For someone who has fueled so many headlines, Courtney Stodden's life has been pretty controversy-free.
Yes, her marriage to 50-year-old actor Doug Hutchison at age 16 painted a tabloid target on her back; subsequent appearances on VH1's Couples Therapy, Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother, and Vivid's Courtney Uncovered: The Courtney Stodden Sex Tape only gave that target fresh coats of paint. But Courtney has never been involved in a drug scandal, and the paparazzi have never caught her midway through a public meltdown. She's even self-aware enough to poke fun at her célébrité, as evidenced by a 2012 Funny or Die video.
The point is that Stodden has always presented herself as being in control of her narrative, and that's why a new clip posted on her website is so jarring. In it, we find the 21-year-old—usually dolled up like the Skipper to '90s Pamela Anderson's Barbie—with her liquid eyeliner smeared and her clothes tattered, slurring her way through a Southern accent.
Don't worry, it's just for a role. (Or "for a roll," as 2007 Britney might say.) In an effort to improve her acting skills, Courtney has begun doing character studies with an instructor. This particular character, who she has named "Tamra Munn," is a sex worker from the streets of Oklahoma—a far cry from the California life Stodden leads with her husband and two dogs.
Fusion caught up with Courtney over email to get some insight into this character study of hers and what it means as far as future projects are concerned.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Fusion: Before we get started, I have a dumb question. What kind of dog is Cupcake?
Courtney Stodden: Awww, Cupcake is a micro mini Maltese! Isn't she the sweetest?! She's a little over 3 years old. We also have have an Italian Greyhound named Dourtney, and he's almost 4. They're our little children—spoiled rotten!
How's your husband, Doug? You two ended up renewing your vows last year, right?
Doug's doing great, and so are we! We're very much in love. We haven't renewed our vows yet, but we plan to in the not too distant future.
How would you describe the character you play in this new video?
Tamra Munn lives on the streets of Oklahoma City. She's been addicted to crack cocaine for most of her life. Her mother was also a drug addict and used Tamra as a prostitute when she was a child to support her habit. Consequently, Tamra developed an addiction to crack cocaine and continues to use and live in the streets as a homeless prostitute.
You mentioned doing online research about crack-addicted sex workers on your site. Did you have the character in mind already or did the reading online inspire you to create her? Chicken or the egg?
I stumbled across a handful of YouTube videos depicting the tragic lives of women like Tamra. I became fascinated by their sad stories and how they ended up in the streets attempting to survive. Their predicaments touched my heart.
How did you figure out Tamra's physicality? Her voice?
I studied one woman in particular—her mannerisms, speech, and physicality. [Ed. Note: Perhaps she's the woman in this video, who also says that she "did crack up until six days ago."] I decided to start attempting to take on her persona. I'm a nonsmoker, but, since I decided that Tamra smokes, I incorporated smoking a cigarette, as well.
How did you figure out her look?
I shed the entire "blonde bombshell" image—that took about three weeks! I had to grow out my roots, tweeze my eyebrows, find clothes at a secondhand store that I distressed, and I also did my makeup five days before shooting the scene so it appeared as authentic as possible.
I used the women I researched as templates for the look and then applied different physical attributes from each onto myself. I still wanted to keep her real and didn't want Tamra to come off as a caricature or a stereotype.
You mention Marilyn Monroe's acting in the blog post promoting your character study video. What's your favorite movie of hers?
Definitely The Misfits. Hands down!
Based on your Instagram feed, Marilyn seems to be a major inspiration for you right now.
Marilyn is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. Not just because she was fun, beautiful, and sexy, but because of her talents. She wasn't all that respected back in her day, nor was she idolized. Yes, she was the "dumb blonde," and everyone treated her as such. But, deep down, she was brilliant, and an amazing actress.
Are you hoping to get into acting? Is your Tamra Munn character for a specific project?
I've been studying with an amazing teacher. Tamra is one of my exercises in exploring character acting. These are the kind of roles that intrigue me. I plan on continuing to study.
Do you have any other film or music projects you're working on right now?
Always! Stay tuned…
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.