Gaby Hoffmann is Cooler Than You

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For many, Gaby Hoffmann—that tiny little actress from Sleepless in Seattle and Field of Dreams; that girl with the enormous eyebrows—may be a relic of the 1990s, someone you only run into in old movies on cable once in a while. But Hoffmann, now 31, is coming back into your alt culture-sphere in a big way. Last year she made a memorable appearance on Louie, she's got upcoming roles in the indie film The Magical Cactus and on the uber-hip Girls, and now she's grabbed the brass ring of New York resurgence: a lengthy profile in The New York Times Magazine, just posted online today. The gist we get from Taffy Brodesser-Akner's highly entertaining read: Gaby Hoffmann is cooler and more interesting than you. Let's look at some examples.

Her childhood was spent in a downtown New York world of artists and bohemians

Hoffmann's mother, Viva, was one of Andy Warhol's superstars and they lived in the Chelsea Hotel: 

Her mother co-wrote a book, as yet unpublished, called “Gaby at the Chelsea,” a riff on “Eloise” at the Plaza. Instead of making rich-girl mischief like Eloise, the Gaby in the storybook would undertake uniquely downtown adventures, like finding a vial of crack in the stairwell. 

Brodesser-Akner continues: 

Of her childhood, Hoffmann says now: “We lived in a classless society. We’d spend a summer at Gore Vidal’s house in Italy, but we were on and off welfare” when she was a baby. That ended for good, though, when Hoffmann became an actress at age 5 and, a year later, a 6-year-old movie star.

She's blissfully uninhibited

Brodesser-Akner explains that Hoffmann does not adhere to Hollywood's rules of starlet-glamor. 

 In the movie she plays a wandering hippie, and she spends a good portion of the movie naked. At a party following the film’s debut at Sundance, two women approached her to compliment her performance and then ask how she’d gotten the merkin — a pubic wig — to adhere. “No,” she explained to the two women. “That’s just me. I’m a human. I have hair.”

She can help in childbirth

After attending Bard, Hoffmann did not immediately return to acting. Among her various pursuits: "She interned with a chef in Italy; she trained to be a doula after helping deliver her sister’s kids." 

So, she had a cool past and is headed for a cool future. Little Maizy from Uncle Buck has grown up so well.

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This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.