“Big Lesbian Energy”: Hard at Work With Jeremy O. Harris

Jeremy O. Harris

Jeremy O. Harris wears Jacket, Sweater, Pants, Necklace, and B57 Sneaker Dior Men.

Before he jets off to London for Slave Play’s West End run, the playwright and Interview consigliere Jeremy O. Harris pops by the office for a quick check-in with his bestie turned boss, Mel Ottenberg.



MEL OTTENBERG: Okay, we’re at the office and you’re getting in glam for this shoot.

JEREMY O. HARRIS: I was supposed to get up early this morning and do my hair and go get my nails taken out. The hair’s from Emily in Paris.


HARRIS: I went to bed at 9 p.m., and I woke up 25 minutes ago.


HARRIS: Because I was so wrecked from Mexico City. So I don’t know what to do with the hair.

OTTENBERG: Now I’m like, “Let’s get rid of it because this is for Emily in Paris.”

HARRIS: By the way, I ran into Charlie the other day.

OTTENBERG: Charlie, my assistant.

HARRIS: Mm-hmm, at the gay club.


HARRIS: Mm-hmm.

OTTENBERG: That’s cute.

HARRIS: Yeah. Oh my god, the funniest thing happened—I went to Soho House and everyone’s like, “You’re coming to Madonna’s party?” I’m like, “Oh totally, I’ll be there.” I show up, name’s not on the list. It’s Mexico City; I can’t be like, “Look at this picture of me with Madonna. I literally know her.” Then I texted Sara, her manager, and I was like, “Hey Sara, I’m not on the list.” She’s like, “Oh, you’re still in town? You should text M.” I was like, okay, she’s literally showing up to the party late, I doubt she’s going to be on her phone.

OTTENBERG: Like, “Madonna might not text me back, Sara.”

HARRIS: [Laughs] Yeah, so I text her, no response. So everyone’s like, “If Jeremy’s not on the list—”

OTTENBERG: There might be a reason.

HARRIS: Exactly.

OTTENBERG: Fallen out of favor.

HARRIS: Exactly. So then I ran into Damon, the choreographer. And he was like, “Why are you over here, why aren’t you at the party?” I was like, “I’m not on the list, but it’s fine. I’m in Mexico City, just drinking with my friends.” He was like, “No worries, I’m going to get you on the list.” Then I felt embarrassed because the party was only for two hours.

OTTENBERG: It’s as if you’d been screaming outside the party, like, “Do you know who I am?”

HARRIS: [Laughs] I don’t want that energy.

OTTENBERG: Yeah, no one does.

HARRIS: So then I hid with my friends in this other part of Soho House. One of my friends had a wristband to get in. I was like, “You don’t even know her, how did you get a wristband?” I think I may have fucked up. I told her I saw Debi Mazar and maybe that put her in a weird mood.

OTTENBERG: But she’s friends with Debi Mazar.

HARRIS: I thought so, too. So then we’re leaving and all of a sudden Madonna is passing by. I’m like, “Hey mama,” and she turns and she’s like, “Jeremy! Someone said you were here. Why won’t you come to my party?” I was like, “You didn’t text me back.” [Laughs] She said, “Just come in without a wristband.” Then all of the Mexicans I was with were basically vomiting in their mouths. They’re like, “What is going on?”

OTTENBERG: Like, “Who are you that she is talking to you?”

Jeremy O. Harris

Jacket, Shorts, Sunglasses, Hit The Road Messenger Bag in Dior Gravity Leather, Weekender 40 Bag in Dior Gravity Leather, Socks, and Shoes Dior Men.

HARRIS: She, like, came around and hugged me. It was very fun.

OTTENBERG: Wait so tell me what’s happening with Slave Play. When does it come out?

HARRIS: July 10 is opening night. Just thinking about my hair again, we can have some hair journey in the shoot as well, if we want to. It can be halfway done.

OTTENBERG: Right, right, right. We could literally do, like, “He’s getting his hair—”


OTTENBERG: I love that. How are we pulling these nails off? Isn’t there a way that they come off?

HARRIS: Yeah, we need acetone.

OTTENBERG: You want someone to go get it for you? I feel like Canal Street is an acceptable place to get acetone.

HARRIS: Yeah. Wait Mel, you didn’t respond to my thing about Rihanna not drinking the champagne.

OTTENBERG: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

HARRIS: I sent the video to you. Everyone was like, “So she’s pregnant again.” She, like, pretends to drink champagne and sits it down.

OTTENBERG: That means she’s pregnant?

HARRIS: [Laughs] It’s almost, like, get A$AP off of her.

OTTENBERG: Well, that would be good news. Did you read her interview? She was like, “I’m not getting the titties done twice. I got one more baby at least.”

HARRIS: She wants a girl. And she’s not going to do it the way she could just do it, which is like—

OTTENBERG: The Kim way. You have two babies and then you do in vitro?

HARRIS: Yeah, she could just fertilize some eggs and then go, like, “Oh that’s the girl, great put that one in.” But I think she’s too Caribbean for that.

OTTENBERG: I’m going to do some stuff with her.

HARRIS: Oh nice, so you guys are back—wait, would you have a baby?

OTTENBERG: Absolutely not.

HARRIS: Why not?

OTTENBERG: It’s, like, so weird and expensive and poops everywhere. Then it, like, hates you. Then you have to deal with it forever. It seems insane.

HARRIS: [Laughs] You wouldn’t want some really major little girl running around that you could dress up? Think about this, it’s your best styling project for 18 years.

OTTENBERG: No, no, no. I could name the baby, though. That would be sick.

HARRIS: We could do cool names. I’m sending my niece to boarding school, I’m making her interesting. It’s really fun to see how you can affect a child.

OTTENBERG: By putting interesting ideas in their brains.

HARRIS: Yeah. And knowing that they will be mean to you sometimes. Like, whatever. Like, you’re dumb. You’re mad at me because you literally have so little power and I have things.

Jeremy O. Harris

Jacket, Shirt, Shorts, Ring, Weekender 40 in Dior Gravity Leather, Socks, and Shoes Dior Men.


HARRIS: I can leave. That’s what I tell my mom because my mom is with the kids a lot. She’s always like, “She really made me upset.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but you can drive, she can’t. Just leave. Have fun being a bitch at home.” Wait, I need you to see Challengers.

OTTENBERG: I have to go see it.

HARRIS: I’m going to go see it tomorrow.

OTTENBERG: I can’t. I have a fucking—

HARRIS: Matinee.

OTTENBERG: I might be able to go with you to the matinee.

HARRIS: The IMAX matinee.

OTTENBERG: I really need to go see it. As a man of culture, that’s my job. I’m like, I watched two and a half episodes of Baby Reindeer, done. I got it. I don’t really want to finish watching it. I’m not into television right now Jeremy—

HARRIS: That show is—

OTTENBERG: I’m into Criterion Collection. Because I’m like, how is Baby Reindeer going to inspire me? It’s good to know who the casting is, who you would have in the magazine, but I’m very into Criterion. I just watched the 1950 Noir collection—

HARRIS: I need to watch it.

OTTENBERG: The 1950 Noir thing is fucking incredible. Every movie that I’ve watched is incredible. Then starting tomorrow, May 1, they have movies by Shirley MacLaine and it seems like everything is in there. Wait, do you have any TV shows you want to plug since I’m saying it’s not about TV shows?

HARRIS: The only TV I like is weird international TV. I love FX’s Shogun. Any Japanese TV shows are good. Any Korean TV shows are going to be good. I like anything in Scandinavia, that area. And Los Javis from Spain has a new TV show.

OTTENBERG: Has it come out?

HARRIS: No, but I have a link. It’s called La Mesías.

OTTENBERG: I would like to see it. Actually, have you seen Riley Keough’s new show?

HARRIS: I didn’t.

OTTENBERG: It’s based on my late friend Rebecca Godfrey’s book. I read it when it came out and it feels like 18 years ago. It’s, like, girls murdering girls.

HARRIS: Lily [Gladstone] and Riley look amazing in it.


HARRIS: It also gives big lesbian energy.

OTTENBERG: It’s called Under the Bridge, right?

HARRIS: Yeah, something like that.

OTTENBERG: Let’s talk about Slave Play.

HARRIS: I’m really excited for this to be—

OTTENBERG: Wait, we need to do the nails. Hey, Chloe?


OTTENBERG: Can you get the shit to get his gels off?

SHAAR: What?

OTTENBERG: This nail shit.

HARRIS: We need to get acetone.

SHAAR: Is it hard gel though?

HARRIS: Yeah, I guess so.

SHAAR: You might need more than acetone, because usually they use the tool to—

LAMESHA MOSLEY: Oh, a drill.

SHAAR: What do you want to put over them?

HARRIS: Nothing.

SHAAR: You just want them to be bare?

OTTENBERG: Yeah. Man nails.

HARRIS: Straights paint their nails though.

Jeremy O. Harris

Shirt, Shorts, Hat, Weekender 40 in Dior Gravity Leather, Socks, and Shoes Dior Men.

SHAAR: Straights do paint their nails.

HARRIS: The straighter you are, the gayer your shit is. [Laughs]

OTTENBERG: Now you’re going to buzz your face?

HARRIS: Yeah, then we’re going to put a mask on. Because I look better buzzed.

OTTENBERG: Yeah, it’s fine. Wait, what are we saying about Slave Play? It comes out on July 19 in London?

HARRIS: July 10.

OTTENBERG: Are you still the most-hated Black man in England?

HARRIS: Probably. I got a nasty email from a very famous Black writer there about how she didn’t think that Black Out should exist. I think that’s funny. I wonder if she still feels the same because a month later a bunch of Black people signed an open letter saying that Black Out should exist for Romeo and Juliet because they realize their country was fucking racist because everyone attacked this young beautiful Black girl [Francesca Amewudah-Rivers] for daring to be in a play opposite Tom Holland as his love interest.

OTTENBERG: Right. England was super mad that she—

HARRIS: Was cast as that character. It’s so weird. Wait, do you think you can just do this for me really quick—

MOSLEY: You want me to help you?

HARRIS: Yeah, do we have to do it in the bathroom or can we do it over here?

OTTENBERG: Do it in the bathroom.

HARRIS: Okay. I’ll take it in the bathroom. [Recording paused]

OTTENBERG: I love this leather Dior jacket. Wait, I just had the most amazing celeb sighting. Do you guys want to hear what happened?

HARRIS: What happened?

OTTENBERG: So I get on the train at 8th Street and then in front of me is this woman, she was wearing the sickest outfit. Let me describe it.

HARRIS: Was it Meg Ryan?

OTTENBERG: No, I’m going to describe her and maybe you guys can figure out who it is. So she’s 45.


OTTENBERG: She has no makeup on.


OTTENBERG: An interestingly chic lack of fillers, and then very long brown hair that’s really messy in a truly cool heroin-chic kind of way, and then she’s wearing a completely sheer black skirt with panties, no underlayer.


OTTENBERG: And a really beautiful butter yellow sweater and a fake leather peacoat, really chic, and she’s shivering and shaking.

KRISTEN: Tell me it’s not Parker Posey?

OTTENBERG: It wasn’t. It was someone with A-list name recognition.

HARRIS: Catherine Keener?

OTTENBERG: She’s famously divorced.

KRISTEN: Nicole Kidman?

OTTENBERG: No, I mean she’s famously divorced as opposed to just being famous. That’s my big hint.

KRISTEN: Is it the ex of [redacted]?


KRISTEN: Oh, you’re kidding.

HARRIS: She always looks great.

OTTENBERG: And she had a really skinny, perfect [redacted].

HARRIS: She always looks good. She’s always at McNally Jackson.

OTTENBERG: She looked very cool.

HARRIS: I love her.

OTTENBERG: Oh, wow, I got to see it. Wait, I’m going to come down with you guys. You’re going to look at the ties, right?

NICHOLSON BAIRD: Do you want to look at them now? Or do you want—

OTTENBERG: I’ll look at it now. All those except for one I said no to. Okay. It’s going to look cool. 

Jacket, Sweater, Pants, Necklace, and B57 Sneaker Dior Men.


Hair: Lamesha Mosley. 

Makeup: Eunice Kristen at Edma Agency. 

Photography Assistant: John Law. 

Fashion Assistant: Alyssa Chandelle. 

Nail Assistant: Chloe Shaar. 

Production Assistants: Juliette Jeffers and Gia Cronin. 

Post-Production: Two Three Two.