Carly Craig and Chelsea Frei | Sideswiped
In Sideswiped from YouTube Originals, a lifetime of saying no has left a workaholic single and miserable on her 35th birthday, causing her to plunge into the hellish world of Tinder by dating all 252 of her matches. Spurred on by her younger sister— a married woman experiencing a seven-year itch— the women are joined by their online dating savvy mother, leading to a multi-generational comedy about relationships – both romantic and familial. — YouTube Originals
Nora Henick: So Chelsea’s actually been on La Femme Collective before, back in her earlier days, so we’re excited to have her back. And we’re excited to welcome you for the first time, Carly! We were rewatching the trailer over and over again and we actually were actually having a conversation the other day about hymens growing back.
Cori Futrovsky: I genuinely thought they could. She called me out on it. I felt it sounded right.
NH: Medically, I don’t think it’s a thing that could happen… but… anyway. So what was it like writing the show? Talk us through the process. I know it’s a big question, but talk us through what it was like to write something and then also star in it.
Carly Craig: [laughs] Well thank you for watching it so many times! Overall, the pilot, I wrote that before we sold it. Then we had a small writer’s room for the rest of them. I wrote one, two, six and eight. Me and this girl Robin Schiff show-ran it, so we would be involved in all of the writing. But it was really great to write something so personal, a lot of the storylines were based on things that had happened to me. That’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to write. I wanted to set a tone that was grounded but had the ability to go to those dramatic places; I wanted to be able to create a level of humor that was able to come out of the realness of life. For me, it was a dream. It was exactly what I wanted to do because those are the parts I want to play.
NH: So my follow up to that is… what sort of experiences did this stem from in your life? And Chelsea, did your character and this role feel relatable for you?
CC: It definitely stemmed from my real life. Chelsea, you’re playing a married woman and you’re not married. How did you feel?
Chelsea Frei: Yeah, but in terms of the dates and stuff, I mean Nora, you remember back in the NYU days, I felt like the only way I could go on a date with someone was through an app.
NH: Oh yeah, for sure.
CF: I feel like I had so many insane stories and dates. My friends too. It was just constantly going on dates that 90% of the time were awful. The other 10 percent, someone ghosted me. But in terms of my character, Jane, no I’m not married, but we’re at that stage where people are starting to engaged and make that next step. It’s definitely been on my mind, especially because this past year I’ve had 3 or 4 friends get engaged. So I would think about it a lot, even in my own situation, and it made me empathetic to the situation. I thought about it in a way I’ve never really thought about it before.
CC: It was based on a lot of people I know, a lot of friends of mine and my sister. You know, you try and get married and have kids before you’re 30, because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do, and then you do all of the right things, and you have the nice house and the great husband and the beautiful baby and then you realize you never had the time to figure out who you are and do your thing and go through your own experiences to learn what you want in life. And now you have a kid and you can’t just make choices based on what you want. It’s a scary place to be in. You have “everything” but you actually feel trapped. It feels wrong, but it really is totally normal and natural to feel that way.
NH: There’s definitely been a shift in the conversation recently; women have become more vocal in saying things like okay no, we’re not here just to reproduce; we have things we want to do, experiences we want to have. We want to go out and sleep with people and not feel bad about it. We want to live our lives. We want to have fun. We want to do it all without anyone else’s say. So I think it’s really awesome that that’s what you’re trying to capture in the show. And on the subject of new experiences… have you two ever let family or friends take over your dating apps before?
CC: Oh no. I haven’t. But I’ve taken over dating apps before. Actually, that’s wrong. Daniel, the guy who co-created the show, when I went on Tinder, he took my Tinder and he started swiping and writing to people. We got into a fight over it because he was acting like it was a video game but it’s really me on there! He was just writing the funniest things he could think of, but what if I really liked those people?
COF: People screenshot that stuff.
NH: There are Instagram accounts for that. Tinder Nightmares.
COF: Overheard Bumble.
CC: I follow those!!
CF: I used to take my roommate’s phone and airplay it to the TV and pull up his Tinder. We would go through everybody and decide what he was going to say.
NH: That is amazing but also my worst nightmare.
CC: Same. I’d love to do it to someone else.
COF: I think that Vanity Fair does that. They have videos of celebrities taking over other people’s Tinder accounts.
CC: Moral of this conversation is never let your friends take over your dating apps.
NH: Agreed. And it seems like don’t let moms or sisters take them over either.
CC: Definitely not. Which you will learn on Sideswiped.
COF: What’s one [other] thing you want people to take away from the show?
CC: I feel like a lot of women have been told they have to live this fairytale life with a fairytale ending, which involves the overplayed trope of getting married young and having kids (which isn’t wrong if it’s what you want to do!). But it’s not for everyone. Cinderella met that man when she was like 16, I think. What if we cut to ten years later to see where they were really at? My message in this is less what Chelsea’s character says about kissing frogs until you find a prince and more about using those experiences to figure out who you are and learning more about self-love. You’ll see all three women go through huge changes throughout the show. And we learn that if someone fits in with your life at a certain point, then great. But it’s not about changing to make them fit. It’s so important to figure out who you are in life and what you love and what you love about yourself before you bring in someone else. It’s not your typical rom I would say. It’s about three women who are figuring out on the inside.
NH: So it seems like there’s a lot of character development throughout the show. On a personal level, what was your own growth like throughout working on the show?
CC: For me, it’s been huge. All of these opportunities that I had been given with this show were new to me. There was a lot of leadership things I learned along the way. I learned that I’m capable of a lot more than I originally thought. I felt really proud afterward of what we created. I wanted everyone to have fun and feel appreciated, and I feel like we were able to do that.
NH: Chelsea, did you have fun?
CF: Oh my god yes. For me, everything was so new. I was so nervous at first. It was my first time doing a full series. I learned so much from Carly and Roseanna, acting wise. They’re both so accomplished; I feel so lucky they treated me like a part of the family. After the first day, the nerves disappeared. People wanted me to be there!
CC: We always said she was a star. From the moment we met her. She fit right in.
CF: Aw thank you. On top of that, I’m a writer and creative too, so getting to see Carly do that was so mind-blowing. The thing I learned most from Carly was decisiveness. Her decisiveness on set was so cool. I think it’s what made it so enjoyable. We knew what we were going for. If you’re not ready when you have this opportunity, it can so easily and quickly turn into a disaster.
NH: When I’m at work though, and I start doing something or I agree to take something on, my mindset is always something along the lines of ‘okay, if I can’t figure this out on my own, I’m going to Google it.’ But based on your industry and your specific job, Carly, you can’t do that. You have to know what you’re going to do. You have to know what you want. It’s such a different world.
CC: Yes! And to be able to say if you don’t know how to do something. That’s really important. From the beginning, I would hire really smart people for different positions so I knew where to delegate. I knew what I was good at and where my strengths are, so I also knew where I needed to pass things along.
NH: And now for an on theme question… has there ever been a situation in your life you’ve figuratively swiped left on that you wish you swiped right on?
CF: Wow that’s a good question.
NH: Chelsea you’re up next.
CC: I feel like, when I want something in life, even if it’s stupid, I’ll go for it. I’ve been that way since I was young. I’ve done stuff and fallen on my face. But I don’t know if I have regrets for stuff I didn’t do. I think I’m okay there.
CF: I think I’m the same way. I’ll make decisions and they may not be the smartest or turn out the way I intended, but I’m not one to say no. I’m definitely more one to say yes and then say oh my god why?
COF: That’s such a good way to be. Have you ever gotten any advice that really truly resonated with you throughout your career?
CC: Yes! Early on, I had a manager, Bernie Brillstein, and it was before he brought me on… he told me that girls in comedy were a rare thing. Comedy wasn’t what I saw myself doing. But he pushed me to write. He believed in my comedy before I did. He pushed me to go in that direction and it changed my entire life and career.
CF: I had this really weird experience when I studied abroad in London. One of my teachers asked us to go up in front of the class, five at a time, and do something that gets everyone’s attention. So I started doing some wild stuff, I was humping the wall. I was being insane. There was one girl in the class; she just stood and stared and smiled. She was open, vulnerable, and present, and everyone in the class stared at her. So our teacher told us, sometimes the simplest thing you can do is the most effective. When you’re the most vulnerable, that’s when you can be the most captivating. I always think about that. Sometimes you don’t need to be humping the wall.
CC: I mean yeah. Don’t always stop humping the walls, though. Do you.
COF: Every once in a while, it’s hilarious. That definitely should be the advice. Every now and then hump the wall.
NH: And now for our classic question. As our two newest (though Chelsea’s already technically been given this title) entrefemmeurs, what does being an entrefemmeur mean to you? Welcome to the very non-exclusive club, by the way.
CC: It’s being your true self. It’s knowing you’re capable of doing anything. It’s going out there and being your badass self and knowing that that’s special enough. Not having to hump the damn wall all the time.
NH: Unless you want to, and then just do it.
CC: I totally agree.
CF: Not having to hump the wall. I agree. I love all the women on La Femme Collective. It’s the same idea throughout for me. Trying to say yes to as much as possible, even if you know it might not work out exactly as you want. One of the things I’ve learned from writing and making my own content is that you have to try. Even if it’s going to be bad. You have to try. Or else you won’t learn.
CC: Your version of making it versus whatever is actually going to happen. It’s the ride that prepares you. Keep going. Keep doing your thing. You never know what’s ahead. You’re capable of doing anything.
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