Who is Lynn Hirschberg?
If you search for her name on Google you’ll find articles written by her and articles written by other people about articles she’s written, but you’ll find absolutely nothing about the woman herself…
Here’s what I know:
Hirschberg writes for The New York Times, Vanity Fair and W Magazine. She’s arguably most famous for her M.I.A takedown – a New York Times interview with the singer back in May 2010 in which Hirschberg highlighted the controversial disparity between M.I.A’s political beliefs and her wealthy lifestyle. The interview was conducted at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel and included an appetiser of truffle-flavored French fries ordered by the singer (although later understood to be on the recommendation of Hirschberg herself).
Some of the most provocative quotes from the interview are these:
“‘[M]y giving birth is nothing when I think about all the people in Sri Lanka that have to give birth in a concentration camp.’ As it happened, Maya, who is 34, gave birth in a private room in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.”
“Maya’s tirade, typical in the way it moved from the political to the personal and back again, was interrupted by a waiter, who offered her a variety of rolls.”
After the article was published M.I.A released two previously unheard recordings from the interview which, she says, prove that Hirschberg took her words out of context. The recordings give a plausible explanation for the order of truffle-fries for example, to which Hirschberg responded in The Observer:
“I don’t really have much of a comment about the French fries. I don’t think the French fries illustrate that much about her character. I don’t think that’s the only example of contradictions in M.I.A.’s life.”
Haha! Ridiculous, right?!
Well aside from Truffle-gate, the main reason many people may know Lynn Hirschberg’s name is due to her screen tests with famous actors, all of which can be found on YouTube.
Beautifully shot in black and white, these are mini-interviews with a huge variety of stars including Natalie Portman, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Lena Dunham and Michael Fassbender, to name but a few. As ever, we know the interviews are conducted by Hirschberg, we appreciate the questions being asked but we can neither see nor hear Hirschberg herself. The interviews play out as mini monologues, retaining the poignant silences at the end of an emotionally heavy declaration or zooming in on the deep, sad eyes of a perfectly imperfect celebrity.
The timeless elegance and captivating focus of these videos can only be the work of one woman.
This is Lynn Hirschberg.