Why She’s Interesting: Since transforming How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’ rom-com sidekick into a relatable human, Hahn has done it all: nimbly improvising her way through Step Brothers, scoring an Emmy nomination for her stint as a rabbi on Transparent, nabbing a franchise with Bad Moms and providing quietly observed pathos in dramas such as Afternoon Delight and This Is Where I Leave You. Now in her 40s, the Cleveland Heights native is grabbing some of her juiciest leads yet with upcoming HBO comedy Mrs. Fletcher and Netflix indie Private Life.
Curtain Call: After scoring her first on-screen gig as a child actor on WKYC’s Hickory Hideout, Hahn was a Cleveland Play House Curtain Puller, acting in youth productions with Case Western Reserve University graduate students. Days at the theater were punctuated by treks across the street to Burger King for a chicken sandwich or “healthy snacks” like a Snickers bar shared in the backstage dark. “That was a pretty magical thing and really cemented something clearly for me as a performer. That’s my idea of a holy space. Where I fell in love with theater is Cleveland Play House, in the backstage area.”
Pounding Pavement: Hahn returned to Cleveland ahead of 2018’s midterm election to canvass for Planned Parenthood Votes Ohio. The actress knocked on doors alongside volunteers in Lakewood and Cleveland’s West Side. “I knew that there were candidates that were really threatening women’s reproductive rights in pretty major ways, especially in Ohio. I found canvassing to be something valuable and active to do, rather than twiddle my thumbs and hope over here in California.”
Private Strife: A dark dramedy, Private Life follows a 40-something couple struggling to conceive. Hahn, whose obstetrician called her a “geriatric mother” when she became pregnant in her mid-30s, thinks many of her character Rachel’s frustrations were born from “a bill of goods” sold to women about their fertility timeline. “It’s incredibly expensive, emotionally and actually. A lot of women and men suffer infertility in silence and shame.”
Creative Stride: People told Hahn she’d “miss her ingenue years” when she decided to go to Yale School of Drama at 27. “I remember being like, ‘That’s insane!’ ” Now at 45, she’s defying Hollywood’s ageist wisdom, nabbing the title role in The Leftovers’ Tom Perrotta’s new show Mrs. Fletcher and landing some of her most complex leads more than 20 years into her career. “There’s still an old-school ageism that success and youth are somehow tied together, at least for a long time it’s been that way for women. That’s all external though, and it’s bullshit.”
Hometown Pride: A proud Clevelander, Hahn worked with fellow North Coast native Molly Shannon in Private Life. The two gave a proud shout-out to The Land when they appeared on Good Morning America. She signs off from our interview with a warm request. “Give that city a big hug from me!”
Three and Out:
What’s making you laugh right now?
I hate to be totally honest, but there’s not a ton to laugh about right now. My kids continue to make me laugh, but that’s probably it.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
We went to Uganda on a safari, the four of us, and that was a pretty adventurous thing to do for a trip. My family and I have never done anything like that before. That was a once-in-a-lifetime, amazing trip that we just kind of held hands and jumped into.
What’s inspiring you right now?
I look at my kids and I look at other children, and those women that I was able to canvass with in Ohio, and the optimism and passion that they had. They were so clearly smart, so active and well-versed, so smart and so woke, and kind and all of those things.