EFF #FLAWLESS: GIRL CODE’S
CARLY AQUILINO GETS REAL
On TV, Girl Code‘s Carly Aquilino comes across as the kind of girl we’d befriend in a heartbeat–smart, stylish, kind and funny as hell. And IRL? Awesomely, she’s just the same. We recently caught up with the comedian while on tour with Plan B One-Step’s #perfectlyimperfect campaign to talk about self expression, life in the spotlight and living the #perfectlyimperfect life.
You’ve been visiting universities with Plan B One–Step® as part its #perfectlyimperfect campaign. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about emergency contraception?
There are a lot of misconceptions about emergency contraception. I’m 24 years old and there were things [about it] that I didn’t know. The survey showed that people thought you couldn’t buy Plan B if you’re not over 18 and I thought that as well. That may have been the case at one point, but things have changed. There are other options and they are more accessible.
On the tour, you’ve also dispelled the #flawlesslife myth. What are a few other ways that life has shown you that what we perceive as imperfections actually trumps being “perfect?”
When I was in high school, I had this thing in my mind, like I had to be like everyone else. As a teen, you have pressure in your school. And I was in high school before social media was a thing. So we didn’t have Instagram and Twitter—these things that keep you connected with celebrities, models and [people in] pop culture. It’s easy to see all these images and think, ‘I have to dress like these people’ or ‘I need this bag or these clothes.’
I was in 10th or 11th grade when I realized this isn’t who I am; I don’t care if people don’t like how I dress. I started dressing like I wanted to and that benefited me in the long run. I started getting into body art and tattoos, dying my hair crazy colors. In high school, people thought I was weird and crazy. But later in life, people appreciate those things.
When I had bright red hair, even old ladies would say ‘that’s so cool,’ when you think they might be more like, ‘ahh, you’re a clown— get away.’ But a lot of people appreciated it people would stop me on the street to talk to me about my hair.
I didn’t realize until Girl Code started airing, that I look different and people were interested in that. When show started airing, people would message me and send email, saying, “I love you are who you are. You inspire me to be myself.” And that’s so cool to hear—and it’s helped me. I’m totally comfortable in my own skin.
Anything you do to express yourself, at the end of the day, there are a lot of people who appreciate it.
We’ve talked to Emily Maya Mills about making it as a comedian. She’s said that comedy is a gutsy thing and the less self-conscious you are, the better you do. But women who are public figures face a lot of pressure to look perfect—and social media trolls don’t help! How do you reconcile any pressure to look perfect with the need to not give a crap, for your comedy’s sake?
The confidence [required] for stand up and TV goes both ways—you need to be confident to do things on TV as well. People can tell if something is off, so you need to be comfortable in your own skin. What people enjoy in my comedy and my stand up is that I talk about real things I’ve been through and that a lot of people can relate to—going through a breakup, trying to date, or whatever’s going on in my life.
Girl Code resonates because there’s no script. We are being ourselves. And a lot of times, we say embarrassing stuff and I’ll think, “is this crazy or weird?” Then I’ll get tweets from people saying, ‘I do that too.’ There was one thing I said—that I took a shower and contoured my face to go on Facetime—and people were like, ‘l’ve done that too.’
With my look, at the end of the day I’m expressing myself how I would anyway. I haven’t felt a pressure to look a certain way on stage. I don’t’ think people are thinking about what I look like when I’m stage, they care about what I say on stage—they want to have a good night. People who come out to shows aren’t haters. I don’t get decked out and wear heels at shows, but I do look put together.
With TV, I haven’t experienced anybody trying to make me look a certain way. The people at Girl Code embrace everyone for who they are and appreciate everyone’s different look.
That’s awesome. Do you think the industry as a whole is evolving in that way?
It’s changed, they’re putting real-looking people in TV and movies—not everyone is a supermodel and that’s OK because that’s not reality. A lot of the people with their own shows are writing and starring in their own shows and movies—especially women in comedy. It’s really progressing because people are embracing others that are real and relatable. Even when I watch TV, I’m drawn to who I think is cool and would be a good friend. It’s about what’s real. That’ really resonates with people and says about what’s coming in industry.