'UnREAL' Star Constance Zimmer Doesn't Want You To Get A "Money, D*ck, Power" Tattoo, But She Gets Why You Want One
Back away from the tattoo parlor. UnREAL star Constance Zimmer isn't so sure her character Quinn's sisterhood stamp with Shiri Appleby's Rachel is something fans should be branding themselves with. When I suggest that I and other fans should follow suit with "Money, Dick, Power" tattoos, Zimmer laughs and says: "No, don't get the tattoo." And while she may have stopped me, that won't stop true devotees from making the trio of goal posts a new mass mantra, because against all of Zimmer's previous expectations, her character has become a role model for women — and men, as Zimmer noted when I spoke to her about the sophomore season of the genre-defying Lifetime series. As Season 2 becomes the season of darker journeys for Rachel and Quinn, fans are hanging onto the affirmation that ties these characters together more than ever. And while she may not support inking up, Zimmer is pleasantly surprised that we're all so attached.
"It’s supposed to be the whole season of, one, [Quinn & Rachel's] commitment to each other and our commitment to our list of priorities. But I had no idea that people were going to be like 'yes, that’s amazing,'" says Zimmer. "I love that this [is] how audience members are taking things that we’re putting on the show, and they’re coming up with an even more powerful meeting." (That meaning, depending on who you ask, could be sisterhood, friendship, badassery, or, you know, taking over the world.) Of course, it's not hard to see why the "money" and the "power" speak so strongly to fans, especially women (the "dick," Zimmer explains with a laugh, might be the piece she wants to "scratch out" at some point). The number of female characters on television who wield power like Quinn does can be counted on one hand, and most of them are on Game of Thrones. And while dragons are all well and good, it's hard to apply the successes of Daenerys Targaryen to everyday life. Quinn, on the other hand, has accomplishments that live in the realm of actual possibility.
And that possibility is something that Zimmer appreciates about her antiheroine. "She is incredibly mean and incredibly strong, but incredibly relatable," she says.
Of course, "relatable" isn't often the word you'd find associated with someone who chuckles gleefully when she successfully manipulates a young woman to drunkenly tackle an injured football player to the possible detriment of this career (a mere taste of UnREAL Season 2's fire power, really). But Quinn isn't some fire-breathing dragon, laying waste to her enemies. She's incredibly real, and her tactics, while ruthless, do hold nuggets of aspirational goodness, especially for women hoping to be bosses themselves.
"I think that that’s why these characters are so embraced, because they’re constantly doing things that are normally reserved for male characters. And we’re doing them as females and we’re owning it and we’re showing you that it’s not a gender-based circumstance. Right? It’s a human based circumstance," she says. And while Quinn's actions might not be the step-for-step guide to surviving your chosen career path, Zimmer notes that, "...her result is spectacular ... that is why I think she becomes this kind of character that you wish you could take with you wherever you go, because she’s unfiltered, she’s honest, she says it how it is, she doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her. She doesn’t judge herself or anything that comes out of her mouth, she just exists."
But that doesn't make it any easier on fans when that ruthlessness has been turned not only on the subjects of Quinn's beloved series, Everlasting, but towards her mini-me and right hand woman, Rachel, in Season 2. While Season 1 delivered a finale that put every last ounce of the emphasis on female friendship over every other piece of the series' complex puzzle, Season 2 is now dismantling that friendship. And while Zimmer says it made her uncomfortable (she admits that she felt the need to apologize to Appleby for the things she was scripted to say to her onscreen protege), ultimately, this painful storyline could actually be opening up the way television treats female characters and female friendships, in general. Especially since, as they both take seemingly different sides in their efforts to produce Everlasting their own ways, these two characters are teetering into the realm of the dreaded C word: competition.
But Zimmer doesn't quite see if that way. "I think the difference with that is they’re not competitive, and that is where I think the struggles with women become more evil," says Zimmer. "Quinn and Rachel ultimately are out to do the same job and ultimately have sold their souls to the realization that they’re very good at doing this job even though it’s a very, very hard, difficult job and so Quinn knows that she has a grasp on Rachel’s heart because of that and because of their internal relationship."
And that is what makes this rift between female friends so different: The connection between them isn't broken and their decisions aren't detached from what Zimmer calls their "codependent" almost "mother-daughter" relationship. UnREAL, while about making a reality show that deals in absolutes, doesn't treat its character relationships so lightly. In every instance in which Quinn drives a metaphorical semi truck through Rachel's plans, it's clear that there's pain behind the decision. And that pain is going to keep coming.
"There’s some stuff coming up [this season] that’s going to be very hard to watch, because I think we all love the Quinn and Rachel dynamic and I just keep telling people 'Don’t worry it’s going to be for a greater common goal in the end,' and hopefully the ride will be worth it," says Zimmer.
But considering the zeal with which fans have taken to Quinn and to Zimmer herself, I have no doubt in my mind that "worth it" is only the half of it.
Images: Violeta Meyners; Giphy; James Dittiger/Netflix