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Interview with Rebecca Creskoff

Lenore and Tanya in living room

HBO

What is it about Lenore that makes her a good pimp?

Rebecca

She's fearless.  She's a saleswoman and she has to broach a difficult topic with people in a delicate way without scaring them off. And she also has to be coy and read people very well so she can draw them in and hook them. She is quite smart and conniving and manipulative - like any good manager in Hollywood. Like my manager.

HBO

How is she different from Tanya?

Rebecca

Tanya has no guile. All Lenore is, is guile. Tanya tells the truth and is too direct and doesn't know the art of seduction and there's seduction involved in what the pimp has to do as well as what the ho has to do.

HBO

Without being a spoiler, Lenore says something about her personal life in episode two that we didn't know in season one. Is it true?

Rebecca

Lenore says a lot of things that we don't know whether it's true - or she's saying it to get what she wants. That's what's fun about Lenore. Anything is possible:  Is she a thief, is she totally legitimate? Is she a good person? A bad person? Wounded? Does she have no feelings?  The writers leave that open for interpretation.

HBO

Lenore has an interesting arc this season. There are a lot of layers to her manipulation.

Rebecca

I always assume when I'm playing a scene that there is very high personal investment for her. She's never just toying with the mouse because she doesn't give a shit. It's always coming from a place of her own issues of betrayal, or trust, or greed or whatever her mysterious past is. It always feels like there's a big emotional center to it - even though I'm not totally sure what it is [Laughs].  I think they're really good at writing her. From the first scene I ever did I found if I just play the scene and say the words, Lenore just trotted out as a fully formed character that I didn't have to try very hard to create. At the same time, she is probably the most arch character I've ever played, and the most unlike-me character I've ever played. I have almost nothing in common with her.

HBO

How are you different from Lenore?

Rebecca

She's fearless; I'm totally a scared person.  My sister delights in how different I am from Lenore - friends too. I'm a people pleaser which is totally opposite of Lenore. I worry about things all the time and I don't think she worries about anything. She just does what she does and says the truth and if it doesn't work for you:  F**k off. I'm the opposite:  I tie myself up in knots about other people's feelings and making things work, and being nice. I'm very shy, which is weird. I'm not one to prance around naked. I'll keep the towel on all the way to the edge of the ocean and then throw it back quickly and run into the water - with a bathing suit on.

HBO

What's your favorite thing about playing Lenore?

Rebecca

There is fun in being totally unapologetic,  owning my power as a woman. For instance, I could never walk up and speak to Thomas the way Lenore walks up and speaks to Ray. I would be totally intimidated  by him - as a quiet, brooding, incredibly handsome man. So it's fun to be so comfortable in any situation.

HBO

What is your most pimp-like quality?

Rebecca

I think I am a very good people reader. And Lenore says to Jessica in the first season that she reads people for a living. She makes money off of people in whatever way she can because she can read them well.  And I can't believe I'm saying this, but I feel like maybe I do the same thing! (laughs) I know how to get along with a lot of different people regardless of how different they are from me, and I can read how people want me to be for them.  And I think it's a good pimp quality. But Charlie tells Tanya you have to control your hos, have them on a tight leash. And I'm not good at that part of it. That's where I veer off from Lenore.

THINK FAST:

 

Best Job: Dog groomer. Oh wait - those animal police, who rescue animals on Animal Planet! What are they called?

Worst Job: Giving colonics.

The Key To Success Is: Fake it til you make it. Visualize your success. See life as you want to see it. Live the life you've imagined.  I'm gonna say it 12 different ways.

No One Is Better Than Me at: Making my mother laugh.

Favorite Artist: Picasso. Because he sees the world all out of whack but it all makes sense.

Lenore Bernard

played by Rebecca Creskoff