Credit: Suzanne Weinstock Klein (writer), Natalia Mantini (photographer)
Season 2 premieres Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 @ 9:00PM EST on HBO.
The writer on HBO’s cultural phenomenon is one of the real-life Girls.
Anyone who has watched Girls won’t be surprised that Lesley Arfin is as funny, self-deprecating, and brutally honest as the show she helps write. Now beginning its second season, Girls, led by star and head writer Lena Dunham, follows four 20-something women in Brooklyn as they navigate the awkwardness of early adulthood.
Arfin has her own early career to use as inspiration. She got her start as an “awful” intern at Vice magazine, where she brought back a defunct column called “Dear Diary,” which, after five years, she turned into a book of the same name in 2007. “Then nothing happened,” says Arfin. “I was freelancing for magazines, copywriting, collecting unemployment. I went to India, I worked for a while at a magazine called Missbehave that folded. And then I saw [Lena Dunham’s film] Tiny Furniture.”
Arfin and Dunham began a Twitter friendship, and when Arfin got word that Dunham was writing Girls for HBO, she submitted a hastily written pilot—“a darker, punk rock Hannah Montana kind of thing.” Hired, she gravitates toward writing for the Girls wild-child character, Jessa, and Dunham’s character, Hannah.
“Jessa has a do-whatever-you-want-and-deal-with-the-consequences-later kind of attitude,” says Arfin. “If I’m not like that, maybe I used to be like that—or I wish I was more like that. It’s fun to write someone who will try anything once. And it’s easy for me to identify with Hannah. I really relate to her overinflated ego and her anxiety over guys.”
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