04 Jun 19by Webmiss
Cosmo — Aubrey Plaza Is Cosmo’s July Cover Star, and She’s Gonna Eat You Alive: It’s not her boundary-pushing characters or her refusal to sell out—it’s the fact that she’s openly, obsessively, brazenly focused on making it to the top. And if you get in her way, she’ll swallow you whole.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, Aubrey Plaza was at one of her first real magazine photo shoots. Her memory is not great, she admits, so I help her cobble the scene together: It was a characteristically pleasant day in Santa Monica, at a hotel with a pool in the center of a small courtyard.
“Oh my god, right,” she says. “YES.” It was a Young Hollywood–themed shoot, with about a dozen actors assembled for pictures and speedy interviews. At this point in time, 24-year-old Aubrey had already filmed one of her first movie roles, as the stand-up comedian Daisy in Funny People, and her first regular TV gig, as the perpetually unimpressed intern April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, but neither had been released.
She was pure potential energy that day—nobody knew who she was yet. Except for me, kind of, because I was supposed to be the one interviewing her. “I remember being really scared,” she says. “And insecure. All the other actors had people with them and I didn’t have anyone. I was alone, wandering around, like, ‘Is this where I’m supposed to be?’”
In the years since Parks’ series finale, Aubrey’s done films like the social media send-up Ingrid Goes West and the FX show Legion. She also starred in and coproduced the oddball indie The Little Hours, about rogue nuns, which her boyfriend, Jeff Baena, directed. More recently, she hosted the Independent Spirit Awards, which could have just been a standard gig but in her hands came alive. It unleashed a side of Aubrey that’s been building up for the past few years.
“My brain just exploded,” she says. “I went psycho style.” “As in, swinging for the fences?” I ask. “Oh, yeah. Constantly in arguments with the producers, being like, ‘I need more money! You need to send a car for Sharon Stone! Don’t fuck me on this!’” She laughs. “I turned into a monster.” This is 2019 Aubrey: hyper-focused, intense, inspired. She grows more excited talking about it and draws closer. She slides a fry off my plate and takes a bite, then informs me that she’ll now be eating more of my fries. “Once I produced something and I realized how much of an impact I can have, I could never go back,” she says. “Now I’m, like, fucked, because I’ve always gravitated toward more of a leadership position in whatever I’m doing. For Child’s Play, I wasn’t a producer, but I was acting like it—watching the monitor when other people were doing their scenes when I should have been in my trailer relaxing or something.”
“I’m entering a space right now where it’s like I’m so used to relying on this patriarchal idea of waiting around for someone to say, ‘You’—some brilliant man. I still have that voice inside my head that wants that,” she says. “But it’s like, I’m 34. I can do it myself. All the people who are my heroes created their own things. I’m ready to do that. I’m sick of doing other people’s shit. I want to do my own shit.”