Got a Girl Crush On: Katja Blichfeld Pt. II
>>> Read Pt. 1 here
“…It just has seemed historically like we have seemed more shy about disclosing our pot usage because we already have enough things working against us out there in the world.”
GAGC: I have to ask, what’s the first time you smoked pot? Was it with a girlfriend, was it with boys, was it by yourself?
KATJA: Um, I’m trying to remember. The first time I smoked was with a boy, to impress him, I’m sorry to admit that but, you know, it’s a common story. And I didn’t get stoned. The next time I did get stoned. And it wasn’t to impress a boy. But it was with a boy who was a friend and we used to make trip-hop together…
GAGC: Oh my god…
KATJA: … and it was like that scene in the ‘90s, it was that. We were like let’s watch Bjork’s “Volumen” and be really stoned. Like that’s what was going on. And eating Del Taco late night drive-thru and that kind of a thing. And then I had a really terrible experience shortly thereafter where I ate a hash cookie in Copenhagen and it was one of those times where I had two, and you should have really only have half and a boy dosed me incorrectly and I had a terrible time and I thought I was dying at one point. I thought I should call my mom. I didn’t do that, thankfully, but I thought I should call my mom and say goodbye.
KATJA: I was just like, I’m gone! It was so weird. And then the next day I was still stoned. And convinced I had brain damage. I was a product of the Just Say No generation. I actually used to make anti-drug home movies with friends and stuff like that. It’s actually funny that I ended up doing what I’m doing.
GAGC: Do you still have any of those?
KATJA: My parents do. I really want to dig them up because they’re pretty funny. I think I kind of didn’t smoke again until my kind of early to mid-twenties. And then I was able to handle my shit! I think I first started purchasing it on my own when I was 25. That was like the first time that I called somebody and bought it and wasn’t just mooching off somebody at a party. And to speak to what you were saying about how it seems to be very much just men and boys who are portrayed as potheads in film and TV, I think sometimes too that’s just because women are, it seems like, I mean this is obviously changing, but it just has seemed historically like we have seemed more shy about disclosing our pot usage because we already have enough things working against us out there in the world.
I think that we’re trying to overcome a lot of already annoying stereotypes and terrible holdovers from previous generations and I think that historically women have not wanted to give any ammunition for more oppression. I don’t know! I think there’s a, and this is maybe, this is not scientific or sociological, this is just my stoner ramblings but I just feel that I, when I’m representing myself out there in a professional workplace and wanting to seem the most sharp clear-headed, trustworthy, you know, an expert in my field, I want to feel like I’m being received in a certain way. And I have, on many occasions, thought that if I disclosed that I’m such a stoner that maybe I will be discredited somehow, or if I slip up and make a regular human mistake that someone might say, “She’s a stoner, so of course she forgot that or she messed that up,” you know what I mean? Maybe I’m not doing a great job at articulating it but I do feel like these elements kind of go hand in hand somehow. At least for me, personally. I didn’t really come out confidently as a stoner until I was thirty. But that coincided with a lot of other things in my life—like when I felt confident in my career and I stopped calling my parents for any kind of help, like not even financial but just was like I’m going to figure out how to change that piece of electrical equipment and not going to call my dad, you know what I mean? My thirties were definitely this time when everything flipped and I felt more confident about who I am and owning my behaviors and my personality, and people can just fuck off if they don’t like that I’m a stoner.
GAGC: I think it’s an interesting concept: “coming out as a stoner.” Because that’s the thing, whether on social media or whatever, friends who are female and very successful, they’ll absolutely post pictures of themselves with a bottle of wine or a table full of empty glasses and it’s sort of understood to be OK. Not one of them, and many of them are serious pot smokers, would post a photo of themselves with a joint.
GAGC: In anticipation of this interview I posted a photo that Meg, GAGC’s co-founder, sent me of a woman smoking a mammoth joint, and in doing so I had that pang, like, all of my professional contacts are going to see this. Are they going to think that I’m going to smoke pot all day and is that a problem? And how will that affect me. And it’s not even a picture of me smoking a joint! And even though I consider myself a fairly independent woman, I didn’t start buying my own weed until my thirties. And when I was living with my partner I would make sure that he bought the weed. I would go into the other room; I didn’t want to deal with it.
KATJA: Oh, I’ve done that plenty of times in my life too. Oh, the man will just deal with it, or my boyfriend.
GAGC: For me, and I know for a lot of women, one of the things when I was living alone, was like, do I let a strange man into my apartment while I’m alone? Will my neighbors hear me scream if something happens! Whether that fear is well-founded or not is another thing, but my dealer is a woman, and I feel way more comfortable having a female dealer.
GAGC: And she’s a wonderful, wonderful woman. She has the best haircuts, ever, always—super white blonde close-cropped hair. Not at all like Esme, who is a great send-up, both of female drug dealers and wannabe actor-types. Have you ever had a female dealer?
KATJA: Many of the people who deal to us are female actually. I have had the opportunity a couple times in life to do that job [be a dealer] and I considered it for like one second and then I was like no way! I wouldn’t want to go into stranger’s homes alone under this premise where you don’t feel like you can call for law enforcement necessarily. I don’t know, you’re both complicit in something illegal. It’s just very dicey prospect and I, ah, yeah. I have a few pretty badass lady dealers that come and I’m always just like Yeah! Hats off to you. You’re doing it. But I would be scared. Terrified. Yeah.
GAGC: So is Esme going to come back? Is there more in store for the Cannabitches?
KATJA: I do want to see them again because I liked them so much and I felt like it was so brief the time we spent with them and that was also my favorite set that we’ve ever made. Our art team was amazing on that one and I was just like that’s all we did? We should have done a whole episode in this coven place, you know?
GAGC: Is Esme based on a real person?
KATJA: She’s based on a lot of people. She’s a composite of like five people.
GAGC: Maybe you don’t want to insult anyone….
KATJA: Well, but she really is. Everybody from like a terrible Pilates instructor that we had to a terrible weed delivery person that we had to some people that maybe aren’t friends anymore. To maybe like every annoying person we’ve ever met. I feel like we’ve all encountered those people who are like, I’m a life coach! Like you are the person that should not, you are the last person… [shakes her head]
GAGC: Do you think women should support female weed dealers? Is that like a feminist directive?
KATJA: I would recommend my service, which I won’t do publicly for their protection. Yeah, I would encourage women to order from the service because why not support more female owned and operated businesses?
GAGC: Speaking of support. I have to ask for all of the girls who have crushes on you right now and are trying to find a way to tell their own stories, what is one piece of advice you would give them in terms of finding a way to get their stories out there?
KATJA: I’ve never taken a traditional path for anything, and I’ve never accepted the rules and regulations of something. I just haven’t. My earliest recollection of this is eighth grade and I just remember there was this science project and I totally didn’t do a science project. I was like, no. I don’t like any of the science projects that you’re presenting to me, and I was really interested in fetal alcohol syndrome and I wrote a huge-ass paper as an eighth grader on fetal alcohol syndrome and made this whole presentation, got a good grade, and I remember the teacher being like, you didn’t follow the instructions though, but they gave me a good grade. And I was like, alright but you can still skirt the rules and do it the way you want to and if you do it, if you do a good enough job, people might let you get by with that.
And I’ve kind of just done that my whole life, I think. I’ve always just tried to find a way that is custom built for me to get where I want to go. I just don’t accept that there is only one way to do things. Like, if you want to tell stories, you don’t have to necessarily go to film school and have someone teach you how to do that. It is helpful and you will maybe get into the industry more quickly but it’s not necessarily going to make you a better storyteller. And I think a lot of people, especially young people, miss out on the resources that are just right in front of them that don’t necessarily feel like resources. Because they think that, you know, you think that you need a lot.
“I’ve never taken a traditional path for anything, and I’ve never accepted the rules and regulations of something. I just haven’t.”
It’s a little intimidating when you think about approaching any sort of creative endeavor. I think, especially as a young person, you might feel like if you’re in a school environment you need to check all these boxes before you can get anything off the ground and I don’t know, I think maybe that’s more my generation. I feel like this generation right now… it’s like a generation of self-taught everything so, I guess I’m talking myself in a circle because I guess, really, the best advice is just do it! And to really believe that your narrative is worthwhile. I would say don’t think about what other people might want to hear. Or what story other people might be interested in. Create something you would want to hear, create something you would appreciate. And trust that your voice is meaningful. Like, your voice is valid and even if you’re young and don’t have a lot of life experience your experiences are still worthwhile and interesting and will be to somebody.
GAGC: We talked a bit about your influences and the women that inspired you. Who is your biggest girl-crush in TV and movies right now. I mean, it can—
KATJA: Oh god! Oh—Jenny Slate. Yeah. She’s my friend. She’s another one of those people that I was like can we be friends, because you’re the best. She’s amazing! And I love everything she does. She just speaks and I feel delighted. And I’ll watch her do anything, listen to her read anything because her voice is amazing. Ah, so yeah, Jenny Slate is my biggest girl crush at the moment in TV and film for sure.
GAGC: One of the things I think that non-pot smokers find so confusing is how many strains there are and the names we give them, from “Girl Scout Cookies” to what was that….”Sweet Cheeks” that you had on the show? So if you had to name a strain after Jenny Slate, what would it be?
KATJA: [laughs] Ah, that’s a good one. How about “Kindest Bud”? She exudes kindness and warmth and is one of the most thoughtful people I’ve met in a long time. She also has a deep desire for other people to be kind. I relate.
GAGC: What would you want your strain to be named?
KATJA: Oh my god, I’m always terrible at these questions. Hmm. For me and Ben, “Swiss Army Knife,” because we use weed for so many reasons: brainstorming ideas, alleviating stress and anxiety, pain management, celebrating— the list goes on.
GAGC: Nice! And before we let you go, what’s next for High Maintenance?
KATJA: Well, next we’re about to start shooting. We’re just finishing up writing the episodes right now and we start shooting at the beginning of October, and I’m super excited. Our crew just exploded and is bigger than it was last summer. Which is exciting, and people are getting paid real money to do these jobs which is the most exciting thing of all.
GAGC: That’s the New York dream!
KATJA: And then all of these wonderful people that have been slaving away all these years, it’s just so cool to be like, fill out your time card! Get paid! Plus this—I was going to say pipe dream but I want to actualize it: we really want to go to Hawaii this summer and rent a house for a couple of months and write the next season. I actually have a couple of ideas for some features, some screenplays that I’m sort of half-working on while I’m doing this. And that’s what’s next!
GAGC: That sounds divine. Thanks, Katja! We can’t wait to see what you do next.