Often, it isn’t until a long time has passed until we fully appreciate and acknowledge a star’s legacy. But that is not the case with Rose McGowan, whose natural talents have earned her immense success and critical acclaim, whose striking beauty has forever elevated Hollywood iconography, whose exceptional intellect has made her a survivor and a champion, and finally, whose charisma and articulation have made her the Joan of Arc of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement.
It is difficult to measure an artist’s contribution to society, having influenced and inspired countless people. But it’s impossible to ascertain McGowan’s impact as the defacto heroine of a historical and long-overdue global movement. She has conquered acting, singing, writing, producing, directing and public speaking, and they have led her to this new chapter in her life where she sheds old pedals to reveal fresh, glorious beauty.
You have emerged as a heroine, a pillar of strength and an inspiration for millions after a tumultuous and controversial year. How are you doing now?
The past few years have been harder than I could imagine, surviving the last year most especially. What helped me was the support I got in real life. I’ve met person after
person who says keep going, keep fighting. It has been both humbling and inspiring. It was a hard, hard year, but there were bright spots of joy here and there. I try to focus on those. The answer is I’m healing. I have great friends and a great relationship that is helping with the healing.
What have you learned from the last year that you can share with people who might have gone through or are still going through similar experiences?
I have learned that we are stronger than we know, that tears equal strength, that pain equals growth, and to just hang on, because it does in fact get better. Keep going. No matter what, keep going.
Do you feel pressure to be strong all the time considering your strength and defacto role as a leader?
It’s an unusual pressure. We haven’t been here before societally; there is no road map. A bit like walking through a jungle with a machete and you have no idea where the drop offs are, but you hope for the best. For me, the best is always trying to be 10% better than I have to be. I use it as a personal challenge and one that may inspire others to be better versions of themselves.
You have an impressive resume as an actress in film and TV, but have since added best-selling author with your memoir, “Brave,” and a documentarian with your four-part docuseries “Citizen Rose.” Do you miss acting, and do you plan to do film or TV again soon?
I’m proud of my body of work. I did the best I could job wise despite being heavily blacklisted. TV and film were very separate businesses at the time. The TV producers on “Charmed” didn’t know that I had been canceled in the movie industry. I always tried to communicate with the audience through my eyes; now it’s time for my own voice. Through acting I inhabited many skins, lives, voices—so many other people, for so many years—it’s time for me to just be me. For now, I can’t see acting anytime in the future. I do miss directing and crafting a story, but right now I feel like we don’t have time for metaphors. What needs to be said needs to be said.
Tell me a bit about the album you’re working on?
“Planet 9” is the name of my upcoming album. I’ve been crafting it for three years. I like to say it’s music that can take us to space. Suspended in time, given room to feel and move. The album takes listeners on a journey for sure. If you mixed up Pink Floyd, Grace Jones and Stevie Nicks with some propulsive French beats, you have “Planet 9.”
Tell me about your fans, especially people who reached out to you following the past year.
I have met extraordinary beings this past year. I’m honored to walk with them on this journey, which is why I’m turning my Instagram @rosemcgowan over to others to share their truths on my page for the month. Calling it #NOvember, I’m really excited to highlight and honor those who are fighting the good fight, people that have risen up and are rising; it’s a beautiful thing to witness. I hope you’ll all join us.
What are a few misconceptions about you?
Ooof, that I’m transphobic. Nothing could be further from the truth. This one hurts a lot, because my life has been interwoven with the community since I was 13 years old. I was a runaway taken in by two loving trans women who saved me from a life on the streets. The idea that I’m transphobic makes me physically ill; it hurts my soul. When I said, “What have you done for women?” I meant ALL women.
What is your favorite charity or cause?
I really advocate for the smaller charities, the ones that are on the front lines. It is not easy, and I tip my hat to them. In the past, I’ve volunteered at Covenant House helping homeless LGBTQ teenagers, my focus for years being gay rights. I also love the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, an extraordinary place doing great aftercare work with rape and human trafficking survivors. Now that this year has settled down a bit, I hope to get back to more volunteer work. We all should.
What project(s) do you have coming up?
I have a skincare line called The Only that I’ve been developing with my aunt Rory for eight years. It’s an incredible product mixing science and nature. I’m working on the visuals to go with my album, “Planet 9,” because I want it to be an experience. Also, starting work on my next book and preparing for “Brave” to come out in paperback!
Tell me a secret—a good one!
When I’m in America, I eat at Taco Bell at least two times a week. I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself.
For more information on Rose McGowan and to purchase her book, “Brave,” please visit rosemcgowan.com.