Saturday, February 26, 2005

MINK STOLE - Why she's still wading in with Waters

Mink Stole has been with John Waters since the beginning back in the mid '60s. More recently she can be found on the big screen in John Waters' A Dirty Shame and in her one woman show called It's All About Me. Despite what the stage name implies, she's not a not a drag queen, yo.

Talk about meeting John and what got you into acting?

I discovered that I was sort of good at it. I was just out of high school when I met him so I really didn't have much of a background in acting. I was always histrionic, so it was not a huge leap to go from histrionic to theatrical. I'm not a Juliard graduate or anything like that. Some people really can never act. There are some people, it doesn't matter what kind of director that you have, they're never going to be able to act. I'm not naming any names.

Where does the name Mink Stole come from?

My name is Nancy Paine Stoll, that is the name I was born with. When I was working on the first film with John in front of the camera--now remember, we're talking 1966--so we've got Diva and Ingrid Superstar, so Mink Stole was an obvious choice. I didn't realize that it was going to be the name that carried with me forever-- people still think I'm a drag queen. Drag queens have these names now, they didn't back then. Even as recently as a couple of years ago, I was doing a play in San Francisco and one of the alternative papers listed me as "The Legendary Drag Queen" Mink Stole. I was doing a play called "Sleeping with Straight Men," and there's a drag role in it but not mine. I don't even really like "legendary" because I think legends are people who are dead, or almost dead, and I'm not quite dead.

Did you ever think that the work you did with John Waters would be so enduring?

There was absolutely no way to know that. We were in Baltimore! You know Baltimore is a small town that's disguised as a big city. We were very insular. We weren't in New York, so there wasn't really that sense of it. And it wasn't until Pink Flamingos came out and opened at the Elgin Theater in New York, and that was in '71 or '72, by which time I was living in San Francisco. People were really kind of taken aback by it. It tooka long time for me, personally, to catch up with the phenomenon of John and the films.

What do you think of the NC-17 rating and do you think the content of your new film is political in any way?

Well, I dislike censorship in all it's forms and I dislike the government telling people what their children can go to see. There are some 15 year-olds that would be perfectly comfortable watching this movie and there's some 40 year-olds who would not be. I think it's political insofar as it saying "what I do with my life is my business and it's okay. I'm not hurting anybody so leave me alone." We have such sexual hypocrisy in this country, this movie exposes some of that. It's important, at all times, especially in times that are becoming more repressive, to keep the envelope pushed. To keep pushing at the edges because if you give in to it then they'll just take more and more stuff away from us.


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