Sarah Paulson talks sexuality and “Freak Show”

Out actress Sarah Paulson is one of the most talented TV and film actresses of the last several years. From her work on every incarnation of American Horror Story to her scene-stealing in 12 Years a Slave and Mud, the award-winning star has becomes more of a household name every time she’s on any size screen. A new interview with Sarah has the actress speaking about her sexuality, which she doesn’t typically do, as she doesn’t like to discuss her private life. But she talked with New York Magazine about why she’s perpetually single (and reportedly has been since her public break up with actress Cherry Jones):

“Guys don’t ask me out because they think I like women. Women don’t ask me out because they don’t know what I am. Do I have to write a sign that says EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER?”

Although she’s never used the word “bisexual” to identify herself, Sarah has always been open about her relationship with Cherry, although the article notes that “prior to that, she only dated men.”

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On the second season of AHS, Sarah played a lesbian reporter named Lana Winters who gets committed to a warped asylum and is forced to undergo reparative therapy for her homosexuality. The role garnered an Emmy nomination and Sarah is one of the most celebrated out actresses on television today.

“My character in Coven wasn’t as much fun as playing Lana,” Sarah said. (On last season’s Coven, she played a witch mentor named Cordelia.) “It’s about the idea of feeling totally cast aside. Me, I feel that way every day. I feel that way right now! I mean, I’m joking, but only sort of. I’ve never been one of those people who has a very healthy sense of themselves. I suffer from the sense that everything good in my life is about to go away.”


Currently, Sarah is playing conjoined twins Bette and Dot on Freak Show. Sarah plays both characters expertly, and, with help from special effects and careful editing, at the same time.

“I was so excited,” she said. “I had no idea how the hell they were gonna do it. I thought it would make it look less like a special effect, but it’s wreaking havoc on my neck.”


It’s mesmerizing to watch, though, and Freak Show has been the show’s most successful season yet, breaking viewing records and getting AHS renewed for another year. But how can creator Ryan Murphy keep up with the amazingness that is happening on the creepy set of a carnival? Sarah said she’s inspired every day by where she gets to play.

“The moment I saw the set, these huge striped tents and a broken-down Ferris wheel on the water—I knew that from a visual standpoint this season would be unmatched,” she said.

Knowing the American Horror Story crew, they’ll rise to the challenge, and so will Sarah, even if it’s killing her.