Full-disclosure. I have worked with and known the editor of Los Angeles magazine, the man who wrote this article, Maer Roshan for over 25 years. We met on his prototype gay culture magazine in the 90s called Tribe and later I was his creative director at Radar, as one of my last jobs in publishing before I left to be a full-time artist. So, I’m biased. I like Maer and he is really is a great interviewer. One of those that can get people who are extra-guarded to open up and spill the T.
And I’m doubly-biased (not in a good way) because this article is about the wife of Trump‘s Treasury Secretary, Mrs. Steven Mnuchin, aka Louise Linton. Yes, the one of Instagram infamy who wore gloves at the U.S. Mint in that infamous photo, THAT Louise Linton. I don’t care for her or her husband, but I’ve never met either. So, I have an open mind. Sort of. Ish.
Here in Bel Air, Mrs. Mnuchin is getting made up for this cover shoot and wants to talk about her latest film –one she wrote in two weeks and directed. And stars in. It’s is a campy horror movie called You, Me Madness about a bisexual hedge-fund CEO who kills men for fun and sport. (Maer asks her if it’s autobiographical?)
In person Maer says she is far more laid-back and funnier than her public persona and surprisingly likable. (Well, she IS an actress.)
Louise Linton and Roshan spoke on three occasions in June and after the first meeting she told her publicist not to come back and they talked freely. Here are some excerpts;
Why are you doing this interview? Most people who have received the kind of press you have would lay low for a couple of years.
I did lay low! I was deeply depressed for a while. But it sucks being perceived as a person that you’re not; it sucks being hated. Most people know me for the gloves or the plane or that awful Instagram post. …Look, I made some rookie mistakes. I understand why people are angry about me getting off that government plane tagging fashion brands. It was a stupid thing to do. I get why everyone rolled their eyes at the opera gloves. But this caricature of me is the opposite of the girl I actually am. I run a business; I have several movies coming out. I can’t hide out for another five years.
What possessed you to wear opera gloves to the Mint?
It was the Bureau of Engraving, darling! (Laughs.) You’ve heard of “cold cash” right? They call it that because it’s kept freezing cold there. I was warned ahead of time so I came prepared. But I certainly didn’t expect to be in any photographs. My mistake was when Steven said, “Hey, honey, this is cool; step in this picture. I didn’t say, “Wait a minute, let me take my gloves off, Steven. I look like a crazy person. I look like Darth Vader!” (Laughs.)
I have the high honor of being the only person who has been compared to Marie Antoinette, Darth Vader, and Cruella de Vil at once.
Your Instagram post sealed your image as an out-of-touch elitist. How soon after you posted it did you realize it was a mistake?
Oh, I regretted it immediately after I posted. But once it’s out there, it’s out. I have apologized ad nauseam: I’ve apologized online. I’ve apologized verbally. I have apologized in every single media interview I’ve done since! I don’t know who else I can apologize to.
Believe me I tried! I tried to DM her a personal apology but she had already blocked me. Look, that was bad. I’ve really absorbed the criticism and learned a lot of humility and have grown from all of it. Shit happens; mistakes happen. People grow and move on. That whole Instagram thing happened because I got some bad advice. My advisers at the time were telling me to be glamorous and fashionable. I was looking at actresses I admired, and they all tagged their clothes. I should have realized that what’s good for movie stars doesn’t work for a Cabinet secretary’s wife.
You note that there’s no handbook for people in your position. If you had to write one, what would it say?
Run, don’t walk, straight to the Office of Government Ethics and ask them to take you through their lists of guidelines and rules. There’s thousands of obscure dos and dont’s you need to be aware of. And find someone who understands all the rules for foreign travel. In the beginning I went on trips with Steven, though I always paid for my seat. I no longer go on any government trips at all because the optics are awful.
Tone down your wardrobe. The public has rigorous expectations of you the minute you become the spouse of a Cabinet member. Don’t think that you can go to Washington and dress as an individual. If you want to avoid criticism, you need to be a twin-set-sweater-and-pearls type of girl.
In the middle of all that craziness you got married last June. Was that a good experience for you?
It certainly had its novelties. (Laughs.) If you can put politics aside, getting married by the vice president is…it’s cool. (Laughs.) Having the president attend your wedding, also cool. Going to your wedding in a motorcade is wild. There was this moment when Justice Anthony Kennedy came to offer his congratulations that I thought, “Wow, this is surreal!”
Many of these articles portray you as a kind of gold digger. But you come from a wealthy family, right?
Well…right. My family is very comfortable; I’m very comfortable. But that’s what people love to say, isn’t it? I’ve dated different people from many different backgrounds, and their pocketbook has never interested me. The guy I dated right before Steven hardly had a penny to his name, and he was younger than me by two or three years!
I know you’re a supporter of gay rights. Does it bother you that the Trump administration supports a measure that allows landlords and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people?
Look, all of my besties are gay. I did the Pride Run last year and again this year. Stormchasers was a sponsor! So…I’m caught between a rock and a hard place with these questions. Either I can express my beliefs and be at odds with my husband and his boss and get in trouble that way, or I can decline to comment and be in hot water with everyone else. Sucks either way. I very much respect my husband and the president of the United States, but I am an individual with my own beliefs and views. You should measure me by my actions, the friends I keep and the charities I support, not by the politics of my husband. It’s like walking a tightrope of dental floss in high heels and trying not to fall left or right. I’m just trying to walk the line in a way that isn’t going to piss anybody off.
And what did you do about that? Your proximity to power gives you an outsize ability to change things. Instead of posting on Instagram, did you ever think of just calling the president?
It doesn’t work like that. Look, when I went to D.C. I thought I would have an incredible platform to help animals. I’m not a fan of the service industry; I’m not a fan of puppy mills; I’m not a fan of many things that are governed by the USDA and the Department of the Interior. So I went to several meetings thinking, “Oh, great! I can now lobby influential people against the military’s practice of testing ammunition on live animals. Maybe I can convince [former Defense] Secretary Mattis, whom I adore, over dinner.” But I realized very quickly that there were huge limits to what I could do. Cabinet spouses are not allowed to lobby other Cabinet members. It’s against the rules.
Where do you see yourself when this is over?
I’m already at work on my next screenplay. It’s loosely based on my own life, the working title is Celebrity. It’s gonna be a fun sort of Kill Bill, Tarentino-esque, revenge story about a young actress who has a psychotic break and ends up going out for revenge on all of the meanie reporters and trolls that stalk her on the internet. It’ll be a comedy of course.”
When Maer first posted the link to this story on Facebook, a friend posted the meme,
“Stop Making Stupid People Famous”
You might not like her but this woman isn’t stupid, and she was already famous, so TOO LATE.
You can read the full interview here. And you should, it’s VERY revealing.