I just went to a showing of The L Word: Generation Q’s debut episode at Henrietta Hudson, a famous lesbian venue in New York City that usually draws a low-key crowd (at least compared to Cubbyhole, 10 blocks north). There was silence in the room as soon as the lights went out and the programme began, but that was before Gigi Ghorbani (Sepideh Moafi) appeared on screen and startled Nat and Alice, Nat’s new girlfriend, in the school drop-off line. I realised Generation Q had found its Shane when all of a sudden everyone was shouting as if Norm had just arrived and this were the bar from Cheers. Although Gigi and Shane are utterly dissimilar from one another, their responses to celesbian power seem to be identical.
Vogue: I have to admit that Gigi has had an absolutely phenomenal response from the public. How does it feel to portray such a well-liked new character?
Sepideh Moafi chuckles. The best. It’s always wonderful to hear that your work is appreciated, but with a character like this, it’s really nice. It feels great to validate others because I believe we have been longing for this representation.
Since the second season of the show began airing in early August, have a lot of people been getting in touch with you?
Yes, most certainly. The reception last year kind of caught me off guard because I had no idea. Even though I was a major fan of the first season of the programme, I just didn’t anticipate such a positive response to Gigi and the show’s diversity. This time, Gigi’s presence, her vitality, and the sort of…fire and grit she provides are greatly appreciated.
Okay, no need to worry about spoilers, but I must ask you about Gigi and Bette. Describe your experience working with Jennifer Beals.
She was incredible. She is a great collaborator and incredibly modest. It was incredibly simple to work with her because we get along so well both on and off camera. We get along well as people, and that is always helpful. Process is really important to me because I began out in opera and moved on to theatre. Jennifer and I both have this passion for the labour that goes into filming. Simply put, it felt highly energising, fun, and secure.
Wow, I had no idea you had a background in opera! You still sing, right?
I do! While filming the second season of The Deuce a few years ago, I performed an off-Broadway musical, but that was the last thing I ever got to do professionally. Although there are fewer prospects in that field, I miss it very much and it will always be a part of my artistic identity.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the kind of “throuple” that Gigi, Nat, and Alice have exhibited on television before, to briefly flash back to last season. How was it to try to put that sensation into words?
Love, in my opinion, is a rather comprehensive and encompassing concept. We make generalisations about what love should entail, and most frequently, these generalisations apply to identities, sexual orientations, and other factors, but they can also be enlarged. I personally don’t enjoy polyamory, but I know plenty of others who do, and that doesn’t make their relationship right or wrong or their understanding of love any better or worse.What do you do when you truly love two people? was a great on-screen puzzle for me to solve. I think a lot of people reacted to it, perhaps in part because they have or want to be in that circumstance but are afraid to admit it because it is stigmatised.
When you initially watched the original L Word, which character did you most relate with?
Although I definitely empathise with her go-get-’em attitude, I think Bette was the character with whom I most associated. This is likely because she is a woman of colour and is so authentically herself in every manner. It’s motivating. I’ve been asked before if I identify with certain traits of every character, and I guess I do. That, in my opinion, is what makes the show so popular. Whether we want to admit it or not, each of us has a little bit of all these traits.