You once told us that you actually wanted to be an opera singer, not an actress …
Yes, at a very young age. But I really don’t have the voice for that. Which doesn’t mean that I haven’t always loved singing. I love it.
A prom is so important to teenagers in the United States, but with the exception of high school graduation, it’s not the same in the rest of the world. What are your memories of your first prom?
My first prom was when I was 14 and I went on a date with a senior, an 18-year-old. I was really excited. My mother had sewn me a dress with spaghetti straps. I looked perfect, dress, makeup, hairstyle. My date picked me up and opened the car door and I got in and sat down, probably stretching the dress a little too much, and both straps tore. I hid the straps in my bra and so I danced all night while holding my dress so I wouldn’t be in my underwear. It was horrible.
The film is about discrimination against a lesbian couple who are not invited to the prom. When did you first notice discrimination?
I was 11, so it must have been high school in second grade. My music professor became a woman. I went to a small school in New Jersey. And he was trans. They fired him from school. He stayed with his family, with his wife and children, and changed jobs. He was one of my favorite teachers and I didn’t care whether he was a man or a woman. And I couldn’t understand why he was punished for it. That opened my eyes and I started to see the world with different eyes.
You’ve won so many awards in your career (177! Including three Oscars and eight Golden Globes) that you may need a truck for just that when you move. What do prices mean to you?
Winning prizes is never boring. This is an award for your work that you are seen and appreciated. When I look at the young people on The Prom, Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman, and their young talent, it’s all so fresh, so new. And I can feel the prices that are still to come. I can’t wait for you. That they feel like they are being seen. It’s the best feeling in the world.