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April 16, 2012 2PM EST

Q&A with Lena Dunham

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  • Q

    Thanks to Lena Dunham for joining us today. How do you feel about the response to the show so far?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It's unbelievably exciting, any time I get a tweet from anyone who connects to it, it's newly thrilling. As Jenni Konner, Exec Producer (@campsucks) said, even the haters are exciting.

  • Q

    Who are your favorite authors?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Vladimir Nabakov, Sylvia Plath, Nora Ephron, Sheila Heti, Kay Thompson, Phillip Roth, David Sedaris.

  • Q

    What have you learned from your character, Hannah?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    There's a lot of things not to do that Hannah does. But there's something about her boldness and desire to be heard that I actually find inspiring, and is helpful to me in my life. And I've learned to stop the texting after midnight. And eat a balanced breakfast.

  • Q

    Which children's books are your tattoos from?!

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Eloise, Ferdinand the Bill, a book called Pals which no one has every heard of, and a Scottish book called Fairwater.

  • Q

    What is your favorite pinkberry flavor and topping?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    The original tart. My favorite topping is mochi. I will throw in some blueberries if the occasion calls for it. I will also eat a quart of pinkberry if the occasion calls for it.

  • Q

    What are the inspirations for the characters? Are they based on your own circle of friends?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    They're definitely based on me, my circle of friends, and combined with the lives of my staff writers. My best friend is in 7 and 8 but I can't tell you what her function is because that would be a big spoiler.

  • Q

    I love the writing in Girls, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Thank you, firstly. I take naps, I eat snacks, I do transcendental meditation which I find extremely helpful . I call Jemima on the phone and shoot the shit. I walk the dog and look at people on the street. Stuff like that.

  • Q

    What advice do you have for a young aspiring writer?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    This sounds trite, but I would say write a lot. Write all the time. Make a gang of creative people who you can claw your way to the top with.

  • Q

    who's your favorite musician?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It's hard to name just one. I love Alanis Morrisette. Kaff McCombs. I love Rihanna. I love Mirah.

  • Q

    Do you remember a time before Facebook? How does that impact dating?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I remember when Facebook first happened. I was a freshman in college, and the college I was going to didn't have Facebook. The day they included it, everyone was in the computer lab signing up. But before that in high school we were kinda into Friendster. Nobody has to call each other on the phone and ask anyone out anymore. That old custom has died. And it's easier to stalk people.

  • Q

    What is your favorite and least favorite thing about NYC?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    My favorite is the incredible diversity of people, places, things to eat and do and talk about. And that people are actually really polite and kind and connected and proud of where they live. My least favorite thing is probably just the smells.

  • Q

    Are you going to make anymore movies?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Yes. I am going to make more movies right now. This is filling up my life in a way that is great right now. But the amazing thing about working with HBO is that it feels like you're making a mini-movie every week.

  • Q

    Do you have any pets?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    We have a family pet that I'm obsessed with. His name is Dean. He is a wire fox terrier. And he is 11. He and I were enemies while I was at college. But now we're back in love and it is intense. We used to have four hairless cats and the last one died a month ago. We love them, but we're not getting any more because they get sick too easily and it's better to rescue a cat. In addition, I would really like to get a small chihuahua mix. That is a goal for this coming year. And I am going to name it either Roger or Ida, depending on its gender.

  • Q

    Where is your favorite place to write?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    My bed. Hands down. With ocassional trips to the kitchen counter. But I have written in a van before.

  • Q

    What kind of animal would you want to be and why?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I would want to be like a dolphin probably because it seems like there are not a lot of experiences available to humans that are available to dolphins.

  • Q

    Do you think parents should help their daughters out if they are out of college and struggling to make it in this world?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It depends. If your parents have worked a long time and want to spend their money on you, that's their prerogative. But I do think that a parents' door should always be open to their child because they did not ask to be born.

  • Q

    What was your major in college?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Creative Writing.

  • Q

    do you believe in popular psychology?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Yes, I think that there's a lot that you can get that's good from self-help books, but it doesn't necessarily account for human behavior. For example, He's Just Not That Into You is true in some ways, but there's always a situation that it's not true for, and you can't use pop psychology to uniformally diagnose stuff.

  • Q

    Sometimes I feel like I was born to write, but I'm too intimidated to try like you did. Any advice?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I think if you feel like you were born to write, then you probably were. If you're writing, you're starting in private. It can really be this amazing, private, freeing experience. Forget that it's for other people - that comes in later.

  • Q

    Favorite movie?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It's really hard, it changes all the time. Today I'm going to say it's "Nuts in May," by Mike Lee. It's from the 70s and hard to find.

  • Q

    I'm Lesley Arfin's dad and I just wanted to tell you that I liked the premiere episode. I hope your show is a hit.

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Thank you so much, we like your work - which is Lesley.

  • Q

    What do you do when you're stressed out?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    When I'm stressed out, I like to drink a cup of tea, meditate, spend time with my parents, watch New Girl, make a to do list.

  • Q

    As NYC is such a diverse place, are there plans to introduce more people of color in lead or secondary roles?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It was a complete accident that it happened this way, I wish that we were representing the population of New York in a more accurate way - and hopefully if we get to do a second season we will.

  • Q

    What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career so far?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Thinking I can make a TV show when I've never done it before. It took me a minute to adjust to the format and it felt a little bit like "what made me think I could do this?" but I'm glad that I did because I love my job so much.

  • Q

    Favourite children's TV show? (mine's a 3 way tie between Lidsville, Beany and Cecil and Fraggle Rock).

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Clarissa Explains it All. I also enjoy Rugrats.

  • Q

    what are some things that you like to do on you days off, if you have any at the moment?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Go spinning, go to interesting new ethnic restaurants. I like to watch movies and TV shows. And paint my fingernails. And hang out with my family and friends. And I like to go to places where there are sales on pants and shirts.

  • Q

    What does GIRLS on HBO offer to the "twenty-something" year-old male audience?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It offers an insight into how girls think and talk when they're alone and you're not around. And it offers an insight into relationships that you might not get from everyday conversations with your girlfriend.

  • Q

    Which do you recommend, attending college on a campus? Or attending college in NYC? I'm grappling with that very decision right now!

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I did both. I attended for a year in NYC, and I went on a campus. I think there's benefits to both. But I think there's benefits to having the experience that's most different from the one you've been having your whole life.

  • Q

    what's your late night, drunken street meat food of choice

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I'm not a big drinker, but I do like to eat late at night. I would say that would be Pakistani food from Pakistan Tea House in New York. Or a burger from Corner Bistro.

  • Q

    who are your favorite young filmmakers at the moment?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    The Safdie Brothers. And Amy Seimetz. And Sean Durkin. And Ry Russo-Young.

  • Q

    If you could give advice to your younger 20-something self, what would it be?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Don't worry so much all the time about whether everybody's happy with you. People will be happier with you when you're not flailing around trying to please them. When you're calmer and more centered.

  • Q

    Favorite pick-up line?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    This has never happened to me, but if someone was like "you're really beautiful and I would like to talk to you" - that would be really great.

  • Q

    What's your take on gingers?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Red-headed people? That's really complicated for me. I was once really into a ginger, and at the time I was like "they're great, they're undersold" - but now that I've had a tough experience with one I don't know if I can go back. But that's just about my experience with that one person.

  • Q

    If a tourist only had a day to spend in New York, where would you send them?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Central Park, then FAO Schwartz, then Brooklyn Bridge, then eat a piece of pizza from Grimaldi's for lunch, then go to Jackson Heights for Indian Food for dinner, then go see a midnight movie in Union Square.

  • Q

    Will you ever do stand-up?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I did it in high school. I went to stand up school. And I really found it very educational. I was the youngest person in my class at the Stand-Up Institute of America. I think it's not in my future but it is in my past.

  • Q

    Noticed the Warwick made an appearance in Episode 1, is this your favorite hotel?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    It's not my favorite hotel but I love it a lot, and I think it's the hotel that her parents would stay in. I was trying to be accurate.

  • Q

    what was the best mistake you ever made?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I'm not big on regret. All of the romantic mistakes that I've made and the work mess-ups have all fed this thing that I'm doing now.

  • Q

    How much did you influence the styling decisions on the Girls set? What are your fashion influences?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I'd say Hannah's style is pretty different than mine. But I appreciate her look. She's a little more vintage-y and quirky. That being said I have an amazing costume designer and she and I very collaborative. And she brings me a lot of stuff that I'm not expecting to love, but then I do.

  • Q

    If you had to move to the south, where would it be?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    I would move to Memphis because it seems like a cool scene and there or a lot of interesting filmmakers there. Or Austin. I love Austin, too.

  • Q

    If you could make a guest appearance in any show on television, what would it be?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Grey's Anatomy. I want to play somebody that dies on Grey's Anatomy. And I want it to really upset one of the doctors. Or New Girl. Playing Schmidt's girlfriend.

  • Q

    your thoughts on Eskimos...

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Eskimos are amazing. Once I visited an ice hotel. I don't know if we're supposed to called them Eskimos, but I'm psyched on what they're representing.

  • Q

    That’s it for our live chat with Lena Dunham. Thanks again for joining us today, Lena. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans before we sign off?

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    A
    Lena Dunham says:

    Thank you so much for watching. It means more to me than you will ever know. And I will keep trying to bring you truthful, funky, funny times for as long as you'll let me.

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