Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.
Leslie Grossman knows how to do quirky. From her start in the late 90’s on the hit show Popular, to the dark character on the FX runaway success American Horror Story: Cult, Grossman has the intensity down to a science and still adds a dash of humor along the way. After honing her skills in numerous roles on TV, ranging from Nip/Tuck to 2 Broke Girls, Grossman was ready for the challenge of playing an eerily sweet and deranged character on AHS. The Overhead Compartment caught up with the talented Grossman to gather some insight into the unusual world she inhabits.
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.
The Overhead Compartment with Leslie Grossman starts now…..
OC: You play quite a strange, dark character on AHS:Cult. How did you prepare for the role?
LG: I read a lot about the Manson girls and biographies about cult leaders to see how they manipulated seemingly average normal people into doing horrific unspeakable things. I also decided to turn myself over to the process and not try to overthink it too much which is a real challenge for a type A person like myself. The character of Meadow was the most unlike me of any part I have ever played. I had to challenge myself in ways I haven’t before, which ended up being incredibly rewarding.
OC: What is the biggest challenge of the horror genre?
LG: The biggest challenge for me personally is to keep my performance grounded while acknowledging the darkly comedic moments. I had such a great time shooting this show that at times I worried it seemed like I was having too much fun!
OC: How do people react when they see you on the street?
LG: The show is still airing so mostly people beg me to tell them what’s going to happen. Which of course I do not!
OC: You also played outrageously mean Mary Cherry in Popular- how was that performance different?
LC: In playing Mary Cherry, I had zero concerns about making her real or grounded. The more insane she was the better, in my opinion. It was incredibly freeing to just go for it and be as outrageous and over the top as I could possibly be. She also thought she was the most gorgeous incredible person on the planet, which Meadow clearly did not. It was fun to get to play someone who had complete self-confidence no matter how misguided and incorrect she was.
OC: What is the best part of playing a character so mean?
LG: Getting to say horrible things to people’s faces with zero consequences.
OC: What explains Ryan Murphy’s enormous success?
LG: Incredible outrageous other-worldly talent combined with an unbelievable work ethic. Those two things happening simultaneously are incredibly rare. When they come together it is unstoppable magic.
OC: What is a typical day like when you are working?
LG: Usually a 5:30am call time which means waking up an hour or earlier before depending on where we are shooting. Make a latte in my Nespresso machine for the drive. Get to work and go through hair and makeup and pray they can cover my under eye bags. Eat too much candy at craft service. Usually I nap in my trailer during lunch after I inhale some lunch. Wrap after 12 or 14 hours, go home, wipe off my makeup and fall into bed.
OC: What is a typical day like when you’re not working?
LG: When I’m not working I am in full mom/wife mode. Get my daughter up at 6:45am, make her snack lunch and breakfast (which I should do the night before but I always forget). My husband drives her to school most mornings. After they leave I walk the dogs, take a shower, have coffee and catch up on emails and read the news. My whole family lives in L.A. so we see each other all the time. Sometimes I meet a friend for lunch or have a meeting and then it’s time to pick my daughter up from school. The afternoons and evenings are usually homework, dinner prep, and trying to finish my to do list of stuff that never ever gets done. Sometimes my husband and I try to sneak away for a dinner out but we don’t do it as much as we should. I have a million things I want to do but the day always seems to get away from me.
OC: As a mom how do you balance work-life with home-life.
LG: As any working mom will tell you it’s not easy, and a lot of the time I feel like I am letting everyone down. When I am working the hours can be very long, so thank god for FaceTime so I can see my kid. But it’s not a typical job. I can have periods off where I get to full time mom it every day for weeks, so that makes up for the really hard weeks where I feel like I haven’t seen her enough. I am lucky to have an awesome husband who is totally supportive of my work and has my back. I am also lucky to have my family live in L.A. so they can help cover me as well. I think as women we try to be all things to all people and that’s just not possible. I have to remind myself that moms are allowed to have dreams they want to pursue also!
OC: Favorite vacation spot?
LG: I have been lucky enough that I have been able to travel a lot. It is a very hard thing for me to answer because it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. As basic and uninspired as this answer seems, it’s Hawaii. I have been to the Big Island at least 30 times and I never ever tire of it. The Four Seasons Hualalai is a fantastic destination to go to as a couple or with the entire family. There is something about the water and the air that is so restorative for me. As soon as I step off the plane I feel 50% less stressed.
OC: What’s the first thing you do when arriving in a hotel room?
LG: This is going to sound paranoid, but I immediately wipe down all surfaces I am going to be touching with an anti-bacterial wipe. I take the plastic bag that is in the ice bucket and wrap the tv remote with it. They never clean those things. When I was a kid and traveled with my grandparents, my grandmother would have me and my brother wait in the hall while she attacked the hotel room with Lysol. She gave me her craziness about germs!
OC: Three L.A. things a visitor should see that won’t be on a tourist map
LG: The Museum of Jurassic Technology
The Gamble House in Pasadena designed by Greene and Greene
Button Mash arcade for old school video games and great burgers
Leslie Grossman, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful day!
Stacy Steponate Greenberg brings over 15 years of travel and marketing experience to Pursuitist. With her column, The Overhead Compartment, Stacy interviews celebrities and athletes bringing an insight into their lives and travel habits. Stacy spent 11 years at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in various capacities, serving stints as Director of Marketing for the St. Regis and Sheraton brands, and Senior Director for Starwood Residences. Prior to Starwood, Stacy worked as Manager of Marketing for Hyatt Hotels. A native of Chicago, Stacy resides New York City with her husband and two kids, who like to “rate” the various hotels on their travels with their mom. Reach Stacy via Twitter twitter.com/StacyGSG.