IN CONVERSATION WITH EMILY HAMPSHIRE
THE OUTNET’S guest presenter, broadcaster Harriet Rose, got to speak with actor and star of Schitt’s Creek Emily Hampshire. In case you missed their live conversation about what it was like to be a part of such a ground-breaking show, falling in love and what clothes she chooses to feel powerful — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Harriet: Emily Hampshire, I am honored to have you on, happy Pride Month! You are a mega-icon, SAG-award winner, so many accolades to your name. Obviously Schitt’s Creek was ground-breaking in so many ways, winning nine Emmy awards. Did you know when you were making it that it was gonna really go, essentially, viral?
Emily: No, I think we thought maybe at the beginning it would have been a little bigger because we signed onto a show with Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy and we had expectations for it! And then its first season aired and kind of, you know, medium attention and then we finished, and we ended the show before anybody gave a shit about Schitt’s Creek. So, it was kind of perfect and I keep thinking very Schitt’s Creekian for it to happen like that. And then it went on Netflix and kind of had this real second wave over Covid and people were stuck at home. Some people with their families, some people without their families and you kind of get either a chosen family in the Roses or an escapism from your family and I just think it was the perfect time for that show.
Harriet: I feel like, for me as a queer person, it just felt so seminal and important. And I think we all know the iconic line ‘I like the wine, not the label.’ It’s so simple, but it blew my mind. How did that feel to be part of something, in terms of the queer community, that was so huge and has broken so many boundaries.
Emily: I don’t think we knew it at the time when we were doing it, but it’s so special. To be on a show that you feel does actually affect people and extra-specially when it’s affected you in that same way. The show didn’t stop at doing good for the audience, I think it did good for all of us. The show changed my life, it changed all of our lives. Also, in a way that it’s really hard to go onto something that does less in the world or that doesn’t put out as much goodness.
Harriet: You mentioned about families watching it together. I mean, the idea of a family that might not fully understand their child’s queerness and then watching this show…
Emily: Right!? And for that kid to feel like they can’t come out to their parents and then they see the episode with Patrick and David, it’s so special. And what I love that Dan did from the beginning, so brilliant, he had two mandates. One was the people of Schitt’s Creek and the town will never be the butt of a joke and that there would never be any homophobia in Schitt’s Creek, it just didn’t exist there. It’s such a brilliant concept because I would have thought that if you want to fight against prejudice, you would show people being prejudice. But no, you just show what it could be like and how well it works like that, and you really don’t miss bigotry and any kind of homophobia. You realize that it’s so nice when people just love each other.
Harriet: We still have so much more work to do. You feel like you’ve come so far but actually, there’s a lot more queer stories to be told, there are a lot more LQBTQIA stories and we need more of those people behind the camera, too.
Emily: Well, you get more interesting story content, and I think the world has realized this now, but if you only have white men of a certain age writing the stories we’re telling the world, that’s the perspective you’re gonna get. It’s not necessarily that they’re narrowminded, it’s just their point of view. You need a whole, diverse point of view. I think the world just keeps getting better in that way though.
Harriet: And I feel like you do a lot of advocacy on your own social channels, you do a lot for the trans community, you also talk about your own pansexuality, which is really important. Is it something that is really important to you to use your social channels and yourself to stand up for what you believe in and promote the right things in terms of our community?
Emily: I don’t feel like it’s advocacy necessarily as much as these are my friends. My best friend is trans and I have so many friends who are LGBTQ+ and it’s normal to me. So, if you’re gonna come on my Instagram, this is my world. During the first quarantine, I did a little charity talk show and I had Carson Kressley on. He was saying that there’s always somebody who paves the way for you to make your path easier. That is the power of coming out and being your most authentic self and when that happens, you become human. It’s very hard to be intolerant, close up. I think if there is advocacy, it’s coming from a place of human-to-human. And I don’t think you can go back to kind of not speaking about injustice when you’ve done a show like Schitt’s Creek.
Harriet: I think the main thing I’m taking from what you’re saying is tell queer stories, tell LGBTQ+ stories, let’s get them out there. A whole range of stories so we can get a full spectrum of our beautiful community.
Emily: I would love the world to be a place where you didn’t have to do that. Like, you know when you say I’m open about my pansexuality, I don’t love even having to label myself as pansexual. I fall in love with who I fall in love with, if I’m into you, I’m into you, that’s my sexuality. But I kind of hate having to label it because, you know, people don’t come and go ‘I’m straight!’ One day there will be a world where we don’t even have to do that, but right now we do.
Harriet: You had said your fashion is similar to Stevie’s but when you are wanting to wear an outfit that makes you feel powerful, because the thing about THE OUTNET is, they have so many absolute PIECES. So, is there a look that when you wear it, you’re like ‘I am a bad bitch’?
Emily: Yeah, it’s a tux, a suit. And it was actually David and Patrick’s wedding when I got to wear that little tux and I took that home because we all got to take 1 outfit home. And I was like ‘you think I’m gonna take my plaids when Annie’s getting like some little Chloé number?’ So, I got a really great suit. That changed my life, actually. Wearing suits instead of what I thought I was supposed to wear on the red carpet, and I can see it in the way I stand and feeling confident.
Harriet: Thank you so much for being on In Conversation with THE OUTNET and celebrating Pride Month with me!
Emily: Thank you! Bye, thank you!