Gideon Adlon On Her Drag Queen Idols and Playing a Closeted Teen in the New Movie Blockers

Gideon Adlon
Photography by Brian Higbee

You Know Her From: Her role as teenager Annie Jones, the daughter of two lesbians thrust into the thick of the gay rights movement in Dustin Lance Black’s ABC miniseries When We Rise

What’s Next: Playing smart, closeted Sam in the comedy Blockers (opening April 6), in which she enters a sex pact with her best girlfriends to lose their virginity on prom night. She’ll also star as pregnant 16-year-old Martha opposite Connie Britton and Matthias Schoenaerts in the upcoming drama Mustang, in which she rekindles her relationship with her father, in prison for abusing her mother.

In the Blink of an Eye: “I’ve done almost every musical you could possibly think of, and from that my love for regular theater started,” says the 20-year-old daughter of Better Things director and star Pamela Adlon. “But when you’re on camera it’s not about constantly moving your face—it’s about your eyes. It’s about slight movements, and how you can adjust your voice and eyes to make a feeling come across.”

Parallel Lives: “My character in Blockers has a relationship with her father that really reminded me of mine. Her dad was absent for about three years and then just randomly pops back up and expects everything to be OK. I’ve had a lot of the same issues with my father. Sam forgives her father and loves him, because they were best friends before he left. There are things I don’t think I’ll be able to forgive my dad for, but I do love him, and we always find a way to forget and move forward and have fun together.”

Thank You, Uncle Sherry: “Times have really changed, and I feel like there’s way more of a platform to be who you are,” says Adlon, who counts her “guncles”—her mom’s gay best friends, including drag queen Sherry Vine—among her role models. “So many people are doing drag now—young people. They have Instagram accounts for their drag personas, whereas my mom’s friends had to stay positive while growing up in small farm towns and keep their drag a secret from their families.”

On the Lost Art of Comedy: “Old Hollywood movies had a lot more class,” says the Los Angeles native, who cites Ann-Margret, Bette Davis, and Marlene Dietrich as inspirations. “Nowadays we don’t really hide anything. There’s no refinement. If you make a comedy, it’s raunchy, dirty, and sexy. Back in the day, a comedy was, you know, funny, but it still had class. And that’s something we’ve definitely lost. Old Hollywood is my shit.”

Photography: Brian Higbee 

Styling: Alison Brooks

Hair: Preston Wada/Opus Beauty

Makeup: Melissa Murdick/Opus Beauty

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