Carrie Preston Talks Travel, ‘Claws,’ and the Loss of Nelsan Ellis

Carrie Preston is a scene stealer. From her breakout roll playing Julia Robert’s sister in My Best Friend’s Wedding to the fiery waitress Arlene Fowler amid vampires and witches in True Blood to her Emmy winning roll as Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife, chances are she’s played one of your favorite outrageous characters

Throughout her career, Carrie has been very supportive of LGBT projects with roles in productions like TransamericaTrue Blood, and most recently When We Rise. With her production company Daisy 3 Pictures she has also produced and/or directed queer films Ready? Ok29th & Gay, and That’s What She Said.

In her latest role on TNT’s Claws, Carrie plays Polly another off-the-wall character that lures you in with her sweet Georgia-peach accent and then will cut you if you cross her or her friends. The show is about a group of strong and eclectic women working at a nail salon while laundering money for a drug kingpin who is bisexual and owns a transgender strip club. Her performance as Polly allows her to steal scenes opposite an amazing cast including Niecy Nash and Judy Reyes (who plays lesbian Quiet Ann).

Carrie joined me in the VIP Lounge to talk about places she like to visit, Claws, Rupaul, and the late Nelsan Ellis who played iconic gay character Lafayette, her scene-stealing partner on True Blood.

Do you feel pressure to have your nails done all the time since you’ve been on Claws?

I do! I feel a lot of pressure! This morning I had to interview for a morning show and I thought okay “I can’t just show up with my regular nails I’ve gotta do something because everyone always wants to ask about those claws. What are your claws looking like?” I can’t touch what we get on the show. Those artists are creating these works of genius for us to wear on our hands, but I went to my local nail place in West Hollywood and I said, “Okay you gotta give me something jazzy.” So I worked with her, came up with a design. I never would have done that, I usually just wear a basic color or a gel but now that doesn’t feel like nearly enough. It’s like I’m a little addicted to fun nails now that I’ve been on Claws.

In one of the episodes the ladies do a dance number to “Lady Marmalade,” do you all burst into song or dance on the set regularly?

There’s never really a moment when somebody isn’t singing something or doing some kind of dance or something to keep our energy up. As far as the actual shooting of that scene we had a choreographer come in and because our shooting schedule is so tight we didn’t have that much time with her. She gave us the choreography and we all would go in the backroom in between takes and rehearse together. She taught it to us the day before and the day of shooting we were under some pressure to get it right.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine…

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