Emmy Rossum in “The Breakdown”

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For the new limited series Angelyne, Emmy Rossum, executive producer and star, dons a blonde wig and hot pink clothing. In the 1980s, Angelynes’ larger-than-life character propelled her to cult fame and blanketed billboards all over the city of angels.

To convey the story, Rossum acquired hundreds of hours’ worth of footage and pictures of Angelyne and studied her voice and demeanor. She derived her description of one of Los Angeles’ most enigmatic images from the name because she loved etymology.

I had a way of analyzing her name for myself that I never actually shared with anyone; it was kind of like a private prayer I would say before we began. At a fork in the road, Im reborn a messenger of God,’ she added when I translated her name. I really feel that Angelyne embodies what Los Angeles needed: a bright pink light, a beacon of hope, a sense of mystery and magic, and someone who could bring you joy in a desolate wasteland of concrete and dreams. And I firmly believe that her hot pink appearance there provides people delight, making it somewhat of a divine deed.

The model for what we now refer to as an influencer is Angelynes cult-like following. When she was most well-known, the hot-pink-clad persona made appearances in movies, TV shows, and music videos just for the sake of being the blonde wearing hot pink. The power of Angelynes to shape and manage her own identity in a society that forbids it appealed to Rossum as we continue to define our relationship with identity.

She is rather akin to this unicorn. According to Rossum, she embodies everything amazing about Los Angeles. Her ability to retain the secrecy of her true identity for decades while simultaneously holding onto her status as a cult figure in a town like Los Angeles that is notoriously fickle is what makes her so fascinating.

Watch Emmy Rossum’s interview with The Breakdown, which discusses how she gave Angelyne’s narrative new life, above.

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