As Mara Wilson

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Sinéad is joined by writer and actress Mara Wilson to talk about her long-time love for storytelling, breaking out of the shadow of her childhood acting characters, and her experience with self-doubt and OCD.

[00:08] Sinéad Burke: Hello, and welcome to this week’s As Me. I have the incredible honor each week of greeting you as you gear up to hear about what it’s like to be somebody else. I would really love if you shared some of your reflections with me. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I read your reviews religiously. So leave one there, or on whatever podcast app you use, or e-mail us your thoughts at Thank you. 


[00:40] Sinéad Burke: My hope is that as you’re listening to each of our guests describe what it’s like to be them, in their respective body and mind, you’re thinking about your own experiences. What’s the same? What’s the difference? What have I learned about my body and mind, and what it’s like to walk through the world as someone else? On that note, I went to L.A. and got a chance to be in a very tiny studio with our guest this week, Mara Wilson. Many of you might know her from Mrs. Doubtfire, or Matilda, or Miracle on 34th Street. She’s all grown up and is an actress, a voice actress, an incredibly powerful writer. 


[02:58] Mara Wilson: I read this quote a couple months ago from Carrie Fisher where she said that she hasn’t always but she really does love Princess Leia, and she feels like she looks up to her and she says we’ve kind of merged over the years. And I read that I was like, yes, that is exactly how I feel. Because in some ways I have always looked up to Matilda. I have always, you know, from when I was a very, very young child reading the book. And so she and I kind of have had to merge in a way. And I mean, we believe in a lot of the same things, and we value education, we value, you know, speaking up, and we value believing in yourself, and doing something for the marginalized, for the oppressed. 


[03:34] Sinéad Burke: So without further ado, as you listen, or read this episode transcript, picture us together in the tiniest studio imaginable in the middle of Hollywood. Are you ready? Let’s go! 


[03:53] Sinéad Burke: Welcome to As Me with Sinéad. On today’s episode, I am joined by somebody who was, as odd as it sounds, such a prominent feature of my childhood. And has evolved into a voice and a writer that I am inspired and admiring of in such incredulous ways. I’m joined, and sitting across me is the extraordinary Mara Wilson. Mara, thank you so much for trekking all the way into the studio today for this conversation. 


[04:20] Mara Wilson: No, thank you. I’m honored to be here. 


[04:21] Sinéad Burke: How do you describe yourself personally and professionally?


[04:26] Mara Wilson: As a person? Let’s see. I would say pragmatic. I am very practical and I’m very much obsessed with the mundane. I think that everyday life is really fascinating and really weird and we take it for granted. My father was an engineer and I feel like that engineer brain that kind of makes you stop and fixate on the little things, but also just wants things to be, you know, just right and efficient — that kind of got into me. So I always thought like I was my mother’s child because I’m loud and talkative and performative, and, you know, quick-tempered and short the way my mother is. I look just like her. And I was like, I’m my mother’s child. But I do have my dad’s way of kind of looking at things, I think. So I always say I’m half Jewish and half engineer. So that’s how I would explain myself personally. I think also neurotic and anxious. I think that a lot about me makes sense when you keep in mind that I am nervous all of the time. And I’m just a naturally anxious person. And that I’ve kind of come to embrace that. Professionally, I would say I’m a former child actor. I am a writer. I didn’t describe myself as an actor for a long time now, but I do voice acting and every now and then I’ll do face acting or stage acting, too. So I guess writer and actor kind of works. Or I’ll say just writer and voiceover actor. But every now and then I’ll appear in something so you know. I mean I feel most happy like on a mic and behind the scenes. But I like being a part of things. Like I’m never gonna be Meryl Streep, I’m never going to be Jennifer Lawrence. I’m never gonna be these actors out there because I don’t want to be. And also, I don’t really fit the image of what these people should look like. And I’m obviously not that great of an actor compared to all of these people. But every now and then, I will act in something and people will be like, hey, what gives, I thought you gave up acting? And I’m like, look, I just like being a part of something. 


[06:13] Sinéad Burke: And telling stories. 


[06:14] Mara Wilson: Exactly. Yeah. I like being on sets. I like working with people. I like being in the thick of things and feeling like I’m part of a team. I mean, as we were discussing, like I have a big family, as you do. 


[06:24] Sinéad Burke: Yes, we’re both part of five. 


[06:27] Mara Wilson: Yes. And I think that might be something that, you know, I have three older brothers, I wanted to be included. 


[06:33] Sinéad Burke: I’m the eldest, so I think I understand the importance of individuality because I had two years just being me. And then obviously, I disappointed my poor parents so they needed another four. And that idea that we’re like we’re a collective, we almost need this group collective noun in order to describe us. But there’s seven and a half years between me and my youngest. So we’re very kind of close in age, which is both destructive, but the most amazing part of my life. And how did that manifest for you as a child with three older brothers? 


[07:05] Mara Wilson: I hated being left out, and I hated feeling like I was little. And I was lucky, my brothers were nice to me. Like we fought like all siblings do, but I’m close with my brothers. I’ve always loved them very much. But I was always worried I would get left behind. I was always worried I’d get left out. And I think that gave me a very strong feeling of like hating when people are excluded, hating when people feel left out. I definitely think that was part of it. And I liked being the little sister for a while. But like as long as I could remember, I either had or wanted a little sister. And I remember telling my parents that I would be OK if I ended up having a little brother too. But I really wanted a sister. And I used to think that I was like the reason that my sister was born, that like my wishes made it come true. 


[07:41] Sinéad Burke: That’s how biology works. 


[07:46] Mara Wilson: I remember there were like one or two moments where I was a little jealous, but mostly I was like, nope, I like this. I’m happy with this. 


[07:52] Sinéad Burke: Was it part of wanting to be like your older brother, or was it the love of storytelling that first got you interested in kind of acting, or was it much more serendipitous?


[08:00] Mara Wilson: I loved storytelling. It was what I wanted to do. One of my brothers found like a recording of me a couple years ago where I’m singing in the background. And I’m just like singing this, like, epic poem about like a princess, and what her life is like, and all of these things. And it’s just this tiny voice in the background. And I was always making up stories about everything. And I think that it got to the point apparently where like my brothers, every time I would start a story, they would go, “oh, good story, good story” and start clapping because otherwise it would last all day. They would never end. So I did that, but I grew up over in Burbank and there’s a lot of child actors there. There’s a lot of actors in general there. I think I saw what they were doing, and I saw like what my brother was doing, and I kind of put it together that this was very similar to what I liked to do.


[08:52] Sinéad Burke: And that performative piece. 


[08:55] Mara Wilson: Yes, and performative aspect of it. I remember I had a teacher who was a dancer and choreographer in college and she said that she knew she was meant to be a choreographer when she thought back to how when she was a child, she would line up all of her stuffed animals and show them how to dance. 


[09:09] Sinéad Burke: Amazing. 


[09:10] Mara Wilson: Yeah. And that made her think like, oh, yeah, maybe it’s not so much dancing, maybe it’s choreography. 


[09:13] Sinéad Burke: Did you have many moments like that as a child? 


[09:16] Mara Wilson: Yeah, I think I did. I mean, I think that I’ve always been like, I just need to tell stories. I just always need to tell stories. And people would ask me when I was a kid, like, what you wanna be when you grow up, do you want to be an actor? And I would be like, I don’t know, maybe, but I know I want to be a writer. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. So that was very much something that I knew from the very beginning. I knew I wanted to write books. And I would make up stories. And I would do things like I used to make like little miniature books for like stories for the Tooth Fairy, or for my dolls or something like that. I would make like little miniature magazines. And I would tell my sister stories. And I would tell her story is based on like our cats or our hamster or something like that. [

[09:55] Sinéad Burke: There’s a beautiful photograph in your book of you lying on the floor, supposedly minding your sister who’s like, less than one at the time, and you’re writing in a book, completely not aware of what’s going on around  you.


[10:07] Mara Wilson: And I remember my favorite thing my — absolute favorite thing — was when they would give us a free-write exercise where they’re like, you have to write a story. You can write any kind of story you want. And I was just like, this is what I was made for. 


[10:19] Sinéad Burke: Do you remember any of them? 


[10:20] Mara Wilson: Yeah, I wrote one about — there was one called “Why I Hate Wednesdays” or something like that. And it was like this kid, every Wednesday, weird things happen. And I remember I wrote another one about a girl who’s a fairy godmother who came down to earth. And I was like 11 or 12 when I wrote this, but then ended up falling love with the person she was supposed to set up with somebody. And I think actually I remember reading a couple years ago that like somebody I knew sold a story that was very similar to that.


[10:52] Sinéad Burke: Suspicious. 


[10:53] Mara Wilson: No, I mean, she didn’t know about it. I hadn’t told anybody about it. But she ended up selling a story that was very similar to that. And I’m just like, oh, yeah, I had that idea, too, when I was 12. And there was one that was a Cinderella from like a teenage boy’s point of viewm where he was kind of the Cinderella character. Because we were doing a whole unit on Cinderellas and Cinderella stories across cultures. 


[11:13] Mara Wilson: And I remember the last page, my teacher wrote, like in all capitals, “you are a terrific writer. Keep it up.” 


[11:19] Sinéad Burke: Wow. That means so much.


[11:22] Mara Wilson: It really did. It really did. I mean, obviously, I’m still thinking about it now. I’m actually still close with the teacher that I had when I was 13. And I’m close with her daughter now, too. And she kept telling me, like, she’s like, you need to be in gifted writing classes. You need to be an honors writing. You need to be in all these classes because you really are a very good writer. And when my book came out, I invited her to the book launch. And she showed up and like had tears in her eyes. And yeah, it was incredible. She flew from Texas to New York for it. It was really nice. 


[11:50] Sinéad Burke: And did you believe in yourself as a writer before then? 


[11:53] Mara Wilson: I did, but like I said, I’m always very nervous and I’m always full of doubt. I’m a very doubting person, I think. I doubt myself, I doubt everything around me. I don’t know if that’s because I have OCD, which is sometimes called the “doubting disease.” I think it’s just in my nature to sort of second-guess everything and not trust the world around me. And it’s funny because like I had a childhood with ups and downs, but like, I always, like, had food and was loved, you know. But for some reason, it just always felt to me like I could never be sure of anything. Like I never knew anything for sure. I like to say that it’s kind of like I grew up near the San Andreas Fault, you know, like the earthquake fault — 


[12:29] Sinéad Burke: The tectonic plates could always shift.


[12:30] Mara Wilson: Exactly. And I have the sort of allegorical relationship with it, like, things can shift at any time. So, yeah. 


[12:37] Sinéad Burke: Was that present when you were a child, and you were on sets and films? Has that always been something that’s a part of you or was it heightened?


[12:43] Mara Wilson: Yeah, I think so. I think so. I think in some ways being an actor sort of exacerbated it. And in some ways I think it was good for it. So being on a set is a very structured environment and I really liked that. I think that could be good for me, but it was hard for me to go back to school and be in something that was structured in a completely different way. 


[13:01] Sinéad Burke: Marrying the two and then trying to find friends and connect again. 


[13:06] Mara Wilson: Yeah, I always had — I didn’t have trouble making friends as a kid, but I always had trouble keeping friends. That was something that I noticed. Because my experiences were different from them than they would have different memories of things, of times that I wasn’t there. And that can be really hard. 


[13:22] Sinéad Burke: More after the break.


[16:22] Sinéad Burke: Across all of the work that you’ve done, what’s changed you the most?


[16:27] Mara Wilson: Let’s see. Changed me, how so? 


[16:30] Sinéad Burke: In mind, body, spirit, how you think how you are? 


[16:34] Mara Wilson: I think theater probably did the most. I did a lot of things in my life backwards, you know? Like I always joke with people that, you know, the reason that I could pay for, you know, university and things like that was because I sold out in advance. And so I sold out as a child actor and then I could pay for my own schooling and such. But I feel like when I was going through puberty when I was a teenager, I wanted to run away from Hollywood and do like local theater. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to do it so much. It was really. 


[17:06] Sinéad Burke: Why? 

[17:07] Mara Wilson: Because it was terrifying to me. And I think that I have this kind of maybe sometimes I feel like I have this tendency where I’m drawn to things that I’m terrified of. It really felt real to me. My mother was very much into theater and always had been in. There were photos of her performing in plays. And we were both really into musicals. We would sing to musicals in the car all the time. 


[17:25] Sinéad Burke: Do you have a favorite? 


[17:26] Mara Wilson: Oh my gosh. Now I think I really love Cabaret. I love Company. I love Assassins. Growing up, it was My Fair Lady. It was all about My Fair Lady. And I actually just saw My Fair Lady on Broadway. 


[17:39] Sinéad Burke: For the first time? 


[17:40] Mara Wilson: Yes. It was amazing. Laura Benanti was in it and she’s fantastic. 


[17:44] Sinéad Burke: I mean, what else do you want? 


[17:46] Mara Wilson: Yes, she was beautiful and wonderful. 


[17:50] Sinéad Burke: Did you sing along to every line? 


[17:52] Mara Wilson: I tried not to. I tried not to. And On the Street Where you Live, my sister and I found the actor who originated the part in the revival. And we found a video of him singing. And we used to, like, sing that song — like I use to sing that to her when she was a baby. And we found a video of this actor singing it and pulled it up, and it was so beautiful that we started crying. It meant so much to us. That was my favorite growing up. And West Side Story, and the Music Man. And I liked a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein. 


[18:20] Sinéad Burke: And I’m guessing you’ve seen Matilda. 


[18:21] Mara Wilson:  Yeah. Yes. 


[18:23] Sinéad Burke: How was that experience?


[18:25] Mara Wilson: I thought it was great. I mean, the actress that played Matilda was so wonderful and I thought the Wormwoods were fantastic. They might have been my favorite part, although Miss Honey — they were all so wonderful. 


[18:35] Sinéad Burke: What I love about theater for me, the cinema, but especially theater, it seems to me to be one of those last spaces where you exist just as you. Like, you’re so present, because you’re in the dark. It seems like this intimate experience almost like a podcast or radio. 

[18:49] Mara Wilson: And I think that’s what I loved about it. I think that’s what scared me. I would always say theater feels more real, and people would say, well, what do you mean? You have that connection with an audience. And having a good connection with an audience is like — 


[18:59] Sinéad Burke: Well, they’re another character. 


[19:01] Mara Wilson: Yes, it is. Yeah, exactly. And I feel like when I have a good connection with an audience, it’s like I’m flirting and it’s going really well. It’s thrilling and it’s exciting, and it’s a little bit terrifying, but it’s tangible in a way that you can feel that energy back and forth, and that is such a good feeling. 


[19:17] Sinéad Burke: What was that mood like, you know, when you went in to see Matilda? Obviously something that was so much a part of you. And yet it’s different, because the format is strange then perhaps what you were used to. 


[19:27] Mara Wilson: I mean, I’m always going to be partial to our version, of course. But I do know that a lot of British people kind of considered it not canon because they thought it was too Americanized. And so I was like, OK, I have to respect that, too, you know? And I went in and I tried to separate myself from it, and be like, I’m just going to enjoy this as a story. And the thing is, though, that I was a fan of the story of Matilda long before. And Matilda, to me, kind of exists as like an archetype. And because of that, I feel like I’m just kind of paying tribute to her. You know, it’s like she exists somewhere, somewhere out there in the multiverse or something. And I’m just sort of paying tribute to her. Like I’m playing her the way like we do a Christmas play. Or at my school, you know, the Purim, you know, Jewish Purim play. Like playing Queen Esther or something. Like that playing these — 


[20:19] Sinéad Burke: It’s just a persona that you put on. 


[20:20] Mara Wilson: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s this character that you are, but it’s a character that’s based in sort of mythology and legend and history.


[20:26] Sinéad Burke: But that’s the challenge when it becomes such an iconic character and people confuse you for them, them for you or they assume that that persona is part of you.


[20:36] Mara Wilson: Well, I kind of felt in a way Matilda was my big sister for a while who was overshadowing me. Because I mean, you don’t have older siblings, but I think a lot of us with our siblings will say you walk into a school and they’ll be like, oh, you’re so and so’s a little sister.


[20:47] Sinéad Burke: Oh, what my siblings — particularly because I was the only one who had a disability. You were like, oh, you’re Sinéad’s sister, because I was easy to identify. And their identity is made invisible, which causes friction among us in a way it shouldn’t. 

[20:59] Mara Wilson: Yeah, exactly. So I think that that was definitely a thing that I felt with Matilda. I felt almost like she was overshadowing me and everybody liked her more than they liked me, you know? 


[21:08] Sinéad Burke: That’s really tough for a kid. 


[21:09] Mara Wilson: It was! it was really hard. And so people would call me Matilda and and I wouldn’t know what to do. And I would just feel I had this really intense imposter syndrome like, “oh, I can’t, I can’t, I’m not.” But I do think that, like, I read this quote a couple of months ago from Carrie Fisher, where she said that, you know, she hasn’t always but she really does love Princess Leia and she feels like she looks up to her and she says, we’ve kind of emerged over the years. And I read that and I was like, yes, that is exactly how I feel, because in some ways I feel like I do — I have always looked up to Matilda. I have always, you know, from when I was a very, very young child reading the book. And so she and I kind of have had to merge in a way. And I mean, we believe in a lot of the same things and we value education, we value, you know, speaking up, and we value believing in yourself, and doing something for the marginalized, for the oppressed, for you know, we like we have similar values. We have similar beliefs and interests. 


[22:04] Sinéad Burke: Are you grateful that those moments happened outside of the era of social media? 


[22:09] Mara Wilson: Yeah, I am. I definitely am. I do think that in some ways, in many ways, it is much, much worse now with social media. But I do think that — and I’ve been talking other child actors about this — in some ways it’s better because there is more accountability. You know, if somebody is doing something terrible on set. Or fans are being creepy or something like that, like adult fans are being creepy with children — people will get called out. They will have video footage of it. And so it’s kind of interesting. It’s very scary and strange in some ways. But in some ways, there’s also a bit more justice, I think.


[22:42] Sinéad Burke: And also an opportunity for you, perhaps as an individual to have a voice.


[22:46] Mara Wilson: Yeah, exactly. And I’ve been trying to listen a bit more. I think that it’s really important to listen to other people. So I’m trying to do that a bit more like on Twitter and places like that. 


[22:56] Sinéad Burke: How do you practice that skill? 


{22:57] Mara Wilson: I just remind myself that I don’t always need to weigh in on everything, that I don’t always need to talk about everything. Also, that other people aren’t always entitled to every story of my life, you know, or every aspect of my life. I grew up in very publicly, and the idea of keeping secrets is something that’s still kind of new to me. And granted, most of my secrets are pretty boring, but a while ago, my following — my like follower account on Twitter passed my hometown population. And then it passed the population of my hometown and the town next to it. And so now whenever I tweet something, I imagine myself standing on the Verdugo Hills above Burbank and Glendale with the world’s biggest megaphone saying these things and think, do I want all of these people in these towns to hear it? 


[22:44] Sinéad Burke: What’s your draft section on Twitter like? 


[23:45] Mara Wilson: Oh, God. Some of it is just jokes that I couldn’t work around. A lot of it’s complaints. Some of its photos that I have. I have a line in there that I don’t know where it came from or who I was responding to, but it’s just the line, “oh, you’re going to get hexed for this one.” And I’m try to figure out, did somebody say that to me? Did I say that to somebody? That doesn’t sound like something I’d say.


[24:04] Sinéad Burke: I think it could be a great book title. 


[24:07] Mara Wilson: I don’t tweet about traveling to other cities. I don’t tweet about being on an airplane. Or if I do, I make sure people don’t know where I’m going because, you know, I don’t want people showing up the airport for me. I had a guy follow me around in the Portland airport asking for me to sign things for his daughter. His daughter was one. I’m like, I don’t think your daughter wants a signed laser disc of Mrs. Doubtfire. 


[24:30] Sinéad Burke: I’m not sure her tooth fairy letter came with that. 


[24:36] Sinéad Burke: We’ll be back just after this break.


[26:08] Sinéad Burke: What are you curious about at the moment? 


[26:11] Mara Wilson: Oh, well, let’s see. I’m very curious in I think the way people talk. That’s always been something really interesting to me, the way people talk and why and how. Well, I think because I grew up as like a valley girl and I would have this. And I had this valley girl accent. 


[26:26] Sinéad Burke: Mine is difficult to trace geographically here. 


[26:30] Mara Wilson: You don’t — I mean, you sound sort of Irish but sort of northern England, sort of.


[26:35] Sinéad Burke: Yeah. It’s a mix. I grew up in a real working-class area. And then moved out to kind of more of a countryside which has an accent where the vowels are very, very long. And I think I was always really particular in how I pronounced words, and I love reading, and I’m not sure it’s it’s difficult to trace now. 


[26:53] Mara Wilson: I’ve heard that there is no one single like baseline Irish dialect. There really isn’t. There is a baseline general American dialect. There is you know, there’s pronunciation in England. There’s different Australian accents, but there’s like one that’s more standard. But there isn’t. Yeah, there isn’t an Irish one. 

[27:10] Sinéad Burke: And why are you interested in how people talk? 


[27:13] Mara Wilson: I’ve always had like an ear for dialects and stuff. And now I can kind of pick out where people are from and where they grew up. And that has always been interesting to me. It was interesting seeing My Fair Lady again, because that’s so much what it’s about. I think it’s about classism. And I think that that’s — the way that we speak can be cultural capital as well, can be respectability politics, can lead to some horrible things like that. 


[27:35] Sinéad Burke: It’s the same as, you know, all of those social cues that you go into certain rooms and if you don’t say the right thing in the right way, or know how to use all of the cutlery in front of you. 


[27:44] Mara Wilson: Exactly. Yeah. That was the thing that my parents actually did. My parents made me take like charm school classes. Yes. Because I think they were worried about like me saying something that could be misconstrued in interviews or something like that. They were like, “you’re a public figure, you should probably do this.” So, yeah, I learned how to do the right forks and the right silverware.


[28:05] Sinéad Burke: Did you have books on your head?


[28:06] Mara Wilson: No, but we did learn about lengthening your spine, and imagining like a string pulls you up to like stand up a bit straighter. I was kind of angry about it at the time. I was angry that I had to do it. But I did have — my teacher was very nice. And she you know, she honestly believed it was like, no, it’s about being the best you can be. So that I think was very nice. And I do think that it actually helped me a lot with my college auditions and things like that, because I knew how to go in there, be like, “hello, my name is Mara Wilson. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” And, you know, put on my voice and do these things. And I remember in college learning about sociology and cultural capital and being like, oh, that’s what this was. Exactly. And it’s funny because people always say, you can’t buy class.


[28:49] Sinéad Burke: No, but you can learn how to code-switch. And you and your writing and your work is so focused on, you know, speaking truth to power, challenging systems, amplifying different types of voices. 


[29:04] Mara Wilson: I try. 


[29:06] Sinéad Burke: But what’s giving you hope at the moment? 


[29:10] Mara Wilson: I think young people definitely give me hope. I think about my favorite teacher’s daughter. My sister and I have kind of been mentoring her. She recently moved here. She’s very confident and believes in herself and believes in her abilities. And that, I think, gives me a lot of hope. I think that, yeah, a lot of young people I know are pretty open. You know, my nieces and nephews for them, like LGBTQ rights are just very, very simple and just something that they know and they accept. And it’s not a big deal to them at all. I do have a sort of faith and trust in the next generation. There are definitely — there’s obviously like some struggles and some people who are really having a hard time now. But I do think that a lot of them are growing up in a really interesting world. And I don’t know, I definitely like that. I tend to like the kids that I’m meeting who are younger. I don’t know if you felt like that being a teacher. 


[29:59] Sinéad Burke: But there’s this expectation now that we can ask a bunch of questions at the same time, like, do you have any food allergies? What are your gender pronouns? Do you have any access needs? It’s the first time I think that we have been comfortable with exposing ourselves in that way to make other people feel a bit more comfortable. 


[30:15] Mara Wilson: It’s funny because people will be like, “Oh, I can’t say what I want do these days,” free speech, blah blah blah. And I’m like, yes, of course it’s free speech. But for me it’s more about, you know, like when we took charm school lessons, they said, hey, maybe don’t talk about religion because that might piss somebody off. You know, that might make someone angry. And that’s basically just what it is now, it’s being polite. You know, if you don’t agree with somebody, what do you do? You don’t have to fight for it. You pick your battles. Even if you don’t agree with somebody, you can be like, OK. That’s your point. And you can go and roll your eyes, like, look in the other direction and roll your eyes. Like we need to rediscover eye rolling, I think. Just the idea of being like, OK, I don’t agree with that, but. But yeah, the idea of being polite, or being accessible, being like this tremendous burden is, I think, ridiculous to me. Maybe that’s because I always feel, like I said, like when I have an audience, when I have friends, you know, I want them to enjoy themselves. I want them to have a good time. There are people that want to provoke, who want to make people angry, who want to do these kinds of things, and I don’t think that’s me. I do think that every now and then I want to be like, hey, have you seen it this way? Be evocative rather than provocative, I think. And the thing is, too, that I don’t. I mean, like, I’m not always the nicest person. Like, I’m not fake-nice. I’m not like that. But I try to be kind and I try to be compassionate. And that’s another thing, too, is even if you aren’t the naturally nicest, people just try to be. Just try to be, some of the time at least. Come on. 


[31:41] Sinéad Burke: This has been such a treat. And I think that if childhood Sinéad found out his conversation was going to happen, that she was going to sit across from you, particularly character like Matilda. But you’re writing now is just — 


[31:53] Mara Wilson: Thank you so much. 


[31:54] Sinéad Burke: Please keep going. 


[31:56] Mara Wilson: This has been an absolute pleasure.


[32:01] Sinéad Burke: On next week’s As Me, I have a special treat for you. My first live show for As Me was at the Lemonada Media Launch Party in L.A. And we’re gonna have you listen to my conversation with comedian and writer and the very, very tall former basketball player, Trayvon Free.


[32:19] Trayvon Free: When you live in the body of a 6-foot-7 black bisexual from Compton — 


[32:37] Sinéad Burke: We have very little in common. 


[32:28] Trayvon Free: Yeah. 


[32:30] Sinéad Burke: You’re welcome to this dress at any time.


[32:35] Trayvon Free: It is not a common life in any capacity. And so I find myself constantly running into new experiences and also reshaping environments, reshaping people’s perception of every aspect of my identity.


[32:54] Sinéad Burke: This week’s person you should know is actually somebody I have been a huge admirer of for, well, more time than I can measure. I got to meet them in person this week at a BAFTA afterparty. I know. My life is strange. Daniel Lismore describes himself as art personified. The way in which he sculpts fabric to his body and creates a visual with his personhood is striking and important. So if you don’t know Daniel, if you haven’t watched or listened to his TED talk, firstly, go to that. And second, go find him on Instagram @DanielLismore. 


[33:38] Sinéad Burke: As Me with Sinéad is a Lemonada Media original and is executive produced by Jessica Cordova Kramer. Assistant produced by Claire Jones and edited by Ivan Kuraev. Music is by Jerome Rankin. Our sales and distribution partner is Westwood One. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, don’t be shy. Tell your friends or listen and subscribe on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you like to listen, and rate and review as well. To continue the conversation, find me on Instagram and Twitter @thesineadburke and find Lemonada Media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @LemonadaMedia.


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