by Zoe Stagg
photography by Jaramay Aref
Talking to Lindsay Price is oddly reminiscent of lighting a spa candle at a yoga retreat – her calm, contemplative nature is mellow, positive, and appealing. And her confidence has been a key element of her perseverance. With a career spanning decades, she’s managed the child actor’s ultimate coup – survival. “It’s almost like I’ve had three different careers. You know, child actor, my teen years, and now I feel like I have a whole new start here.” This start includes a starring role in the new Candace Bushnell offering, Lipstick Jungle.
Working her way through childhood, filming commercials and episodes of My Two Dads while other kids played softball or took ballet, Lindsay finally got her big break as a teen. “I moved to New York when I was 14 to do a soap… I’d already been around for a long time, but my friends all had a good amount of success, and I was just playing the best friend or Girl #2 or #3,” she laughs. “At that time there weren’t a lot of roles for people who looked like me. Not just Asian girls that age, but half-Asian to be more specific. I was always told that I was too ethnic, or not ethnic enough.” New York represented the first time for Lindsay to break out professionally and personally. “I was emancipated, and my mom came to stay with me for three months at a time. Eventually she stopped coming and I was here a lot on my own.” If the idea of a 14 year-old actress on her own in the Big Apple automatically leads to thoughts of promiscuity, drug binges, and bouts of rehab, think again. “I was a strange kid. Everyone else was listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and I was sitting in my window listening to Frank Sinatra and Billie Holliday. I was such a weirdo. My parents knew that I wasn’t going to get into any trouble – which sometimes I really regret.”
She credits the simpler values of her youth for her self-preservation. “It’s amazing how much things have changed since I was that age and in the business. We are so over-stimulated, we get so much information – even in the last ten years things have changed so much!” Marveling at the media circus that camps out at every trailer in town, “it’s like we’re obsessed with pop culture, and it’s terrifying to me because no matter what’s out there, it’s really just a kind of ‘chosen one for the moment.’” She’s getting a taste of that scrutiny while filming around town. “I feel very, very fortunate that now at 31, I’m just starting to hit my real stride with success. All of it’s been handed to me in doses I could take. I can’t imagine what it’s like to go out there without the support that I’m so blessed to have.”
Modern ideas of celebrity aren’t all bad, though. Lindsay’s seen the industry evolve past the color-conscious casting that followed her throughout her youth – and the change is welcome. “I think that this year it’s been quite something for me because with Lipstick Jungle it’s been my first real leading lady role that could have been played by anyone. Now I realize that sometimes they’re trying to round out the cast with some face that looks like some sort of color, but a lot of times in the past I’ve felt like I was fulfilling some sort of quota. These days it’s a lot easier. But it was heartbreaking when I was younger to watch my friends go on and become a huge success at the time. I knew that I was good, but I had fewer opportunities. Now it’s opened up in a way that’s very emotional and dramatic for me.”
Lindsay would love to see that evolution extend to, and embrace, powerful women as well. “I think that we need to portray women as strong and successful and as powerful as they can be. We’re not saying, ‘We are women, hear us roar!’ It’s not some sort of major feminist movement; it’s just showing what it’s really like to be a woman who has drives and ambitions.” She’s looking forward to Lipstick Jungle because she thinks it will help to spread that message. “I think that we tune into a television show or fall in love with a particular book because it gives us equals parts entertainment and ways to relate. It allows us to feel seen and heard. Women’s lives today are messy.” She considers this messiness, turning her attention to a similar drama currently being played out on the campaign trail. “In Hillary Clinton’s position, she’s fighting two wars here: the stereotype and the fact that we’re in a tough time in our world right now.” Is the country ready for a powerful woman in the White House? “Absolutely. And I hope that it happens.”
Now all grown up and back in New York, Lindsay uses the city itself for personal growth. “I was walking by myself down the street that I lived on when I was 14, and there was my school, and there was my deli, and I stood in front of the building that I lived in – and my face was wet with tears… this city is like my first love. It really is. I cannot tell you what a perfect time it is for me to be back. I’m in a brand new phase of my life, I’ve come out of a nasty couple of years, and I’m sort of in the same emotional spot that I was in the first time I was here – just really raw and open and excited. I feel like every morning I wake up that there’s just a world out there for me to discover. I feel like a child again, I really do. I just couldn’t be in a better place.”