Leelee Sobieski’s movies have become classics of the 90s, and there’s no denying she’s incredibly talented as an actress. Which is why people were surprised when she decided to retire, seemingly abruptly. In reality, though, it wasn’t that abrupt. Leelee had been ready to quit for a long time.
There were many things about being an actress that she loved, but it was not enough for her to want to continue doing it. She was not comfortable in show business, and she wanted to pursue her real passion in life, which she could not do in Hollywood.
Leelee Sobieski Found The Industry Gross
Leelee Sobieski is mainly known for her great work in movies such as Deep Impact, Eyes Wide Shut, Joy Ride, Here on Earth, and The Glass House, but considering that all those projects were made when she was a teenager, it’s no surprise she got tired of the whole thing as she grew up.
It doesn’t help that acting was never really her dream. She started working as an actress because she needed money, but the way she was being sexualized at such a young age upset her.
“A lot of the time when you work, it’s a money project basically. I started paying the rent on our house when I was 15, so I had a lot of pressure and things got complicated for me… So when I could, I stopped,” she explained.
“It’s kind of a gross industry – well, they all are, when you examine them – but in acting, you’re selling your appearance so much. I would cry every time I had to kiss somebody,” Leelee shared, which made sense since she was just a teen.
“I couldn’t stomach it. I would think ‘I like this person, so I don’t think they should pay me to kiss them,’ or ‘I don’t like this person, so I don’t want to kiss them’. ‘Why is my kiss for sale?’ It made me feel really cheap.”
She Doesn’t Think She Should Have Been Allowed To Do Certain Things
It’s unfortunately very normal for women in show business to grow up and realize that some things in the industry had not actually been appropriate. In Leelee Sobieski’s case, it was even more evident, given that she was a minor when she made most of her work.
“It didn’t matter whether people thought it was an admirable thing to do – in my soul, I thought ‘my kiss is not for sale’ – it might have been acting, but it was real for me as it was my first or third kiss, so it was confusing for me,” she said.
“I don’t know why it’s legal for a child to act unless they can sell oranges or whatever legally too. It’s a crazy double standard and that’s super weird for me. Now that the MeToo movement has come forward, people understand more that it’s pretty gross and uncomfortable.”
What Does Leelee Do Now?
Leelee Sobieski has completely changed her life since she quit acting and is now living a life that actually makes her happy. Now married to Adam Kimmel and going by Leelee Kimmel, she is a devoted mother and wife.
They have a daughter together who was born in late 2009 and are very happy together. Professionally, she is now an incredible artist. She does abstract painting and sculptures and works in VR. She’s finally living her dream.
“I always acted to be able to afford paints. It might sound really weird, but that’s what happened – the cards were just dealt to me that way. But acting was never my passion unless I was working with someone really interesting and smart,” she said.
About her process in doing art, she shared that, “I know what I’m doing when I’m doing it, but I almost don’t know what I’m doing when I’m doing it. I literally get completely lost and then there’s obviously certain things that are really purposeful, but there’s a lot of room for accidents and errors when you’re controlling liquids.”
She added that “I feel like I’m always attacking myself, or having conversations with myself about whatever news is going on that week, or what stories I’m told, or what’s going on in my life, or my friends’ lives… I’m a 21st-century sponge absorbing it all – even if it didn’t happen to me, it comes out of me from two different sides, jumping into someone else’s shoes and back out. In a similar way, it feels like my canvases, VR and sculptures have a micro and macro element. I like that sort of push and pull.”
It might have taken some time, but it’s great to see that Leelee finally found her place in the art community and in her beautiful family.