Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind...
A Touch of Mink: A chat with Fabu-lush Mink Stole
Expanded Edition of the 5-30-07 WCT Interview
by Richard Knight, Jr.
The dolled up glamorous Mink Stole and in Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds with her on-screen son, Jim Verraros
WINDY CITY TIMES (WCT): The first thing I have to tell you is that my sister’s married name is Hinkle (laughs).
MINK STOLE (MS): You’re kidding!
WCT: So every time I hear Kathleen Turner ask “Are you insane?” in Serial Mom and you say “No I’m not you motherfucker” I think
of my sister whose name is Marti Hinkle.
MS (laughing): Marti Hinkle. You know it’s not the prettiest name, is it?
WCT (laughs): It is not – though she’s a dear. Can we immediately talk about your playing scenes with Kathleen Turner in Serial
MS: I loved Serial Mom. I was terrified to meet Kathleen Turner because I had heard…well, first of all, she was the biggest movie
star I’d ever worked with. I also knew that she had wanted somebody else to play my part. So I was like, “uhhh.” I got called out
to the set for a hair and makeup test and I wasn’t prepared; I didn’t have my contact lenses and I’m blind as a bat and I’m sitting
in the makeup chair and can’t see a thing and all of a sudden this Presence leans over my shoulder and says (imitates) “Hi, I’m
Kathleeeeeen” and I’m like, “Hi, hi, please don’t hit me.” I didn’t say that actually but that’s how I felt. Then a little while later I
was standing outside the trailer and my hair was done and I was in a costume and Dot was a spiffy dresser.
WCT: Yes she was. She’d been to that Fashion Bug a few times.
MS (laughs) Right! And Kathleen walked over and says, “Wellll you do have a certain…flair.”
WCT: “Well thank you.”
MS: You know she turned out to be really, really fun. We had a good time together. I ended up liking her a lot and she was really
easy to work with. She was a pleasure.
WCT: I think that’s one of John’s best comedies – if I may call him John (as in John Waters).
MS: It’s fine with me (laughs). I call him John.
WCT: It’s one of his movies that has aged really well and really works on you. I think a lot of his movies have that effect.
Certainly after the early ones people had these enormous expectations and I think movies like A Dirty Shame got an unfair drubbing
and I loved it. You’re so great in that because you against type a bit as the sexual neuter.
MS: Kind of. Yes, well, I don’t know. I usually play somebody really uptight.
WCT: Actually that’s true when I think about it. Weren’t you in a little movie, speaking of the big time, called Hairspray?
MS (guffaws): Yes and you know what? I’m really looking forward to the new one. I believe I’m going to be able to go to the LA
premiere which should be a big whoop-di-do because it’s an “A” ticket. They spent a lot of money on it but what people have to
remember – and this is really important – Hairspray the movie is not a remake of Hairspray the movie. The new Hairspray movie is a
film version of the Broadway show. It’s not a direct translation. There’s a HUGE step in-between. So if you’ve seen the Broadway
show then you’ll get it. I haven’t seen it yet but the buzz on it is that it’s good.
WCT: Oprah did the advance show already and she usually doesn’t do that unless she’s really high on the movie. But I have to say
I was a little put off by the show. They’re on there for an hour; she’s got Travolta in front of her. She’s asking all these questions
about what made Travolta take on the part…
MS: What was this?
WCT: John Travolta was on Oprah. They did the whole hour last week, already, on Hairspray. She had on Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer,
Queen Latifah, all the stuff about the musical.
MS: They would not be doing that if they did not expect a hit.
WCT: Right. But they never once mentioned Divine. They never once mentioned John Waters or even Marc Shaiman…
MS (laughs): Who wrote the music!
WCT: Yes! I was like, “What?!”
MS: Well you know it’s not in the actor’s nature generally to talk about anybody but the actor.
WCT (laughs): Right! So let’s get back to you – the hell with Oprah! So – you’re in both Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds and Another
MS: Well I’m actually not in Another Gay Movie. My scene was cut.
WCT: Thank you for clarifying that. I didn’t remember you in the movie.
MS: I played a tranny and it’s funny because I play a tranny called “Sloppy Seconds.” You would’ve remembered it. I’m just really,
really drunk in the men’s room. Apparently the scene is on the DVD. I haven’t seen it. It was just off story; one of those scenes
that was funny on it’s own but didn’t really further the plot and (writer-director) Todd Stephens was really sweet about it. He called to
tell me this had happened and sometimes you know, people don’t tell you and you go to a screening thinking, “Wow, am I really
good?” and then you’re not there.
WCT: Like an Ed Wood moment.
MS (laughs): Yes I know. “I know I was in this, I got the check for $100 dollars.”
WCT: “I cashed it – it cleared!” Well let’s talk about Eating Out 2 for a second because you’re in that very definitely.
MS: Yes I am in it.
WCT: Did I catch that maybe your role is a backhanded tribute to Edie Massey’s part in Female Trouble? You know – the mother who
wants her son to be gay.
MS: No, I never made that connection because I took it straight as a mother coming to understand that the son she’s got is the one
WCT: That’s pretty enlightened.
MS: You know what I mean? I didn’t see it as anything but that. Anytime a child tells a parent something that the parent’s not
expecting to hear then time must be taken for the adjustment. Whether it’s, “I’m gay” or “I don’t want to be a doctor, I’ve decided
to be a rodeo rider.” There’s always going to be (a need of) time for adjustment. I think that was more what the character was. I
think of all the characters in Eating Out 2 mine was the one that had a basis in reality. I think the movie is really fun.
WCT: Yes, it is a fun movie but you’re absolutely right – that’s the character you recognize and say, “She’s real, she could be
MS: She was a little exaggerated but at the same time parents want what makes their children happy.
WCT: True. Did you go through that with your parents? Did you say, “I’m going to star in this movie called Desperate Living…”
MS: My mother was completely convinced for the first few years of my career that I was only doing it to make her life hell.
WCT (laughs): C’mon – you were.
MS: Well I must admit that the fact that it was making her life hell was a nice plus but it wasn’t the end all and be all. It wasn’t the
WCT: You must be a very brave individual. I have to imagine at that time (the early 70s) walking around Baltimore with orange,
carrot colored hair which you wore in Pink Flamingos had to be a real statement.
MS: I was just so used to it. Baltimore at the time was so…you know, anything shocked. Baltimore was an easily shockable town
back then and we all of us enjoyed the fact that we made an impression. I sort of pre-date hippies just a little bit. I’m not old
enough to be a beatnik but I was making a deliberate effort to appear different. I grew up in a really conservative neighborhood –
the matching cardigan sweater to the knee high socks to the plaid kilt – you know what I mean?
WCT: Oh sure, sure. I grew up in a conservative environment as well.
MS: That was my neighborhood. That cashmere and pearls set – which I like wearing now because it’s so “anti” what people expect
WCT (laughs): That’s true.
MS: Oh people think I have purple hair and a bone in my nose. When they see me they go, “Wow, you look normal” and I’m like,
WCT: You’ve collaborated with gay people from Day One and still do – on Eating Out 2 and other films you’ve done for gay directors
and in queer cinema in general – do you just have a special feeling for gay people or do we have an affinity because we’re both
coming from a repressed place? Is there a camaraderie there?
MS: I think that’s part of it. I think that part of the reason that I love gay people so much is because gay people have loved me.
You go where the love is. The first people in my life that ever accepted me for being the person that I was were gay men. So I
have been comfortable in the company of gay men since I was in my late teens and I still am. Gay men make the very best friends
for straight women. The normal conflicts that come up between friends still come up – there’s no guarantee of eternal friendship –
but gay men and straight women can talk about men and we’re not going to fight over them because the guy’s going to either like
one of us or the other – or neither (laughs). It’s not like you’re afraid that your best friend’s going to be trying to cheat on you with
WCT: And as I say to all my straight women friends, “We have that one little or sorta big thing in common” (laughs).
MS: We do love men. I also like women. I’m not a lesbian but I like women and I still count myself proudly as a feminist. I don’t
understand why everybody is so embarrassed by the word. It shocks me, “Oh no I’m not a feminist I just believe in equal rights.”
WCT: Rosie O’Donnell talked about that pretty much daily on “The View” – asking “What’s happened to the feminist movement?”
MS: Especially right now. We’re really in trouble now. We just lost a huge right and that’s horrifying that the Supreme Court has
banned a surgical procedure. I mean this is, “What?!” and it is an act of violence against women. It absolutely is an act of violence
against women that they’ve done this.
WCT: You know when I read about all the plethora – if I may use a word – of creative projects that you’re involved in you’re truly a
renaissance woman. The films, the band, the advice column.
MS: I don’t do the advice column anymore.
WCT: But you did for a long time.
MS: Many years.
WCT: So what have you not tackled that you want to?
MS: I tell people this all the time. I would love to do serious drama. One of the things that I’m sort of intermittently working on –
and I’m a bit of a slacker – is a one woman show that I’ve done and I want to re-create that. That was enormous for me to do;
probably the bravest thing I’ve ever done.
WCT: I bet.
MS: I did it with my band. It wasn’t a concert. I told stories and did songs and I had the band onstage with me but basically the
show either succeeded or failed because of me and that’s scary! You know, you can’t blame it on somebody else’s lines, you can’t
blame it on a bad director; you can’t blame it on a hideous cast. It’s all you babe and I would like to get that back together again.
I also really love the music. I forgot where I was going with this.
WCT: Things you haven’t done yet.
MS: People keep telling me to write a book and I’m not really, really wanting to do that.
WCT: Just not ready yet?
MS: Well, I’m a chatterer. I love talking. I’m not so good at sitting down and writing it out. Some poor person would have to come
over and spend hours and hours listening to me.
WCT: You have to take a page from Judy Garland and just start talking into a tape recorder.
MS: It’s not the same. A tape recorder doesn’t ask you questions. It doesn’t laugh; it doesn’t go, “ooh.” You get no response
WCT: Well you’ve got to line up all the gay celebrity interviewers like myself (she’s laughing at this idea) who are ready to come in
and say, “Okay Mink. When did you...?”
MS: Oh gosh, I can think of nothing I would like less!
WCT: Did you think that you and John Waters would ever be pop icons? Because you are you know.
MS: Well, no. John was always ambitious. John was a very self-motivated person when I met him when I was 18. We’ve known
each other a long time – longer than many of my good friends have been alive. I knew he was really motivated and really self-
directed and incredibly self-confident when I met him. He had that energy, that aura but I don’t think it was until Female Trouble
had an opening in New York that I really saw that this was something. That there was something going on here. I had a great time
making all these movies but to me they were just, you know, movies. In the way tickly back of my mind, in the part you don’t really
acknowledge there was “movie star, movie star” but I wasn’t seeing any of that. Part of me yes, part of me no. It’s been this way
for a long time so I’m used to it.
WCT: That duality of fame versus reality, that idea of (quoting from her character in Hairspray), “This is show business young lady!”
MS: (finishing the quote), “if you think you’re nervous now!” I love that line. I don’t remember if that got into the Broadway play.
WCT: Is your character even there at all?
MS: Yes, it’s a combination of my character and Debbie Harry’s. They got rid of the Sonny Bono character and they made the
mother of the rival Amber Van Tussle or Tuttle work on the TV show. They combined that which makes really good sense.
WCT: Oh yes, but you hate to lose a great line like that. Okay, so you’re an advice expert after having written the column all those
MS: Yes, except I don’t give sex advice.
WCT: Good. That’s Dan Savage’s area.
MS: Exactly and he does it well. I never entered Dan Savage’s arena or Heloise’s (laughs). I used to say, “I can’t tell you how to
get a stain out of a tablecloth and I can’t tell you how to have sex.”
WCT: Well there you go. So what words of wisdom do you have for the gay community, my people?
MS: For your people as opposed to other people?
WCT: Yes. In the midst of this conservative era. What do we do?
MS: Pay attention and keep fighting. Open your mouth and speak. These are really important things. It’s really important that
people open their mouths and speak and stop being complacent. I’m all for gay marriage. I think gay marriage is a wonderful
idea. I also think gay marriages should be allowed to fail just as heterosexual marriages are allowed to fail. I think risk things and
try things but I think the major thing that people have to do is open their mouths and talk. Keep sharing information…
WCT: And not be so complacent as you said. I have to ask you if you have any divine memories of working with the divine Divine
that you’d like to share?
MS: I loved working with Divine. I honestly and truly loved working with him. I trusted him. He was always prepared. He was
always focused. I liked him as a person, I loved him as a human but working with him we had some kind of connection you know
that really showed up and I always knew that if I delivered a line to Divine he was going to deliver it right back to me. There wasn’t
going to be some diversionary tactics – he was never going to try to steal the scene from me or upstage me or take focus and that
meant we got to play scenes that really had some dynamic to them. I mean some of our scenes in Female Trouble are wonderful
because we’re so focused on each other.
WCT (laughs): Oh what a legacy you’re leaving. From Connie Marble to you in bed with Jean Hill and that reminds me – God rest
Liz Renay’s soul, your Desperate Living co-star who passed away in January.
MS: I know, poor babe.
WCT: Poor thing. Are you going to be involved with John’s new Christmas movie for kids?
MS: We haven’t discussed but the fact that I have been in every single feature he’s ever made leads me to believe I will but we
have not discussed it. He doesn’t like to discuss things with his actors beforehand.
WCT: He does the work and then you see the finished script?
MS: Yes. It’s not like he’s hiding things from me. He rarely discusses a script with me before it’s finished.
WCT: But once you’re going is there some discussion back and forth?
MS: There might be but he doesn’t listen to me. “I think he should say this instead of that” he wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t change
WCT: “Is there someone speaking? I can’t hear.”
MS. “I see a lip flapping.” John still watches every comma.
WCT: That’s why he’s John Waters. Okay, last thing: are you still the filthiest person alive or have you cleaned up?
MS: Just by default. Actually right now as I look around my house if I don’t get somebody in here soon I’m going to be the filthiest
person alive for real.