Michelle Clunie has been a fan favorite in the LGBT community since her days on Queer As Folk playing one half of the first really visible lesbian super-couple on television ( opposite Thea Gill ) . Now, Michelle is promoting two outstanding new projects and hasn't forgotten to throw her LGBT fans and friends in the bus with her for the ride.
Fresh off the Obama campaign trail and National Equality March event in Washington, D.C., Michelle took some time out of her day to chat with me about ABC's Make It or Break It and her upcoming role as Nicole Pacent's mother in Queens of the World.
Sarah Toce: Hi, Michelle! You are one busy lady! Where is your home base right now?
Michelle Clunie: I go back and forth between Los Angeles and New York, but right now I am in L.A. shooting Make It or Break It. It's beautiful and sunnyI think you may even be able to hear the birds! It's nice to be in the warm weather for the winter!
ST: Can you tell us a little bit about Make It or Break It?
MC: It's based on a group of teenagers who are gymnasts shooting for the Olympics. They are just a great group of girls on and off screen. On screen, I'm not sure if they are so nice, actually! They can really be nasty to each other, but I think that that is the charm of the show. These girls are just teenage girls going after something and taking each other's boyfriends. It's delicious stuff! They are actually all beautiful and bubbly and it's just fun stuff.
ST: Sounds like it would be fun to be on the set and watch the scenes play out.
MC: You get sucked into it! I was watching a scene they were shooting and there's a girl who needs to get back on the bars and trust herself again after a very bad fall. I was in the bleachers with all of the background artists and as soon as she got back on the bars, everyone started applauding. They did like three or four takes of it and everyone was always right there. Every time, everyone was right there and, after the director yelled "cut" they would start applauding because they were that hooked into the scene and really believed what the actress was doing.
ST: When can we catch Make It or Break it?
MC: June 28, 2010, is when the next season starts and it'll be on Monday nights at 10/9 Central. We have Jessica Walters on as a guest star and the show is really catching fire. It's really amazing! What I like about this show is that they are all on the same team and are fighting against each other at the same time as they are fighting for each other. It's about the struggle of wanting to be number one while at the same time wanting to be great as a team.
ST: Switching gears a little bit, you were recently involved with the National Equality March on Washington. Can you tell us why you felt it was important to be involved?
MC: I have to tell you, my friend Robin came up to me and asked if I would throw a fundraiser for the National Equality March on Washington and of course I wanted to do it! It was interesting because going into the March, there were people there speaking who felt as though Obama hadn't been doing enough for the LGBT community. Look, I understand. I get that there is a case and an argument for that, definitely. On the other hand, he's also done more than any other President and he's also the most sympathetic. I think the man is under so much pressure that I have a hard time saying anything against him. I doI love Obama. So, my thought in going there was that I was going to speak and say that we need to do is to hold rallies and make sure that we elect the right Congressmen who will give the support Obama needs to pass the legislation we all need. In doing that, we will be working with him. I think that at the end of the day, he does want equality. I just think that right now it's hard. Hopefully by the end of his first term, we will have equality. There will be enough pieces of legislation to warrant the case that the next natural progression is equality. I think you need all parts to make a movement. You need the agitator. You know, you look at the African American movement, we had all of these people together to create a movement. I think that this movement is no different in that respect. As much as I believe in taking to the street and rallying, I also have a hard time going against our President, especially after originally campaigning for Hillary and coming around to Obama. Thank God we have him in the White House. It was one of the best and most amazing days of my life. I was so happy and thankful to be a part of it.
ST: What did you think about the media coverage of the March?
MC: It got some coverage, but I think it could've gotten more coverage. Look, I was in the New York Gay Pride Parade on a Showtime float for The L Word and I know that there were more than the 200,000 people there that was reported in the media. I know I saw more than a million people in the streets. The press is always trying to downplay the community to a certain extent. You really got me going now, Sarah! I can get on a real roll. Homophobia exists to a certain degree in everyone and people who think they are not homophobic are homophobic, too. Look, when you have Pride Parades with a million people and only 200,000 people are counted and when you throw a March on Washington at the last-minute and a quarter of a million show up and aren't counted, it's crazy. Sarah Palin's Tea Party had like 3,000 people show up and they are getting more press coverage than we are getting and it just shows a media that is just "off" to a certain extent.
ST: Yes, I completely understand. I was involved in the March Across the Brooklyn Bridge for Equality and there were well over 10,000 people. The press reported that there were 2,000 people. That is why I am doing what I am doingone of the reasons. The gay and lesbian community needs a voice and I'm happy to be there.
MC: Yeah, right on. See, the community's not looking for special preference, just an accurate representation.
ST: Your character in Make It or Break It is very patriotic.
MC: Yes, she is very patriotic and some people see that as a bad thing. They think of patriotism in a stereotypical way with a negative connotation. I see patriotism as a real pride and love of the country and I've felt that way since I was a little girl. It's something that I take very seriously. I think we live in a great country but it will only be as great as we the people make it to be. We need to make sure that we elect the right people and make the laws that include everybody and support the right issues. I love that my character is patriotic.
ST: You are also working on a Mel Robertson film called Queens of the World, right?
MC: Yeah! I am playing Nicole Pacent's mother. Basically, her character comes out and I am very supportive and there for her regardless. I read the script and fell in love with it. Nicole said that she was on the street when I was in the New York Gay Pride Parade on the Showtime float when we were in the second season of Queer As Folk. She was screaming and freaking out. She said that I looked right at her and blew her a big kiss. Now I am playing her mother on-screen! It's just weird! I think it's great that we already have this emotional connection and history. She's so lovely and I'm really excited. I can't wait.
ST: What a great story! Everything happens for a reason. That is what I believe.
MC: Yeah, it's so nice! The film is getting a lot of support and the script is wonderful. It's a very neat project.