When you are in a career that is competitive, intimidating and dominated by male voices, sometimes the best thing to do is find female role models. Following their careers and learning from their journeys is not only inspiring, but also encouraging. For me, Jill Soloway is my role model.
I first encountered Jill at a ‘Film Independent’ event in Los Angeles where she was speaking on a panel about her new film, Afternoon Delight. Jill has been a successful writer for longer than I’ve been out of elementary school for and I’m surprised it took me this long to find her. Despite being a fan of United States of Tara and How to Make it in America, both shows of which she has been a writer and an executive producer for, I am only now discovering just how awesome she is. So dear Flurt-ers, I invite you to do the same!
As well as having written for Six Feet Under, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Make it in America and United States of Tara (all shows which feature strong complex women, a rarity in Hollywood), she sold a pilot to HBO called ‘Jewess Jones’, about a female superhero (can I get a ‘hell yeah’?!). Sadly, this pilot was never made. The politics and constraints of conventional Hollywood might be a reason why Jill has chosen the independent route for her latest film, Afternoon Delight.
Afternoon Delight has made quite the splash. Jill won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film has also been picked up for distribution, so we should all get to see it soon!
The film is about Rachel (played by Kathryn Hahn), a bored thirty-something mother and housewife whose sex life and career have both dissolved into nothingness. To add some zest to her marriage, Rachel takes her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor) to a strip club, where she meets McKenna (Juno Temple), a stripper she becomes intent on saving. Rachel takes McKenna in as her live-in nanny, and havoc ensues. There is so much in this film to be excited about, a female writer/director, an incredible cast (Rachel’s therapist is played the hilarious Jane Lynch), and lots and lots of laughs.
Jill started in theatre, having toured the U.S. with two shows, The Real Live Brady Bunch, and The Miss Vagina Pageant, co-created with her sister Faith. Both sisters were lured to Hollywood to make a movie version of their Brady Bunch show, but Faith has since moved to Boston where she resides as a singer-songwriter who creates comedic rock operas with lesbian slants (a gurl after my own heart!). This year Faith is mounting a brand new show called ‘The F-Word’, a parody of Showtime’s ‘The L-Word’.
As well as an extensive film and television career, Jill has also written a post-feminist manifesto titled Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants with Maggie Rowe. In 2000, Jill created ‘Sit N Spin’, a twice-monthly comedic reading series in Los Angeles, which is still going strong today.
In addition to these amazing achievements, Jill is also a mother of two and is a co-founder of the community organization ‘East Side Jews’ (an irreverent, upstart non-denominational collection of Jews living in East Side Los Angeles), therefore cementing her status as an excellent role model. As devoted to her spiritual and community life as she is to her career, Jill is a fun, witty and strong voice promoting women in film and television.