Inside Japonica in Greenwich Village, the actress Parker Posey is seated at the sushi bar, wearing a pink turban, oversized sunglasses, and clogs. The “Queen of the Indies,” as she was known in the 90s, is having something of a resurgence, thanks to one Woody Allen, who cast her in 2015’s Irrational Man as well as his forthcoming Cafe Society, which, it's just been revealed, will open this year's Cannes Film Festival.
But that’s not what we’re meeting to talk about over tuna rolls and mushroom salad. Instead, we’re discussing her newfound and vigorous embrace of social media. If DJ Khaled is the undisputed king of mainstream Snapchat, then Posey, née @parkpose, is his indie analogue. A scroll through her Instagram feed shows screenshot after screenshot of her Snapchats, using all the bells and whistles of the platform, from the facemasks to the text options. For example, the rainbow vomit superimposed with the word “DramaMeme” — a play on Dramamine — or a mask and the text “Insta-Gransom.” (“I am being held captive inside the Internet. Please send ransom,” read the caption, followed by moneybag emojis.)
“I’m kind of a robot in a way. Or a Tron,” says Posey. “I like the two worlds coming together in the Internet space which is so up for grabs.”
Posey's Instagram account has nearly 22,000 followers and 61 posts—the first one took place on February 1, 2016. “Last year, New Year’s Eve, I made a resolution that I would join social media. So I followed through a year later,” she tells me.
Posey was curious about that world—“It all struck me when I heard about Twitter and Instagram, how it’s like notes you pass in class. If someone’s passing you a note, you really should be doing something else and instead you’re like oh, 'What are you doing?'”
But there was also an element of career strategy. After coming to prominence in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused in 1993, playing perhaps one of the screen's most vicious cheerleaders, Posey became a poster girl for the independent film movement of the '90s thanks to her frequent appearances in the work of some of the most notable filmmakers of the era - Linklater, Hal Hartley (she was the indomitable Fay Grim) and Christopher Guest. She even played Mary Boone for Julian Schnabel in his Basquiat. Her apotheosis was as the downtown socialite turned librarian Mary in Party Girl, a movie that's as much an artifact of the period as it is required viewing for anyone wishing to make it as an It girl. From Leigh Lezark to Caroline Vreeland to Ladyfag, they're all borrowing a page from Mary's book. Like, he-he-hello!
Posey transitioned to more lucrative fare in the Aughts - a Nora Ephron movie here, a Superman franchise there; she even managed to rise above the schlock of Josie and the Pussycats. But until the Allen film, she'd been less visible.
Ahead of our meeting, I’d received two emails about the color of Posey’s hair—first noting that it is currently colored blonde, followed up with a clarifying note that it’s actually brunette with blonde highlights. There seemed to be some underlying concern that I wouldn’t be able to recognize the actress, though she’s been in no less than 94 films, according to her IMDb page.
At the restaurant, she was unmissable. Despite what would seem to be a pretty prolific output, she says, “I’m still doing these independent movies for no money, my whole career. It’s shocking but it’s true.”
It’s for this reason that Posey is so interested in new media. She says she’d love to do a movie with Snapchat, or at least make shorts with their “creatures.” “In a way it gives a picture of the universe, of the Internet. And to me, this is like, your digital composite, but you’re also real,” she says.
Before signing up, she took a meeting with WhoSay, the celebrity social media service and branding platform financed by CAA and Amazon.com, who showed her the ropes, like, “What Twitter was and Instagram was and how to product your IP.” Each one of her Instagram posts has a WhoSay watermark and a ©Parker Posey stamp.
“Because now, an actor’s life, is about branding,” she says. “I heard about having Twitter followers maybe five or six years ago. That this is going to be the way that movies are made and things are financed. Because if you’re not doing it, it looks like you don’t care. And I do.”
The Instagram/Snapchat hybrid is her only social media presence so far. But she’s thoroughly enjoying that space.
“[At first] I was little trepidacious and kind of nervous,” she says. “But it’s fun! I’m finding it’s a way of storytelling and being creative and putting together colors and creating harmony and space and I really like that.”
To make her self-portraits, as she calls them, she scans the props, costumes and masks on Snapchat every day. If she likes what’s available, she’ll take a video and store it away so she can think about “what it says. You know, like, the title.” Once she’s got that figured out, she takes a screenshot and posts it to her account when it feels appropriate. At any given time, she has three to four portraits lined up and at the ready.
“I care about being creative, and expressing myself,” she says. “So it’s a relief that it’s satisfying for me—I wasn’t expecting it to satisfy me.”
If she did explore movie-making via social media, what would her films be about? “Of being trapped, of being able to be anyone—a dog, or a space age, in the cosmos. An angel, or a devil or a monster. Or to look at death, you know, like that skeleton [emoji],” she says.
Social media isn’t her only new hobby. She’s collaborating on a jewelry line with Verameat, and doing her own writing. “I’ve been self-creating,” she says. “That’s what it’s about now. [Everyone is] a hybrid. Like a musician that’s also an actor and has a gallery show.”
Does she think there’s a future for her in movies?
“I did the new Woody Allen and the new Chris Guest [films], but I still feel like an outsider,” says Posey. “I just feel too unusual.”
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