Chloë Sevigny on Exes, Zines, and Taking Back the Tabloid Narrative

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Photo: Efren Landaos/PressLine/Splash

On the heels of her Rizzoli coffee-table book, Chloë Sevigny has put out a decidedly more lo-fi product: a zine called No Time for Love, which features old photos of herself with the men in her life, both ex-boyfriends and family members (whose identities are wryly anonymized by stickers), and a collection of New York Post gossip clippings about herself collected over the years. The confessional, DIY-style zine comes out today.

The Cut spoke to the actress, who was in the midst of filming the indie Look Away, about how the project came together, her feelings on stickers, and how much fun it is to turn the tables on the gossip columns.

Photo: Courtesy of Innezines

Was this your first time making a zine? Or were you involved in the zine culture in the '90s?
In high school — and yes, I guess that would have been the early '90s — I read a lot of zines but I was never interested in making one myself. I kind of had a love-hate relationship with zine culture. But Aaron Fabian, this boy who makes these, I can't even pronounce it, Innen zines, got in touch with me through my friend Rita Ackermann — they’re both Hungarian and she'd done a zine with him and friends of mine had done zines with him. And I'd done a couple other books with Opening Ceremony, which were more [like] look books, which were all my concept, and I did the design. It's always been so rewarding, the process, and so much fun to do — so when he asked, "Do you want to make a zine? You can do whatever you want to do,” I was like, "Yeah, why not?"
 
You said you have a love-hate relationship with zine culture. Why is that? Are there things you don't like about it?
Just the whole idea of it. I don't want to knock it because I just made one, but it's just a specific thing, you know? But there are plenty that I love, like Roller Derby and ones that friends made in high school and stuff like that.

What did you feel you could get across in zine format that you weren't able to in other formats? Why not do a chapbook or a blog?
 A blog?
 
I mean, because doing a zine is such an analogue statement.
Because it's more book-form than doing anything online; I think it can be such a precious object. I have this exhaustive archive from when I was doing the book with Rizzoli, trying to figure out what kind of book I was going to make and what I was going to include, all this ephemera, and we actually ended up taking out most of it. So, when I initially started on the zine I was going to just put in pictures of things I had on my walls from high school. I laid out the entire book and it was like 50 pages and I decided I wanted to do something more personal.
 
Is the zine meant to serve as a companion piece to your Rizzoli book?
Not necessarily, but I have had people be like, "Why aren't there more pictures of you and your boyfriends in your book?" Because the book isn't about that! The whole idea of doing the zine sprung from that. So, those are all men I've loved or been in love with. Not just boyfriends. I included my dad and my brother. Not in a Lannister kind of incestuous way [laughs] but like, every little girl is in love with her dad and older brother at some point in her life. And they also needed more pages, and I also thought it would be funny.
 
What's the story behind titling it No Time for Love?
The gossip pieces are so specific and so descriptive, and that was the title of one of the Post snippets. That's just one of the pages; if you haven't seen all of them you can't really see the cohesion. It's very cohesive when you read all the gossip in its entirety because there's some that are like, they’re not sure if it's me, and some where they know it's me, and it all tells a real story. 

There’s one clip about you and Natasha Lyonne supposedly crashing some party. Did that really happen?
That was funny because it says we were banging on the door, trying desperately. All the adjectives they use are so funny and I think the way they write the gossip is just so hilarious. No Time for Love is the last and final bit of gossip, when my brother is talking about how I worked too much and it was affecting my relationships.

Photo: Courtesy of Innezines

Did you save these press clippings over the years?
My mother has a woman that she works with called Philomena who used to be the president of Kevin Costner's fan club and so she kind of scours all the papers every day and she had made this exhaustive archive between her and my mother of all the press clippings — from all the "Page Six" things to every tabloid to the more high-fashion magazines.
 
What is it like reading the gossip columns and having yourself be chronicled in that? Did you feel like they were presenting you in a certain way, as the person desperately banging on the door? Did you find that there was a narrative around you in the same way that Jennifer Aniston has a narrative around her in the tabloids, and it's always the same story?
For sure, and it ebbs and flows depending on where you are in your career, how they're feeling about you, I feel like around The Brown Bunny they were really into writing about me just so they could put in what happened in the movie. In the beginning it can feel kind of invasive — it always feels invasive, but you just kind of learn to roll with it. And I thought this was a funny way of owning it and turning it around.
 
What was behind the decision to cover the men’s faces with stickers? Why use stickers as opposed to black bars or something else?
Yeah, more humor I guess. I mean black bars are so commonplace.
 
Also, stickers have kind of a '90s feeling to me.
I'm not into sticker things, like a Petra Collins vibe. It's not about stickers, it's just about making it and also picking the right sticker for the right photo and I think it was more impactful, and more humorous.
 
Have you heard feedback from any of your exes about being in the zine? Have any of them seen it or said anything?
Nobody's said anything yet, but I think they're all protected enough. Nobody's made any guesses about who anybody is. I mean, some of the more public relationships are probably more obvious, but I'm more afraid of the people that would feel left out because they thought I was in love with them. They didn't make the cut.
 
Are you interested in doing more confessional artwork and using your life in your work? Would you ever branch out into showing this in a gallery?
I think having done the book was the first real exercise in that and this is sort of an extension of that. I love doing projects on my own and it's so hard doing the fashion line and movies or TV — there are so many other people involved. The book and the zine were so much more fun because there were fewer people. I'll have to find more outlets to do more of those things, but gallery shows, I don't really see that [in my future]. But more personal things like this? I'm all for it.
 
Was it kind of work-intensive to put it together?
It's not the '90s anymore and I'm not a purist so I actually cheated and had my friend help me by putting everything on the computer and then we cut and pasted it like that. Which I know is not "pure zine work,” but like, sorry.
 
You’ve kept it to a limited run of a thousand copies. What was the reasoning behind that?
I have no idea; that's all on that boy, Aaron, who's putting it out. I don’t know how much it was, I don't make any money, it was just fun.

This interview has been edited for clarity and condensed.

Photo: Courtesy of innenzines