I smoked my first cigarette – ever! – this past week. And you can thank the movies for corrupting me. (I smoked for a role I’m playing in the indie feature Heysoos). I’ve always stayed away from cigarettes, mostly because I hate the smell, in spite of their noted “cool” factor. It’s always looked so sexy on screen – but I knew that given my klutz factor, I was more likely to start a coughing fit that would be anything but graceful. So I thought a lot about what this cigarette meant to my character – the rebellion against her controlling mother and her strict religious upbringing, the thrill of stealing away from home for a drag, the desperate need to make her own choices – even if they’re bad ones. I thought about my ‘drug’ of choice – cookies and chocolate – and how important and precious they can seem when denied to me. It was interesting to swap out my vice for another’s, to create a relationship with this object that I’ve always found rather repellent, and instead imbue it with a sense of romance, escape, and sexy drama. I started thinking about how Mary lights up – secretive and precious, and how she smokes – worldly, with a studied indifference. And I stopped worrying about how my lungs might react (they were sore the next day), and indulged in Mary’s joy in this brief little moment of freedom.