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Schitt’s Creek was celebrated for its LGBTQ inclusivity onscreen and messages of acceptance, but it wasn’t just fans who benefited. Star Emily Hampshire says that the show’s famous wine scene, during which her character and Dan Levy’s explain their sexuality through their wine preferences, actually helped her figure out her own identity.
While speaking to Demi Lovato for the latest episode of 4D With Demi Lovato podcast, Hampshire shared that she had never heard the word pansexual before filming that scene with Schitt’s Creek co-star and co-creator Dan Levy. “[David Rose] says, ultimately he likes the wine, not the label, and that he’s pansexual. I had never heard the word pansexual before,” she said. “I’ve always considered myself super knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ stuff just because everybody in my life, my friends, are all mostly LGBTQ+ people, but I didn’t know this.”
That writing, coupled with Hampshire’s own personal relationship at the time, made the actress rethink her own identity. But she said that it wasn’t an immediate shift.
“Cut to about five years later. I was dating someone and I saw on these message boards people being like, ‘Is Stevie a lesbian?’ ‘Is Emily gay?’ ‘Who’s Emily?'” she recounted. “I said to Dan, I was like, ‘This is so weird. What am I?’ Because I truly just fell in love with a person and where they were on the gender spectrum did not matter to me. And since then, it really doesn’t matter to me. I have to like the person. I’m really attracted to a person’s vibe.”
“He was like, ‘You’re pansexual. Don’t you watch our show?'” she added, before sharing that Lovato also played a role in helping her expand her thinking about sexuality and gender identity, including labeling.
“I believe in visibility. I know how important it is,” she said. “On the other hand, my utopian world is like, ‘You don’t have to identify yourself as anything.’ I don’t have to say I’m pansexual, bisexual, anything. I get why we have to now. But also with pronouns, my utopian world would be like, ‘We’re just human.'”
During the conversation, which was posted Wednesday, Hampshire also spoke about entering a treatment center one month ahead of filming for Schitt’s Creek due to an eating disorder, involving diet pills, that she had developed earlier in her career.
“I’d gotten my first TV show in Canada and I did the first season. I was normal. Came back for the second season and I had lost a significant amount of weight and everybody said I looked great. Wardrobe was like, ‘Oh, we can have these clothes on you, and these clothes,'” she explained. “But by the end of the season, they weren’t saying I looked so great. I couldn’t think anymore. I couldn’t remember anything. I was crying all the time and then I got really depressed because my brain wasn’t being fed at all.”
Hampshire then became depressed, which resulted in the actress gaining weight. The show she was working on wrote that in for her character, a move that embarrassed her. “My character’s name was Siobhan and they [wrote], ‘We can’t keep Siobhan away from the craft [services] table’ and there were all these things of me under the craft services table stuffing my face, doing all this stuff. I was so embarrassed.”
The Schitt’s Creek star said that the experience was difficult, but it also helped her “learn comedy in a really hard lesson way.” It also opened doors to roles outside of the girlfriend character, because the only roles available for were the “funny” roles. “I got more character parts. I was no longer the girlfriend — and I was always [previously cast as] the girlfriend, the pretty girl. I can see in retrospect, that I might have purposely ruined my looks because I didn’t like that always being a focus.”
Ultimately though, going into treatment helped Hampshire, even if she isn’t sure it “cured” her eating disorder. “I can’t say that it cured my eating disorder but it made me find a ‘self,’ or even know that I had a self in me,” she said. “I learned who I was by going to auditions and looking in the other person and seeing, ‘What do you want me to be?’ And that was very much what I would do even with guys, relationships.”
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