Alia Shawkat opened up to Out magazine about her sexuality in a candid new interview. The Arrested Development star told Out magazine that she identifies as bisexual, and she will star in a queer-themed film that she also co-wrote later this year.
“I was a tomboy growing up, and I remember my mom asking me when I was 10, ‘Are you attracted to boys or girls?’ I said ‘I don’t know,’… Now I consider myself bisexual, and I think balancing my male and female energies has been a big part of me growing as an actor.”
Shawkat’s TBS series, Search Party, doesn’t shy away from LGBTQ themes and enjoyed a sizable following when it debuted last fall. Her upcoming project, Duck Butter, goes a step further by featuring a same-sex couple as its protagonists.
The 28-year-old said the film was created with a heterosexual couple in mind, but she and the creative team opted to make it about two women instead, according to the Huffington Post.
“I love that it was written for a man and a woman, but we couldn’t find the right guy, so now it happens to star two women [as lovers].”
The actress, who will soon hit the big screen in Paint It Black, said growing up in Los Angeles and “being exposed to lots of gay artists” helped shape her identity as a performer. The current political climate, she said, has inspired her to be more outspoken.
“As a woman, an Arab-American, and a member of the LGBTQ community, I have to use whatever voice I have… There’s no more delicacy in being quiet.”
Alia was asked if working with Ellen DeGeneres’ ex, Portia de Rossi, had any impact on her coming out as bisexual. Shawkat said Portia began dating Ellen DeGeneres during the show’s first three seasons and she had met her previous girlfriend. Shawkat said her influences are more from growing up in Los Angeles and being exposed to lots of gay artists, according to Out magazine.
Portia De Rossi reunited with the cast of Arrested Development on Inside The Actors Studio. When host James Lipton asked de Rossi about her marriage to Ellen, Portia revealed she had anxiety about coming out as a lesbian in Hollywood. After overcoming said matters, Ellen and Portia married in 2008.
“I think when I really, truly came out was the Golden Globes when Arrested Development was nominated [in 2004]… Ellen and I had been together for a month and I was very, very nervous going to that because I knew that I was going to meet up with her after the show and that there was press. And that was the first time that we actually stepped out together as a couple, but for me, it was the first time I stepped out as a gay woman, really.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is currently in Season 14 and has produced a ton of viral moments between Ellen and celebs. The talk show has won 35 Daytime Emmy Awards, nine of which have been for “Outstanding Talk Show.” Four of those Emmy’s went to its host, Ellen.
Just a few months ago, Ellen DeGeneres opened up to Out Magazine to discuss her life before the Ellen DeGeneres Show. The beloved talk show host was named “Entertainer Of The Year” by Out Magazine. Ellen, 58, revealed the many struggles she faced after coming out as a lesbian in 1997. During a particularly difficult time, Ellen says she hit “rock bottom” and was broke. Before NBC picked up her talk show, Ellen faced a ton of rejection. After coming out as gay to Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, her popular sitcom Ellen was canceled by ABC in 1998.
DeGeneres is happy to uplift other like-minded LGBT personalities like Tyler Oakley whom she says is, “a positive influencer.” In September, Tyler was given his own talk show on Ellentube, DeGeneres’s online video site, according to Out Magazine.
“If this isn’t an example of ‘It gets better,’ I don’t know what is… Time is a strange thing. I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight, but one step at a time, it gets better. It gets much better than better.”
[Featured Image by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]