“It’s a good story, actually,” says Genevieve Angelson, on the phone from her home in Los Angeles, of how she landed her current role. Angelson is one of three leads in Amazon’s series “Good Girls Revolt,” out Oct. 28, which tells the true story of female journalists at Newsweek in the late Sixties, a time when women were barred from being bylined reporters. It’s a tale that encompasses major strides in women’s rights and the history of journalism — and, as it turned out for Angelson, one that harbors a bit of destiny.
“I happen to know Lynn Povich,” Angelson continues, of the first woman to be a senior editor at Newsweek, whose experiences inspired the book that the show is based upon. “For several years before the show even happened, she was a woman who I esteemed and admired so much, for being so smart, so accomplished, so funny — who I really want to be when I grow up.”
Now 30, the Upper East Side native has found herself in “the role I became an actor for,” at a time when the whole country is rather attuned to women cracking ceilings.
Angelson got started in film at “the last possible moment,” she says, in efforts to avoid the instability of the profession. “My parents sent me to really wonderful schools and they gave me an incredibly bountiful, abundant life of opportunity and resources because my dad in particular grew up really, really impoverished. To him the idea of doing something that would be so risky as becoming an actor was a terrible idea. So I went to a normal-person college and I studied normal-person things and I really resisted [acting] as long as possible.”
After graduating from Wesleyan’s film program, the resistance wore off and Angelson enrolled in the graduate acting program at New York University, getting spots on shows like “House of Lies” and living “in someone’s pool house.” The audition call for “Good Girls Revolt,” upon landing in her inbox, elicited an immediate emotional reaction. “I went to the audition, walked in the room and cried — I was, like, ‘Put me in this or don’t put me in this, whatever, but please make this show. Please take this pilot and make it to a series because I need this. I need this show to get made about these women.’ I know that my life is the direct consequence of those women and the kind of risk that they took.”
She describes her character, Patti, as “uninhibited, free-loving, wild-spirited, open-minded, hopeful, a really life-loving girl,” who is perhaps the most bold and forward-thinking of the trio (which includes a budding writer by the name of Nora Ephron).
“The anger of how commonplace it was to underestimate women and to prevent them from exercising their potential made me really sick with anger,” Angelson says. “One of the producers said early on, ‘You can’t be a feminist before feminism.’ I am playing a young woman in her early 20s who is coming of age at the same time this movement is coming of age.”