Purple Magazine
— F/W 2012 issue 18

Gaby Hoffmann

Gaby Hoffmann

interview by SABINE HELLER
portrait by SKYE PARROTT


Nothing about Gaby Hoffmann’s life can be called conventional. This hardly comes as a surprise, considering that an early birthday gift was a blow-up doll from Andy Warhol himself. Having grown up in the Chelsea Hotel with her mother, the cult Warhol film star, Viva, Gaby was surrounded by a host of eccentric characters, from a German pop singer to her stepmother, the artist Cindy Sherman. Gaby started acting at six to help with the bills and went on to forge an illustrious career, performing alongside some of the world’s most respected actors. Now taking a step back, without straying far from her initial passion, she’s reclaiming lost time and exploring new creative outlets, starting with screenwriting.
SABINE HELLER — Describe your early life at the Chelsea Hotel.
GABY HOFFMANN — It was a happy childhood, with a sense of being in a village. My best friend and I rollerbladed in the corridors and smoked our first joint in the stairwell. There were two crazy hoarders, a German pop star who sang in the hallways, and Sherry Clark, a filmmaker whose apartment was black-and-white because she was obsessed with Felix the Cat.

SABINE HELLER — Your mother was Janet Susan Mary Hoffmann, “Viva” from Andy Warhol’s films.
GABY HOFFMANN — My mom was part of the Andy family and they were attached at the hip for years. Like any family, they were very close and had their ups and downs. By the time I was born, my mom was out of the Factory life, though I do remember Andy’s funeral, and a red plastic blow-up doll he gave me for my birthday.

SABINE HELLER — There is such a cultural fascination with that time.
GABY HOFFMANN — My mother’s era is seductive because it was so well documented. It was the first generation that was obsessively photographed. It has become iconic because it looks iconic on paper and in films. It was also a more intimate experience to live in New York as an artist then.

SABINE HELLER — What’s your relationship to Cindy Sherman?
GABY HOFFMANN — My sister’s father is a video artist called Michel Auder, who used to be married to Cindy. When I was born, my own father wasn’t in the picture, so I grew up spending weekends and summers with them. He was like my dad, and she my stepmom. I am still very close to Cindy; I lived with her for a couple of years when I was a teenager.

SABINE HELLER — What was it like to be a working child actor?
GABY HOFFMANN — We are an expressive and communicative family, I knew I was paying the bills from the get-go and that gave me an early sense of independence. I wasn’t laying bricks, though. I traveled the world and was able to put myself through college and buy a house. My first role was in Field of Dreams, when I was six. I was precocious and loved playing baseball or cards with the guys. I was in love with Ray Liotta and felt sorry for him that he was in love with a six-year-old and could never do anything about it. I would sit on his lap with my little skirt and cowboy boots and flirt with him. He was nice to me and Kevin Costner was an asshole.

SABINE HELLER — Unlike so many actors, writing has always been important to you.
GABY HOFFMANN — Since I can remember, I wanted to go to Bard College to study literature. It was there that I fell in love with film again as an adult and made a movie for my senior thesis. I now know that I want to keep acting and I’m currently writing a screenplay that I plan to direct.


Special thanks to hair stylist Emi Maus, make-up artist Anthea King, and set producer Stephanie McDermott.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2012 issue 18

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple BEAUTY

purple TRAVEL

purple LOVE

purple NAKED

purple PHILO

purple NIGHT

purple WINTER


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