At this year's Golden Globes, Transparent creator Jill Soloway took home the award for Best Comedy Series. It was a huge moment, and one she dedicated to the late Leelah Alcorn, a trans* teen who recently committed suicide. In an exclusive interview with ELLE, Soloway opens up about her family who inspired the series and the excitement she feels about the growing feminist movement, what she calls a "foot-stomping-type revival."
You know Soloway from her work as a writer and producer on Six Feet Under and The United States of Tara. She was making her move into directing when her parent came out as a trans woman in 2011. It wasn't a particularly dramatic scene, but Soloway couldn't help but think of the artistic merits of the announcement.
"My sister and I were both like, ‘We’ve got to write this shit down.’ It was cinematic and it was funny and it was sort of like, If this isn’t a TV show, I don’t know what to do with these feelings," she said.
The result was Transparent, a series about the Pfefferman family. It follows the experiences of the three adult children (Gaby Hoffman’s Ali, Jay Duplass’s Josh, and Amy Landecker’s Sarah) and their late-in-life transitioning parent (Golden Globe winning Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman). Soloway sold the show to Amazon Studios in 2013, and the burgeoning production company allowed her to work quickly, with the series premiering last fall to serious critical acclaim. But, the experience has been more than just a career success.
"In some ways it’s brought us closer,” Soloway said. “All four of us — me, my sister, my mom, my moppa — really love the Pfeffermans and see the show almost like a tribute to our family."
Soloway isn't stopping with just a ground-breaking series. She's joining a host of women showrunners in Hollywood who are changing the industry.
"Seems like I’ve run into a lot of women lately who they’re either gay, they’re bi, they’re queer, they’re feminist, they’re artists, and you don’t even have to stop to be like, 'Are you down for the cause to topple the patriarchy?'" she says. "Because it’s already understood. It’s like, 'What are we doing today?'"