Danielle Macdonald has something to slay. Of course, theres her coming-of-age film Patti Cake$, which the 26-year-old Aussie actress crushes with credible virtuosity during her entire scenery-chewing run as an aspiring rapper, Killa P, working hard to beat the odds. The indie premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance and subsequently propelled the newcomer to Hollywoods ones-to-watch list. But Macdonald, who earned minor screen cred for starring in Ryan Murphy property, such as Glee and American Horror Story, is busting out in a big, gay way.

Meet Macdonald here, and check out what she had to say about the message she hopes her new film conveys to the LGBT community and the drag queens who play a major role in her upcoming film with Jennifer Aniston, Dumplin.

Youre credited as Girl No. 1 on an episode of Glee. What was your experience being on that show?

It was my first-ever TV credit. It got me my SAG card! So, Im super grateful for it. Id done one short film before that, but aside from that, it was my first big set experience. It was a lot of fun, honestly. Everyone was really great and super welcoming.

Whos everyone? Did you get to meet Ryan Murphy?

I did not get to meet Ryan Murphy, which is funny because Ive done Glee and American Horror Story and Ive not met him yet. I never do his episodes, apparently! (Laughs)

But the producers and the writers and whole crew were really great, but then I was also working with Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith and Ashley Fink. It was a really cool experience, actually. I had so much fun that day. It was in the episode Born This Way.I loved that episode. It was the only hour-and-a-half-long episode they ever did, and it was about loving yourself.

Similarly, Patti Cake$ is about embracing yourself. Does that message of authenticity resonate with you?

Definitely. I think you just have to own who you are and love who you are because, I mean, its your life. I think that a lot of people can relate to Patti who you wouldnt necessarily think would. When I first read the script, I was like, Oh my god, she is so different from me; this is gonna be so hard.It was because I had to learn a lot of things to be able to become her, but after I looked deeper, I kind of stopped myself and said,Lets go through it again,and I really do relate to her in a lot of ways. Its a coming-of-age story, and about figuring out who you are, and that can be really hard for a lot of people.


Was it hard for you?

Yes and no. I think Im quite a stubborn person, so that helps (laughs). Ive always owned who I am and been fairly comfortable in my own skin, and its definitely gotten easier with age – thats a shock. As a teenager you cant help but have your insecurities I mean, everyone has them – but I always had good people around me; that helps so much.

Were some of those people gay people?

Its funny, because growing up, no! I dont think there was anyone who was out in my year in high school, which is astounding to me because there were in other years, just not in my year. That was really kind of crazy. I know that thats not the case anymore. I know thats changed and some of the people I was friends with definitely have come out since.

Why do you think you didnt have many gay friends? Australia seems progressive, aside from the fact that theyre still not on board with marriage equality.

Which is actually creepy because by far the majority of the population want it, which is the most insane thing. It absolutely blows my mind that it hasnt happened yet. Theres been a lot of changes in government since I moved away. I moved away seven years ago and I think weve gone through five prime ministers or something. Its been pretty crazy there, like topsy-turvy with that. And I think that has something to do with it. But its gotta happen.

It wasnt a thing when I grew up. My parents had gay friends, so that was completely normal to me, always. The moment I moved to L.A., oh yeah, definitely. I was like, Yeah, these are my people.My best friends are gay, my managers are. Theyre like family. I feel very at home and comfortable with them.

How often do gay men ask you if you personally know and have had tea with fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue?

I mean, the first time I met my manager he didnt ask me if I knew her, but he was like, I love Kylie Minogue,and I was like, Of course you do. Kylie is awesome.I havent actually been asked if I personally know her. I definitely do not personally know her; that would make me far too cool.

What was the most challenging part of inhabiting Patti?

I mean, when I first read her I didnt understand the world she comes from because I grew up in a very different place. It was a different accent, a different culture. She was interested in different things than me, different relationships with her family, friends; just everything about her that she experienced was different. But then, I also was like, OK, wait a minute; shes a girl that is trying to fit into an industry that she doesnt fit into.Naturally, I can relate to that. I can relate to her passion and the drive and the love that she has for her friends and family. Those were all things I could relate to. But then I had to learn to walk differently and talk differently and rap and experience New Jersey get that vibe – so that it felt second nature.

Did you have any female rappers in mind while playing her?

I definitely listened to a bunch. When I was going through the process of really trying to learn how to rap, I listened to so many people. I practiced everyone. Some of the female artists were Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott and Leikeli47, and also a lot of up-and-coming female rappers that I found on YouTube. Sometimes friends would send me links, sometimes I would just Google rap battles between female rappersand it was really cool to watch those. But I tried a lot of different songs by a lot of different artists both male and female to see the kind of badass boss attitude that they have. I was like, OK, yeah, they have this confidence that I dont think I have.When I was getting up on stage, I was like, I dont know if I have the confidence to do this because also you have to be confident in a skill that you dont know, which is really intimidating, but it was also very freeing.

In the film, Patti is empowered through daydreams she has of O-Z, her rap idol. What was your musical escapism growing up?

As a teenager, it was a lot of emo and punk rock. I listened to a lot of Blink 182, Green Day, Good Charlotte and Sum 41. The lyrics are very depressing, but its what you relate to as a teenager. As a teenager, youre like, They get me!

Have you played a gay role yet?

Ive auditioned for a bunch! I dont think I have, though, which is kind of crazy. I dont know why I never get them! (Laughs)

What about those roles spoke to you?

I mean, theyre just human beings with stories. I like seeing people with real stories, that is really what appeals to me. Thats what appealed to me about Patti Cake$ as well. I dont feel like we see this story very often. And thats generally how I feel. I dont wanna see something that we always see I wanna see a story about a real person and their real struggles.

Youll be working with director Anne Fletcher and Jennifer Aniston on Dumplin, another female-focused film. What does it mean to you to be a part of female-driven films?

Im so excited about that. Ive been fortunate to work with a lot of female filmmakers and really just a lot of strong women, which is amazing. And Im really excited about Dumplin as well because these characters learn how to be strong through drag queens. Its based on a book and they go to a bar and learn empowerment from these drag queens and how to get through this beauty pageant.

How are you feeling about going to makeshift drag bars when it comes time to shoot?

Im so excited about that. I was like, Yes! This is everything I want.Ive read the book and I relate to this so much. I feel like this is gonna be almost cathartic to me in a way because its something I wouldve really loved to see as a teenager growing up. It speaks to teenage me.

Going back to Patti Cake$, what do you hope LGBT people take away from the movie?

I hope that they take away self-empowerment. People will try to put you in a box, but do your own thing and people will love you for it.

As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. Reach him via his website at and on Twitter (@chrisazzopardi).