We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharon Lennon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharon, is there something you believe many others might not?
Conventional wisdom will tell you that hard work always wins. Not true. Sometimes it wins, but for many people – especially marginalized folks who bump up against all kinds of barriers – resourcefulness, grit, social networks, playing many cards all at once and savvy workarounds are the keys to success. All of that and perserverance. In the face of rejection, you need to be a phoenix.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been drawn to poignant and pivotal moments in people’s lives that have some humor or dark absurdity embedded in them. I’m constantly mining my own life for that as well. Life can take some surprising hairpin turns. It can lead you down some dark paths. In those moments I feel lucky to be a writer, because I have someplace to put all this stuff. I’ve written speeches, book reviews, PSAs, but it’s no wonder that my main focus has always been tv and film with a dramatic spine and character-driven humor, surprising storytelling, complicated psychology, relationship and family dynamics, and abhorrent behavior. I love me some abhorrent behavior. I always say, I’m a collaborative workhorse with a sense of humor. I graduated from high school by the skin of my teeth. I spent many of my days in detention and writing an ongoing story with my best friend whom I’d also fallen in love with. It was all very tragic and poetic and insane. Think of the movie Heavenly Creatures without the murder. Once I graduated, I bought three newspapers every day – The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today – and read them front to back. I saw films in revival theaters, studied psychology, politics, history, social justice, etc. I’m self-educated and have worked my ass off for minimum wages and in white collar offices. I’m always overjoyed to be paid to make shit up for a living.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I feel a little protective of “my places,” well, because they’re mine. Or so I like to think. But here are a few, meaning four: Any hotel that was built before 1969. I’m overjoyed just to roam the hallways! The Hollywood Museum, which is in the old Max Factor building. It’s one of my favorite places in LA. In non-global pandemic times, I love to sit in a dimly lit lounge with a vodka martini or an old-school Sidecar and an attractive woman and listen to classic jazz. I kid you not. Pasadena and Huntington Gardens, because as a New Yorker going there makes me feel like I’m on vacation, even though I’m not.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My loudest shoutout is always to my closest friends – the women and men who remind me of my potential, who hoist me up when I’ve tripped and fallen, whose creativity inspires me and who love me like family. They know who they are, because I tell them. The person who doesn’t know how profoundly I appreciate her is my agent, Liz Orr at Buchwald. This woman has been such a bright spot for me. Not just as an agent, but as a human. She’s deeply empathetic and great company to keep, and that’s been a revelation for me.
Joanna Degeneres Photography