Beth Ditto on her righteous feminist moment with Susan Sarandon

You have spent most of your career in music and fashion and started getting into acting in 2018. How do you go about choosing the projects you want to be a part of and how did you Monarch coming to you?

Oh dear, I don’t choose them. I’ve tried a few things and didn’t get them. COVID definitely shook every musician I know, the touring ones, because that’s our bread and butter. So any opportunity for something, I would take it. I like acting. It’s easy. It’s simplifying it, but it’s different than writing a record because it’s already written for you. But I was really scared because I didn’t know what to do and I was thinking about what I could do externally. During COVID, I had my nieces a lot while their parents were working, so it was Aunt Beth’s daycare over here. I thought, “I could actually see myself doing this and having a really fulfilling career.” So I thought maybe I could go into childcare development and take online courses or something. But after that [Monarch] came on and they described the character as a fat lesbian country singer and I was like, I really want that part. I tried really hard to get it. I auditioned four times and I was like, they’re crazy if they don’t pick me. First, I’m a southerner and familiar with all those things. I [also] play music for a living. I was up against some really great people and I’m really flattered that I got it. It came in at the 11th hour.

You play as Gigi Taylor-Roman, the daughter of two country legends who is a rising country star herself. Can you tell me a little bit more about what we can expect from Gigi?

I am one of seven children, so I know the fun feeling of being a little sister. Even though my sister and I are close and we love each other a lot, it wasn’t a rivalry or anything, but I can definitely really relate to Gigi and Nicki. I really understand how society and sexism creates this idea that there can only be one queen, as if this city isn’t big enough for both of us. That reminds me, bear with me if you want, you know Bikini Kill? It reminds me of in the 90s when Hole and Bikini Kill, the media created this rivalry. People would ask in interviews, “Bikini Kill or Hole?” And I think it was Tobi [Vail] from Bikini Kill who said, “Why don’t you like both? There’s enough room for everyone. Why does it have to be this thing?” So I can understand that in sisterhood and being a musician and how the patriarchy sets us up to fight each other and how it even happens in families.

How do you personally relate to Gigi and her experience on the show?

I think with Gigi, there’s a relatable person for the chubby kid or for any person who feels like they’re different than or other than. No less than, but anyone who cut their own way because they were like that, it’s not going to work for me, so I’ll have to make it up eventually. I can really relate to Gigi that way.

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