New Girl’s Hannah Simone (a British-born Canadian and former Much Music VJ) wasn’t thrilled initially by the opportunity to star in a branded “Peep Show” for the craft liqueur label St. Germain. Even the inventive hook—that it would be filmed on an iPhone and streamed live July 6 through the new Twitter app, Periscope—wasn’t winning the active social media user over.
“I was thinking, if this isn’t executed right it may not make me feel empowered and strong and confident,” she shares over the phone from L.A.
Things changed however when she learned Canadian director Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways, multiple eerily beautiful music videos for Katy Perry, P!nk, Ellie Goulding, David Bowie and more) would be directing the project.
“I picked up the phone, called my agent and said, ‘I’m in, 100 per cent.’ Knowing it was Floria—it didn’t even matter if the concept of the project went further than it did, I knew the point of view would have been so exciting and empowered and undeniably beautiful because that’s just what she does.”
How does one become the first Periscope Peep Show star? We chat with Simone about feeling beautiful, schooling the trolls and a family vacation with Martin Scorsese.
Did you have any input into the overall concept? I talked to Floria about my comfort levels on past projects and what would make me feel okay, and she was like, “Yes, of course, this is all about strength and confidence. You’re not doing this peep show for people to look at you; you are doing it for yourself. You’re doing it in a way that you’ll feel beautiful.” That’s where the strength of it comes from.
How did you prepare? Did you have a concept for your movements? For each little setup we had an idea of what would be happening, just that idea of having a beautiful relaxed Parisian afternoon where you’re doing things slowly and at your own pace. You feel beautiful. You put a record on and you’re dancing in your bedroom alone. You’re not doing it for anybody else’s pleasure or happiness, just your own.
Peep Show‘s livestream was comment-enabled. How did that affect your experience? I was kind of unaware [of audience input]. I was on set doing what I wanted to do, and it was live; it was almost like improv theatre. You have the idea and the tone and the things you’d like to explore in that little scene. It was only afterwards, when I jumped off set, that I was able to watch the reactions that were coming in. The reaction was so positive—that was exciting.
Did you get any creepy comments? The majority of people who showed up were like, “This is so beautiful! This is amazing! This is so cool!” And if there were one or two people being like, “Hubba, hubba,” that person got destroyed [by other commenters]! It’s kind of amazing what’s happening online now. Even on my Instagram, I find if one person says something unkind you don’t even have to respond because 200 kids will leap on them and school them on how to be a better person. It’s kind of wild, but I love it. It’s like good, that’s how you self-moderate.
It sounds like trollish comments just roll off your back. If I put a picture up, I like the picture. It’s for me, and your reaction has everything to do with you. It’s got nothing to do with me. I don’t really care.
I wear tight clothing and high heel shoes It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute I like rap music wear hip hop clothes That doesn’t mean that I’m sellin’ dope.. before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me Free your mind and the rest will follow. #envogueistillenvogue #dontbesoshallow A photo posted by Hannah Simone (@therealhannahsimone) on
You’re pretty active on social media (83k likes on Facebook, 226k Twitter followers, 362k Instagram followers). Is that a personal choice or part of your job?
I do it for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in the industry for so long, but I do things that make me laugh. You can’t take any of it too seriously. I’m a visual person so I love photos, I love Instagram. The fact that I can sound off on whatever weird thing I’m thinking is great. People who dig that are the ones who show up, and if it makes them smile, that’s cool.
Will you start using Periscope?
I don’t know, man. When Floria directs your first Periscope—how am I going to live up to that? The bar is set pretty high at the moment. I’ll have to go on a family vacation and ask Martin Scorsese if he wants to show up and film it for me.
What’s next for you?
I’m top-secretly working on a little project [with other Canadian women] that I’m going to post online, hopefully by the end of the year. We’re working really hard on it and I’m really excited about it.
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