Marcia Clark On 'The People v. O.J. Simpson', The Inspiration For Her Books, & Being A Total Badass
I was in first or second grade during the infamous O.J. Simpson trial. I remember the white Bronco chase and hearing about the "trial of the century" on the news. I even remember a classmate dressing up as Judge Lance Ito for Halloween – it was a cultural phenomenon that even 7 and 8-year-olds were in on. But to be completely honest with you, I didn't know much about Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the case, until watching The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The hit series explored the Simpson trial, tactics of the legal teams involved, and issues of race and sexism in the ‘90s, but my attention focused elsewhere: What did Marcia Clark think about the The People v. O.J. Simpson and, of course, what was Clark up to now?
Bustle decided to contact Marcia Clark — author, practicing lawyer, and all-around BOSS – to hear more about her take on the show, how she was really treated during the trial, and how young women can follow her lead and make a name for themselves. On Tuesday, April 26, Marcia Clark took over the "Trending" stream in the Bustle app to give readers an intimate look into her life — on screen and off.
Here are highlights from Marcia Clark's one-hour takeover:
Clark Was A Fan Of American Crime Story
"I think it's a great series," Clark told Bustle, "And the performances are phenomenal! Sarah Paulson, who is always brilliant, captures so accurately and with such empathic nuance the pain, the sadness, the frustration and the misery of that trial. And the fact that they were able to deliver so well on the big issues such as race and sexism is truly impressive."
The Show's Popularity Stemmed From Its Relevance
"Sexism is a universal issue," Clark continues. "Women go through this every day, whether they work outside the home or not. My hope is that the raised awareness brought about by this show helps all women."
Sexism Definitely Affected The Outcome Of The Case
As if the media attacks on Clark's image (highlighted so prominently in the show) weren't bad enough, Clark says that Judge Ito's attitude toward her was worse. "A judge's attitude toward a lawyer has an impact on the jury," Clark says. "If the judge treats a lawyer badly, the jury — whether consciously or subconsciously — will adopt that same attitude. That directly impacts the lawyer's ability to get a fair trial."
Clark Earned Her Success The Good Old-Fashioned Way
Clark's #1 piece of advice for young women? "It's all about hard work, focus, and dedication," she says. "My 'trick' is to give everything you do a hundred percent. Leave nothing on the table, pull out all the stops. ... Whether I'm appearing on television or writing my novels or preparing an appellate brief, I go all the way. No short shrift, no such thing as 'good enough.' Whatever I'm doing, I'm always striving to give it a hundred and ten percent."
If You Loved The People v. O.J. Simpson, You'll Definitely Love Clark's Books
"It was important to me to memorialize the truth," Clark says of her first book, Without A Doubt, which was inspired by the Simpson trial. "When people ask me what really happened, I can point to the book and say: it's all right there."
Clark's new novel — Blood Defense, out May 1 — incorporates her experience as a criminal defense lawyer. "I wanted to write about a character who walked on the wild side, who was unpredictable and not constrained by what's legal or ethical," says Clark. "The book has lots of twist and lots of action."
So, basically, more of that true crime vibe that fans are looking for.
Marcia Clark Puts Things Into Perspective
Even with the popularity of the show, the attention she's received, and issues brought to the forefront as of late, Clark still has the ability to put things into perspective: "I'd like to take a moment to remember Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown," she says. "One of the most profound tragedies about that trial is the way Ron and Nicole were continually forgotten. Two innocent people were murdered. That should have been the foremost issue on everyone's mind, but it felt as though they continually got pushed into the background. So please, I'd like everyone to take a moment to remember them and to honor them. It's good that the case has sparked these discussions about important social issues, but it must never be forgotten that it comes at a terrible cost. Two innocent lives were lost. We must never, never forget that."
Check out the the "Trending" stream in the Bustle app to see Clark's takeover in its entirety and get up-to-the-minute updates on absolutely everything you care about.