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What’s Your Moxie?: An Interview with Director Amy Poehler and ‘Moxie’ Stars Hadley Robinson and Lauren Tsai

Moxie girls fight back! Find out more about the new 'coming of rage' teen flick in this interview with the director and the stars of ‘Moxie.’

Was there anything that each of you wished you could change about your high school experience?

Hadley Robinson: Yeah! It’s so funny because you asked that question and I think immediately, ‘Oh, what would I change about myself?’ It’s not the environment. And I guess that’s all you have control over in a way, or at least how I felt. But I think the first thing that came popped into my head is that, it would just be giving myself the advice to just be fully me. I restricted myself a lot out of fear and I think there was a lot of missed opportunity that came from that. And it came eventually, but there were a lot of moments where looking back, I thought there was a lot of shame around just being yourself, like what Lauren was talking about. And I just truly wished that I had embodied the full me just truly.

Hadley Robinson as Vivian, Nico Hiraga as Seth
Hadley Robinson as Vivian, Nico Hiraga as Seth
NETFLIX © 2020

Lauren Tsai: I felt like for high school too, I spent most of those years building a very small box for me to then live inside after I graduated high school. Of kind of figuring out, Oh, this is what I should be like, and this is what I should look like and sound like, and these are the kinds of things I should do. And I think that I wouldn’t change anything though. Cause I think like the hardships and everything made me realize how good it feels to be myself when I am being myself. I’m glad that I, I know how empty it feels when you’re not yourself, but I think I would just try to remind myself that to fail is something to be proud of. And to really try more things and be crazy and stupid. Not just while you’re young, but your whole life. Like the idea of being young, I think we don’t have to worry about time. We just have to worry that we’re present in it. That’s it.

Amy Poehler: Ooh, Lauren, that is deep.

Lauren Tsai: [Laughs] Yeah. I said that and I was like, I like that one!

Amy Poehler: That’s good for your TED talk. [Laughs]


Amy, you’ve called Moxie, a ‘coming-of-rage’ film, which I think describes it perfectly. A lot of people, especially young women when we discover or understand feminism and sexism for the first time, we’re filled with a lot of that rage, a lot of that anger, and it actually never goes away. But to you, how important was it to inject that, that anger and that rage and the film, while still keeping the tender parts super tender, the loving part still loving?

Amy Poehler: You know, female anger is really still a very undiscovered territory. It’s either made fun of or minimized or pathologized. Like, you’re just like a sociopath in the woods, you know, killing people with swords. [Laughs] And it’s a fuel. It’s a real fuel. When you’re feeling angry about something, it’s your body and your mind telling you that you care about something. And then, you know, we often don’t encourage young girls to be angry, to get to express it, to get to feel it even. And so sometimes half the battle as a woman in life is to even identify that that’s the feeling. Cause we often mask it with other things: with irritation, with tears, with, you know, with frustration, all these words.

But we’re just purely angry. We’re angry at the stuff that’s been handed to us. We’re angry at the opportunities that are taken from us. We’re angry at the way we’ve been treated, and we’re angry at the lies that we are sold when we realized the truth. Anyone that has little kids, when little kids realize they’ve been fooled, they get really upset. It’s a very primal thing, which is, told me one thing, but that’s a lie. And women have to learn that over and over again in very small ways. It’s a lot of brutal cuts. I think that it was fun for everybody to get in touch with that. We had, we had a moment where everybody got to scream. And we had a day in the woods. Hadley had a day in the woods where she just screamed at a bunch of trees for a whole day!

Hadley Robinson: It felt great!

Amy Poehler: Felt great! [Laughs] I would recommend that to anybody if they ever feeling like particularly blue.

Lauren Tsai: The best!

Amy Poehler: The trees can take it!

Moxie - Vivian and Lisa
Nico Hiraga as Seth, Amy Poehler as Lisa/Director/Producer, Hadley Robinson as Vivian
NETFLIX © 2020

The movie shows that a girl revolution can come in different shapes and sizes, in different forms. I’m wondering for all three of you, what kind of a Moxie girl are you in real life, and how do you fight back?

Hadley Robinson: I think I’m very similar to Vivian. It’s ironic because I’m an actor, but I’m better at listening and computing information, processing, and then maneuvering beneath the system and trying to make moves from there. I also like bringing people together. I think that’s a huge way to show Moxie. I love just like trying to get a huge group of people I care about together ,and then to start conversations. I think that’s really important. I like to bring up ideas that maybe other people wouldn’t feel as comfortable bringing up. That tends to be my move.

Lauren Tsai: For me in terms of like that feeling of Moxie and rebellion has always been with a piece of paper for me. I’ve always felt very comfortable alone in my room at my desk, and I really believe that people can change the world from their desk if they’re being honest with themselves. I feel like I’ve always been very angry and dark in my work, but I want to be that though, especially for all the women who always feel like they’re never gonna be as important as their male counterparts, so they have to work harder. Or people are going to always tell them that they’re not real because of this or that. I want to keep going. And I think that for me, putting all of that into my work is my form of rebellion.

Amy Poehler: I think there’s all different types of Moxie. I think the kind of Moxie girl, you are is so specific to you. And I think the way I try to inhabit that is to remember that. That there’s no one way to tell a story, and there’s no one person that should tell it. And that the older you get, part of your work to do is to stop talking in a way to unlearn a lot of stuff. To stay flexible to change and to stay connected. Don’t check out, you know? If you’re afraid to get it wrong, then you may never do anything at all. So the doing of the thing is the thing. And keep trying, keep chipping away in whatever way you can.


A film directed by Amy Poehler, Moxie premieres on March 3, only on Netflix.

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Movie Info

Comedy, Drama, Musical

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