Michelle Paradise
Co-Creator, Producer, Writer, Actress Exes and Ohs

I’m asking Michelle Paradise, actress, writer and producer of Logo’s new series, Exes and Ohs, to pick just one talent to bring to a deserted Fire Island. She mulls it over for a few beats then stumbles over words mid-sentence. Nope, can’t do it. It seems a tragedy to have to pick only one. “I honestly would pick writing and acting,” she says. “They are completely different ways to be creative.”

Paradise represents hope for the community of lesbian artists struggling to find some way, any way, to get heard. Rest assured, fellow filmmakers: she paved her own road to success sans agent, manager and Hollywood name. “I’ve always created my own projects and done my own thing.” Paradise says. “I’ve never waited for someone to give me permission to be creative.”

Exes and Ohs, starring Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse) and Megan Cavanaugh (A League of Their Own), premieres October 8th. It’s an adaptation of Paradise’s well-received short film, The Ten Rules, which was inspired by all the stereotypical hoopla surrounding the lesbian dating scene (like bringing a U-Haul to the Second Date). Paradise recalls the moment she decided to plunge pen-first into the rough waters of the entertainment industry, moving from San Francisco to L.A. After reading a friend’s screenplay, “I remember looking at it and thinking, ‘why am I not doing that?'” she says.

While there are times when the reality of the L.A. rat race takes a jab at what Paradise calls, “the entrepreneurial spirit,” this poster girl for creativity says that the key to being successfully self-made is simple: “It really comes back to believing in yourself.” –IJ