I’ve gotta get the hell out of here. I’m not staying one more night just to hear them, so I left. And I was such a die-hard Pavement fan. But some other bands came through while I was there. I saw Sebadoh. They were funny guys, and the humor they were using about England, it was, like, finally I could identify with someone after being there for so long and having no contact with any Americans.

you don’t want to stick out as much as you used to. But for me that was the big reason to dress the way I did. It was a way of showing my identity and rebelling.Chloë Sevigny

GORDON: How long were you there?

SEVIGNY: Five and a half months. So I saw that Mark Kozelek, he was a singer in Red House Painters.

GORDON: You didn’t run into Mark E. Smith or anything like that?

SEVIGNY: I didn’t. Apparently, he only hung out at this one pub. I was going to try to contact Linder Sterling and I got her e-mail. She lives outside Manchester. I’ve always been a fan of her music, of Ludus, and of her as an artist, but I was too shy. How do you cold-call somebody? “You wanna meet for coffee or something?” I don’t know. [both laugh] I brought Natalie Curtis to see Mark Kozelek, because we had some mutual friends. That was a little easier. She was a nice girl, but we only hung out once. She looked just like Ian. It was pretty scary. In the eyes.

GORDON: Did you see that movie?

SEVIGNY: Control [2007]? Yeah, I saw that. Biopics are hard. It looked beautiful, though.

GORDON: Henry Rollins or someone like that said something about how music isn’t scary anymore. There’s no music now like Suicide or Teenage Jesus.

SEVIGNY: There’s also no sex in music anymore. There’s not this danger.

GORDON: Right. There’s no danger. There’s stylized sex. People like Lady Gaga play around with gender and stuff, but the music is unlistenable. And it’s not scary, not like the way Dinosaur Jr.’s dynamics were so extreme. Or My Bloody Valentine.

SEVIGNY: To me, that’s very sexy music.

GORDON: Beautiful, but like so fucking loud and it has this beautiful scariness. There’s nothing like the noise bands we used to have. Or even the Butthole Surfers’ shows. Those were insane.

SEVIGNY: What about some of the new acts coming up in hip-hop today? Don’t you think that’s taken over?

GORDON: I don’t know. Like Odd Future?

SEVIGNY: People say their shows are crazy.

GORDON: But it’s not scary. I’d be sitting in the car with Coco and she’d be playing it. And it’s just completely offensive—especially about what they are saying about women. Coco’s like, “They’re just kidding!” And I say, “Yeah, but I still have to listen to it.” Anyway, hip-hop isn’t what I mean when I say scary. I mean something scary or powerful [when performed] live. Even death metal is kind of cartoony. It’s pretend-scary. But, of course, none of those bands I’m talking about were mainstream either. . . Let’s talk about anger. Your character on the show is an assassin. Did the issue of a woman’s anger ever come up? It seems like people are never really afraid of a woman’s anger. It’s always men’s anger.

SEVIGNY: Well my character is mostly still a man because she’s pre-op. But I concentrated on what makes someone an angry person or an evil person. She’s a killer. She kills for money, so she’s crossed over into that realm of a bad person. She’s a sociopath. She kills and harms and brings violence into the home without remorse—without batting an eye.

GORDON: But she’s a hired assassin.

SEVIGNY: She is. But she has a family. She’s looking after a bunch of children, so she has the kids in the car, pops out, strangles a guy, and then comes back to the car and says, “You guys wanna go get some fish-and-chips?” [laughs] It’s very businesslike, very cold. I talked with the directors about her growing up in violence. She’s self-abusive. She hits herself . . . She’s one of those. I think she finds comfort in it because she was beaten as a child.

GORDON: And whose kids are they?

SEVIGNY: One kid is her kid. She had a child with a woman before she transitioned.

GORDON: Oh, wow.

SEVIGNY: That actually happens a lot. Even on RuPaul’s Drag Race—they’re not transgender—but a lot of the trannies have kids. And the woman who my character had a child with had other children. So she inherits this whole family. My character has all of these maternal and paternal feelings for her child. It really changes things. She’s been very cut off from the world, isolating herself in this apartment, so she begins to open up.

GORDON: I want to ask you a broad question: When I am playing music, there comes this feeling of just losing your body in space. Almost like you’re upside down and you don’t even know it. Do you get that feeling when you’re acting?

SEVIGNY: I do. You can’t really remember what happened afterwards. The problem comes when you don’t get to have that. You feel like you’ve failed. So I’ve learned that you can’t have these expectations that you’re going to find that state—but I do have it pretty often. You get into a rhythm. I’ve worked with directors who have very little money so we only have two or three takes. In that situation, I know I just need to go for it. Hopefully the performances don’t go over the top. When I have a bigger part, like Nicki on Big Love or Lana in Boys Don’t Cry, a juicier role, it’s easier to get there. When you’re doing little tidbits, you don’t have as much room. But small roles can be comfortable, too. Like my part in Zodiac [2007]. I was terrified of all the actors who were big stars. And I had this tiny role.

GORDON: Well, it’s a thankless role playing someone’s girlfriend.

SEVIGNY: Yeah, but I love David Fincher and I like the story. It’s the only studio picture I’ve ever done.

GORDON: Oh, really? What about American Psycho [2000]?

SEVIGNY: That was indie.

GORDON: Did you hear they want to remake it with Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend playing the lead?

SEVIGNY: Who’s that? Who’s Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend? Are you joking? [laughs]

GORDON: No, I actually read that.

SEVIGNY: I’m not interested in the Kardashians. I just hate the one named Khloé with a K. Ugh. Now it seems like all these trashy women out there are called Chloë. When I was growing up nobody had that name. It’s really embarrassing. [laughs]

GORDON: There’s only one Chloë in my mind.

SEVIGNY: Thank you!

GORDON: I know you’re working on a Lizzie Borden project, but I wonder if there’s a side of you as an actress that you feel hasn’t been utilized. Is there anything you’d like to try?

SEVIGNY: I’d like to try more comedic stuff. More goofball. Something like Bored to Death, but for a girl.

GORDON: Oh, yeah, I could see you doing that.

SEVIGNY: Also, I’ve never played anybody glamorous. I’ve never had a glamorous role. Probably Hit and Miss will be my most glamorous part.

GORDON: Really? You haven’t had a glamorous role?

SEVIGNY: You could count [The] Last Days of Disco [1998], but she wasn’t really glamorous. She was just dressing up in cocktail dresses to go out to discos.

GORDON: What about Demonlover [2002]?

SEVIGNY: She was a secretary. No, it wasn’t really glamorous.

GORDON: So something funny and glamorous.

SEVIGNY: Yeah, I just wanna be in movies more. Obviously, I’ve been working consistently since I was a young person, but I feel like I want to kick-start my film career again and I’m not really sure how to do that. Other than going to L.A. and pounding the pavement and going on meetings and auditioning.

there are a lot of quick glimpses of me naked, wearing a prosthetic penis . . . I literally spent hours just sitting and moving my hands and walking to prepare.Chloë Sevigny

GORDON: But I think you’ve made really excellent choices.

SEVIGNY: There were times in my darkest despair in England when I thought, How are people going to believe that I’m a boy being a girl? But the audience can believe. Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. Sam Worthington as an avatar. Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. Why can’t I be a transgender person?

GORDON: Absolutely. When I first met you, you were certainly playing around with the androgynous look. You had your hair really short.

SEVIGNY: That was very in vogue then—the whole grunge, androgynous thing, and I was really involved in the club-kid scene. I had really short hair, and I looked very, very boyish. I remember when we met in ’92. You called my house and we talked about doing the video and being naked in it.

GORDON: Oh, yeah.

SEVIGNY: That video kind of set the tone for the rest of my career. [laughs] Playing a girl on the street . . . It paralleled a bit of what was to come in my life and even what was happening around us then. The storyline of the video matched what was going on in fashion at the time.

GORDON: You’re right. It was so coincidental that Marc Jacobs’s collection was the grunge collection that year. It was so weird how that all fell into place.

SEVIGNY: Do you have any pieces from that collection? Because we wouldn’t have worn it then.

GORDON: No, I don’t think so. I mean, it wasn’t really grunge at all.

SEVIGNY: No, it wasn’t really grunge. I remember it was all that R. Crumb stuff. It was like beaded R. Crumb and the T-shirt dress style.

GORDON: I just remember some green plaid stuff, and cashmere long underwear.

SEVIGNY: Then [in 1998] I did another Sonic Youth video [“Sunday”] with Macaulay Culkin. I did the costumes on that one. And Harmony [Korine] was the director. Harmony, oh, the vision.

GORDON: I wasn’t in that one with the ballet dancers.

SEVIGNY: And Macaulay Culkin kissing his then-wife or fiancée.

GORDON: This might be a bad question, but everyone thinks of themselves pretty much as being a certain age on the inside. For example, I don’t think of myself as being as old as I am. Obviously identity is hard to place after a certain age and one thing about getting older is that I have to sort of ask myself, Can I still wear this? Or I wonder, When am I going to start dressing my age?

SEVIGNY: I’ve been thinking about that a little bit.

GORDON: So I wonder, do you have some idea about how you would want to dress in your late 50s or in your 60s? Do you look at the older women walking around the streets in New York? I struggle with it.

SEVIGNY: I’m kind of the opposite. I see women in Tompkins Square [Park] with their kids and they’re still in their combat boots and they still have a weird hair color, and they’re wearing funky, cool glasses, and I hope when I’m that age I’ll still be representing and I won’t have gone over to the conservative side.

GORDON: So you don’t look at those people and go, “Crazy women!”

SEVIGNY: But I like crazy women! [laughs] I think you can do it in a subtle way. I feel like they’re the women that have a nice pair of jeans, but they also have the jewelry that you have on or something, where it’s just the right amount of cool. They’re keeping current in some way. You know, I hope I’m not wearing Tory Burch shoes. I already wanted to get these floral Doc Martens. And then I thought, I can’t wear floral Doc Martens! I’m 37! [laughs]

GORDON: But you could. You don’t look 37—or whatever 37 is supposed to look like.

SEVIGNY: I don’t know about that. I guess I’m not thinking about clothes so much as the big things. Like family. The heavy hitters.

Kim Gordon is a cofounding member of Sonic Youth.