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Vogue: Lena Dunham, “hardest-working millennial in show business”

by Ryan Torok

January 16, 2014 | 6:56 pm

lena dunham

What would Bob Dylan think about Vogue magazine’s new profile on Lena Dunham?

In “Lena Dunham: The New Queen of Comedy?” a Jan. 15 article in the fashion magazine, Dunham draws comparisons to the famous folk singer. 

“Since Girls launched in 2012, the 27-year-old Dunham has become to comic television roughly what Bob Dylan was to sixties folk: She’s not the first person to wield her form and her subject (middle-class postcollegiate life), but she does it with such unmatched skill, charisma, and vision that she’s now the genre’s uncontested master, the standard other people strive to reach,” the article's writer, Nathan Heller, says.

Dunham, who has struck a chord with the 18-34 demographic, is known for the half-hour television comedy, “Girls.” Its third-season premiere aired last weekend.

If Dunham and Dylan have in common the ability to speak to their generation, there’s something else they share to: both are averse to fame.

Dunham admitted to Heller that she’s a recluse, preferring the comfort of her home to the Hollywood scene, despite her reputation as an over-sharer.

“To me, privacy isn’t necessarily equated with secret-keeping,” she says. “What’s private is my relationship with myself.”

Fortunately, Dunham’s output has revealed a lot about her. The first two seasons of the award-winning “Girls,” offered semi-autobiographical portrayals of a recent college graduate living in New York. Dunham, 27, is the daughter of a pair of New York artists.

Dunham’s early work, the film “Tiny Furniture,” chronicles the mistakes of a young adult moving back home with her two artist parents after college.

Dunham tells Heller that even with all the acclaim and new fans she has earned with the television series, she still messes up.

“No matter what happens with your level of success, you still have to deal with all the baggage that is yourself,” she says.

Heller’s piece will appear as the cover story of Vogue’s Jan. 28 issue, alongside photographs of Dunham and her co-star, Adam Driver. In photographs by Annie Leibovitz, which are available for viewing online, Driver and Dunham are standing in the middle of a street, with Dunham sitting on Driver’s shoulders. In another photo the two actors share a bed.

In the article, Dunham discusses writers she admired in high school. Dunham names novelists Philip Roth, Sylvia Plath and others, whose confessional art helped mold her own.

“She came to regard candor as a powerful inventive tool: one that offered the energetic release of an uncorked bottle but also created a bond between artist and audience,” Heller writes of the younger Dunham. 

“Girls” airs every Sunday night on HBO.

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