She didn’t have much luck finding a girlfriend at the bar, but she did find her people within the drag community at the Pyramid Club, around the block from her place in the East Village. “I feel like I was raised by drag queens because that community embraced my band. They’d have us open for them all the time.”
Between making music and taking roles in shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” over the following years, she eventually heard about “The L Word” pilot from a friend and went out over and over for the role of Shane. When Kate Moennig got cast for the part, Hailey thought it was over––”but then I got a call that they wanted to bring me back in for a different part, which was Alice. And [show creator] Ilene says they created that role for me, because they liked me––that started the process of my life changing.”
“The L Word” was well loved; delivering the stories of six friends in and out of romances and drama, who always managed to find their way back to, and ground one another. It normalized queerness for women in a way that hadn’t been done before on TV––and hasn't really been done since. All this before gay marriage was even legalized in California, where the show took place.
The show concluded after six seasons in what felt to the cast like a premature ending; and within a couple years of being off set, Hailey and her co-stars were working to bring it back. Eleven years later, queer culture’s grown and shifted enormously, and the show’s returned to grow with it, and us, in the series sequel, “Generation Q.” In it we see three of the main castmembers reprise their roles, including Hailey's Alice, alongside a younger generation of new characters whose diverse identities usher "The L Word" into the modern day.
office sat down with "The L Word" star to talk growing pains, lesbian visibility, and finding a girlfriend in '80s New York. Read our interview, below.