Earlier this week we spoke with actress and political commentator Stacey Dash about why she’s backing Donald Trump and the need for more conservatives in Hollywood to stop hiding their beliefs.
In part 2 of the interview, to coincide with the publication of her memoir There Goes My Social Life, we ask her about her career in Hollywood. Whether it’s the Oscars, her Black-ish audition, Spike Lee, Alicia Silverstone or why she now finds it hard to get work in film, Dash does not hold back.
When Clueless was a huge hit, did you enjoy being in the Young Hollywood spotlight?
I loved it. You can see it in Clueless, which was so much fun to make.
I’ve always thought of Clueless as quite a conservative film. Cher Horowitz doesn’t go in for liberal groupthink.
I think you’re right. It’s very conservative. It’s about family values, it’s about friends. We make it known that we’re virgins. We don’t do drugs. We love our parents. We are good girls who have very strong opinions. We’re not with the pot smokers or the hippies but have our own little group that I would say is conservative.
You also write in the book about how acting in Renaissance Man [1994 army comedy] spoke to your love of the military.
I really enjoyed that. We had to do a week of boot camp and it was awesome because I’m a very physical person.
One of your co-stars on that film was Mark Wahlberg. Do you think he might be politically conservative?
I think he probably is. I know his brother [Donnie Wahlberg] is so I’m sure he is.
Who else in Hollywood is conservative?
Jerry Bruckheimer is a conservative. Jon Voight is an outspoken conservative. There are other people I would never snitch on because where I’m from snitches get stitches. I’m loyal. If they want to come out they can. I wish they would.
You’re good friends and have made two films with the director Amy Heckerling, who certainly isn’t conservative.
Amy loves about me that I stand up for what I believe in even though we don’t agree. We agree to disagree. That’s what I love. I don’t understand why people in Hollywood can’t get their minds wrapped around that. Instead they’re trying to scare me into submission. They’ve excluded me from getting work. My agent just dropped me because of my politics. They said a casting director said to them, ‘I give you credit for pitching her with a straight face.’ I’m a good actress and it’s unfair that I don’t get to do my craft, which I love, because of my political beliefs. They have nothing to do with each other.
Yet Hollywood is ultimately a business, a place where the bottom line holds sway.
It’s a business but they’re such hypocrites—[take] the diversity thing. They say we’re racist— ‘Republicans are racist’. I’m sorry but I don’t see very many black people in films in Hollywood.
What are your career regrets?
I don’t have any regrets but I wish I could be up for more things.
Being a panelist on Outnumbered hasn’t exactly harmed your profile?
It doesn’t harm me but it’s not acting. I’d love to be on a successful show like Penny Dreadful, which is my favorite show on television. I would love to be on Veep. There are so many good television shows right now that I would love to be on. But I haven’t auditioned in a year. When I did have the agents, they didn’t put me out there. But rejection is sometimes God’s protection.
— Stacey Dash (@REALStaceyDash) January 21, 2016
There’s a revealing part in the book when [music entrepreneur] Russell Simmons responds to your criticism of President Obama by saying, ‘You can’t say that. You’re black.’
It was absurd. Those machinations I don’t get. How can you think that way? Because you’re black, you have to do this and think a certain way. That means my mind and my character have nothing to do with me. Only the color of my skin defines me….in your life do you ever sit around a table and talk about being white or black? But they’ve got a television show right now called Black-ish.
What do you think of Black-ish?
I think it’s f***ing awful. They made me audition for it and I did not want to. I went in there knowing the producers—they had cast me in something else. I was like, ‘This is a joke right. You’re doing this because you just want to see me in this room and you just want to say that I auditioned for this.’ I told my agents ‘No’—and they just pushed and pushed me. I was like, ‘F**k.’ The lines were so racist.
Can you remember what the lines were?
Yes. He said, ‘You didn’t see Roots, you don’t know what the black plight is.’ He assumed she didn’t see Roots because she was mixed race. She goes, ‘Tell that to my hair and my ass!” I’m like, ‘That’s so racist.’ It’s not only black people who have nice asses and kinky hair. I know some Jewish women who have kinky hair, Irish women who have kinky hair! My hair is not kinky but I’m half Mexican and half black so how can you base that on race? You can’t? That’s all they talk about—race. Everything has to do with race.
So why is Black-ish so critically successful?
Because that’s what Hollywood perpetuates. They dictate the culture of the country. As long as we let them dictate and perpetuate stereotypes, that’s what people are going to want.
You describe in the book going to a New York nightclub at the height of the storm over your endorsement of Mitt Romney and encountering George Clooney and Kristen Wiig. How was Clooney?
He was very nice. He joked with me and he was very respectful. They all tried to have a political conversation. I was like, ‘No. We’re not going to have a political conversation drunk. We’ve all been drinking. It’s not going to happen.’
I thought your sketch at this year’s Oscars with Chris Rock was amusing but were you taken aback by the negative reaction?
No, because I expected it. Some people have no sense of humor.They take everything so literally and are just so full of themselves. I was like, ‘You know what? Get over yourselves. None of you are Cary Grant or Grace Kelly.’ What I was taken aback by was the fact that the majesty and enchantment of the Oscars that I dreamt of since I was a little girl was not there. It didn’t exist…it felt like an everyday, normal whatever.
How was Chris Rock?
He was fine. He was lovely. Actually, we ran into each other in the Fox building about four weeks ago. I was like, ‘What are you doing here, Christopher?’ ‘I work here. Why are you here?’ He tried to laugh it off.
Do you think he might be a conservative?
I’m not going to say. Who knows?
It does seem that if you’re an African American star like Will Smith or trying to get ahead it doesn’t hinder your career to be a liberal.
No. Because then the white people say we’ve got the plantation mentality. You have your 40 acres and a mule. Do what we say and you’re good. I’m sorry, those days are over.
Forty Acres and a Mule is also the name of Spike Lee’s production company. Would you like to work with him?
Because I’ve met him and he wasn’t very nice. He doesn’t think I’m black enough. I don’t know what black enough means.
When Clueless and Mo’ Money came out, it seems that films weren’t being judged so much before they were released?
That was good. Now those days are over. Now it’s a whole new ball game. The Kardashians are the biggest stars in America. Do you understand that? That’s crazy. If you’re a person who is sitting at home every day getting stuff for free and all you do is watch TV and imagine yourself living as someone else, then you get caught up in thinking you can be that person instead of being who you are.
Do you still keep in touch with Alicia Silverstone?
No. I keep in touch with Paul Rudd, Twink Caplan, Donald Faison and Amy Heckerling.
Why not with Alicia Silverstone?
We just haven’t… it’s not like we don’t like each other. We like each other. It’s just how it is. Some you do. Some you don’t.
In the book you say she didn’t do the Clueless TV series because “she went to the Amazon River with Woody Harrelson to help save the rain forest.”
And then she started chewing up her food and spitting it into her baby’s mouth!
Do you have any further writing ambitions?
Yes. I’d love to do fiction, a fiction-based-on-reality book. A fairy tale with unicorn and minotaurs and demons and good witches and bad witches. A gritty fairy tale.
Do you think your career suffered because you didn’t compromise?
I didn’t want to be the black girl. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be the girl. I didn’t want to be the black girl and the best friend. I want to be the lead and I want to be the girl. I look on television and I admit, sometimes I cry because I think why didn’t I get to read for that? But what God wants for me no man will keep from me so I just have to keep standing up for what I believe in.