Fuse is celebrating Pride Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future LGBTQ History before our eyes. While Sarah Paulson is nowhere near a stranger to Hollywood, the way actress tackles her roles is what makes her so damn brilliant.
The Tampa, Fla. native found her footing in acting after moving to New York City with her mother as a child, where she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Paulson didn't waste any time jumping into her first role post-high school on Law & Order. From there, her career took off with television and film appearances in What Women Want, Down With Love, New Year's Eve, 12 Years a Slave, American Gothic and Jack & Jill. Yet it was a certain series co-created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk that propelled Paulson into stardom.
The actress made her mark as medium Billie Dean Howard in 2011's American Horror Story: Murder House, the first season in the classic FX horror anthology series. Paulson later went on to star in AHS roles that gave rise to a strong fan base and some of the most memorable characters of the series: Asylum as Lana Winters, Coven as Cordelia Foxx, Freak Show as Bette and Dot Tattler, Hotel as Sally McKenna and Roanoke as Shelby Miller/Audrey Tindall.
And of course Paulson is confirmed to star in the upcoming Season 7 of AHS (click here for our complete guide), which will be election-themed. She's become notorious for surviving every season as she turned into an AHS series regular. Without her, the show would not be able to carry on as strongly as it as thus far. The various appearances in the show led the actress to remain in Murphy's wild television universe, playing the award-winning role of Marcia Clark in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Geraldine Page in Feud: Bette and Joan.
But along with her kickass display in the likes of American Horror Story, what makes Paulson so admirable is the genuine love she has for her co-stars (she recently bought Emma Roberts' home!) and her girlfriend of two years—actress Holland Taylor. “I must say it has to be part of what has to be the most wonderful thing in my life, is the whole embrace of this wonderful relationship which makes everything else makes sense," Taylor said of her partner on Sandra Bernhard's Sandyland radio show in January. I’m the luckiest person in the world. I can’t talk about my life today and not mention this wonderful love.”
Paulson finally won her first Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie last year after being frustratingly nominated five times prior without taking home the award. In her emotional speech, she thanked Marcia Clark (whom she portrayed in The People v. O. J. Simpson), Ryan Murphy and Taylor. When asked by The Guardian if she felt part of that collective win for gay women in TV, she responded:
"It’s a complicated thing to talk about. The issues this raises are big and important, I don’t want to give superficial answers. In terms of my speech, I wanted to say I love you to the person I love. Everyone else does it, so should I not do it because the person I love is a woman? And so I thought, you know what? I’m just gonna do it. I wasn’t worried over it. It was a flashing thought—‘should I do it?’. And I thought to myself, ‘The fact that I am having this thought is wrong in the first place.’ The idea that I would have to take a moment before I say this to consider what impact it might have that could be negative, is an asinine thing to engage with mentally, and I refuse to do it. So I just said what I wanted to say."
From her impeccable talent to her wise selection of roles that challenge her boundaries as an actress, and the witty openness she has when it comes to relationships, it's already clear that Sarah Paulson secured her place in the future history of LGBTQ pride month.