Inside A Closet: Lesley Arfin, Writer for HBO's Girls
Lesley Arfin is a writer living in Los Angeles. She currently writes for the HBO television series, Girls. Her book, “Dear Diary”, was published in 2007 by Vice Books/MTV Press. She is the former Editor-In-Chief of Missbehave Magazine. She was born and raised in Long Island, NY. Fred Perry hoodie, vintage Betsy Johnson dress, motorcycle boots from eBay.
“I’ve read every single V.C. Andrews book, which are like disgusting, weird soap operas. And I’ve read every single Christopher Pike book, which are all about people dying. So I was really attracted to all of these dark things when I was in middle school.”
“I’m from Long Island. It’s a pretty closed-minded, disgusting place. I hated where I lived. I couldn't wait to leave. But I loved that I hated it.” Acne jeans, vintage shirt from Wasteland, cardigan from a friend.
“After I wrote the book, nothing happened. I thought that my name was going to be on The Marquis and they'd be rolling the red carpet out for me everywhere I go, but all that happened was I stayed working at the Maritime Hotel. I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I was 27 and had already accomplished the one thing I wanted to accomplish in life.” Chloe Sevigney skirt for Opening Ceremony, vintage shirt from Wasteland, socks from Target, Chloé shoes.
“In New York, every sidewalk is a basically a runway, so you always feel underdressed. L.A. is much more casual. You can only be overdressed.” Acne jeans, vintage shirt from Wasteland, cardigan from a friend, vintage adidas sneakers.
“While writing 'Dear Diary', there were definitely times where I felt super vulnerable and I was really scared. I had to call people, like this guy that broke up with me when I was 19 and ask him why. That was some weird shit.” Chloé shoes, socks from Target.
“There’s nobody fashion-wise that I look to or that I aspire to be. I'm my own fashion source now. But it took me years to realize that. I think that ultimately it's about confidence and getting to a place where I just wear what I want to wear.” vintage men’s shirt, t-shirt and pants.
Lesley is inspired by: David Lee Roth, Wes Anderson, Terry Garr, Sondheim, ballet, The Simpsons, Todd Solandz, time travel, fresh air, Sue Naegle, Jackson Pollock, Stephen King, God, Carl Jung, Roseanne and Amy Poehler. Spooky the cat, Chloe Sevigney skirt for Opening Ceremony, vintage shirt from Wasteland.
On writer’s block: “Sometimes the only way to get through it is to keep writing, but most of the time I take a break. I’ll shop on Etsy or read. And that’s okay. I try not to be too hard on myself. I think everybody has those kind of days with any job.”
“When I was like 16, I saw Bikini Kill and there was this girl there with the coolest glasses and a hooded sweatshirt zipped up. I thought she was so cool, because I had a really small head and every time I put my hood up, I just couldn't make it look good. So I was just like: ‘That girl did it. She figured it out!' I became that girl. I'm her now. I figured it out.” Fred Perry hoodie, vintage Betsy Johnson dress, motorcycle boots from Ebay.
“My friend Nicole called to tell me that Lena Dunham was working on this show for HBO called Girls and that I need to write for it. So I finish my pilot and my agent submitted it. Lena then emailed me, ‘Lets have lunch'. I met with her, then the executive producer and then I was sitting in the lobby of the HBO headquarters in L.A. Three days later I got the job.” Acne jeans, cardigan from a friend.
On her attempt at becoming a substance abuse counselor: “It was super fun doing drugs but it wasn’t fun learning about them. It was really boring. While everybody was taking notes about what mushrooms do, I already knew - they make you have a really good time. So I would just write down the dumb things that people were saying in the class. Maybe in another life I’ll make a great substance abuse counselor, but all I want to do in this one is write.”
“I've learned so much working on the show about writing, working with other people, and writing with other people. The humility did not come without eating humble pie first. There were tears and a lot of anger. Its all stuff I had to wade through and it is stuff that I'm still waiting through, but it’s gotten a lot easier."
“The boy that I envision who wore this outfit was a raver, in like 1993, who was really hot, tall, skinny with dyed black hair, because that was really cool at the time. He was totally wearing a button down shirt like this … if it wasn't Adidas, it was Nike.” vintage men’s shirt, t-shirt and jeans.
“Even though I worked really hard on my pilot, I think I was hired because I had been working as a writer for ten years and had a million different jobs and a million different boyfriends. That's what Girls is about.“ vintage Adidas sneakers.
Lesley’s favorite books include: ‘Growing Up Underground’ by Jane Alpert, ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt, ‘Rule Of The Bone’ by Russell Banks, ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffery Eugenides and ‘Geek Love’ by Katherine Dunn. Fred Perry hoodie, vintage Betsy Johnson dress.
“Everybody who writes for a show thinks their show is good, but not all shows are. So whenever I'm writing something, I don't think about whether or not it is good. Like how do you know if anything is good? You don't.”
“I didn't start understanding how to have good sex, until I was in my late 20s. So I'm always going to go for [sex scenes] being gross and ugly, because that is also fun too. Like in Girls, there is this awful guy, Adam, and his awful sex. But [Hannah] likes it and it’s okay that she likes it. And then one day she won't like it and that's okay too.” Acne jeans, vintage shirt from Wasteland, cardigan from a friend, vintage Adidas sneakers.
Her favorite songs include: ‘Can't Help Falling In Love’ by Dead Moon, ‘When You Were Mine’ by Cyndi Lauper, ‘Dirty Work’ by Steely Dan, ‘U Smile’ by Justin Beiber and ‘Vision Of Love’ by Mariah Carey.
“The more honest I am, not only makes writing easier, it makes it better, because people can identify with it... Ultimately my goal is to be of service with my art and help other people, but that doesn't always mean that my writing is out to save the world.” Chloe Sevigney skirt for Opening Ceremony, vintage shirt from Wasteland.
"I think it's sexier in a way to not have a perfect body." Lesley Arfin
StyleLikeU visits Lesley Arfin to take a look inside her home, and most importantly, her closet. Oh, and did we mention, she's one of the writers for HOB's Girls? Yes, that means she couldn't be cooler. Take a look through the slideshow above to learn more about Lesley and her personal style.
Lesley Arfin is a writer living in Los Angeles. She currently writes for the HBO television series, Girls. Her book, "Dear Diary", was published in 2007 by Vice Books/MTV Press. She is the former Editor-In-Chief of Missbehave Magazine. She was born and raised in Long Island, NY.