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Sarah Paulson: Living Her Fears on Freak Show

Sarah Paulson: Living Her Fears on Freak Show

Photos: FX, Getty

Growing up, Sarah Paulson filled her locker with photos of her then-hero Julia Roberts, but now that she’s come into her own, she’s set her sights on a different goal: fear. No longer looking to emulate an icon, she is now dedicated to pushing her own personal boundaries and playing roles that challenge and terrify her, a perfect fit for her time on American Horror Story. “My career doesn’t quite look like how I once imagined it,” she told Vulture, “but my main thing now is I just want to work on things that scare the shit out of me because I may not be able to do it.”

On the difficulty in trying to coordinate between two characters in one body:

“I freaked out. Before I knew it, I was crying on set,” she described. Luckily, though, showrunner Ryan Murphy took her aside for some encouragement, saying “‘Lady, you’re doing something that no one has ever done before.”

On learning that she would be playing a conjoined twins after her Asylum & Coven characters:

“I was so excited.” Her third role on the show, Paulson has previously played lesbian investigative journalist Lana Winters in Asylum and Supreme Witch Cordelia Foxx in Coven. “My character in Coven wasn’t as much fun as playing Lana." She’s hopeful for this new season, as the show’s setting is, as she describes, “more in line with my personal tastes... It’s about the idea of feeling totally cast aside... Me, I feel that way every day. I feel that way right now! I mean, I’m joking, but only sort of. I’ve never been one of those people who has a very healthy sense of themselves. I suffer from the sense that everything good in my life is about to go away.”

On being misunderstood by others:

“Guys don’t ask me out because they think I like women,” she lamented, adding that women “don’t ask me out because they don’t know what I am... Do I have to write a sign that says EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER?”

On remaining in the public eye:

“This is the first time I’ve ever been on anything with a large audience of young people who are absolutely obsessed,” Sharing an encounter she had with a fan who turned a quick note she had written into a tattoo, she expressed her excitement “That is so insane. And so cool.”

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