LAGUNA NIGUEL, California (Reuters) - “Girls” writer, director and actress Lena Dunham said on Tuesday she was adding new, more diverse characters for the next season of her HBO show, after criticism that the first season failed to portray the rich culture of its New York City setting.
And the 26-year-old, who often sheds her own clothes on the show, also acknowledged that, most of the time, “it’s not a good idea to be naked on television.”
Dunham broke out this year as one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars with “Girls,” winning four Emmy nominations for her comedy about four 20-something women who find that work and relationships in New York have little of the glamour seen in 1990s show “Sex and the City.”
Although Dunham took home no Emmys this year, her success earned her a speaking spot on Tuesday at Fortune magazine’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit.
Answering questions in front of hundreds of female business leaders, Dunham said she took seriously criticism of “Girls” and its lack of minority characters. She said she felt “heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated.”
The show’s second season next year will feature “a multitude of new characters in the show. There are some of colour. Some are not. Some are Caucasian,” she said.
Dunham said she was responding to viewers “who are women of colour who want to see themselves reflected on screen.”
“All I want to do is make women feel excited and included by the show,” she said.
Addressing her frequent nude scenes, Dunham said she felt they were appropriate because she was the person deciding when to take her clothes off in front of the camera. But she generally advised against it.
“There may be a time when I have to explain to my daughters, ‘You probably shouldn’t be naked on television.’ Most situations, it’s not a good idea to be naked on television,” said Dunham, who is single.
“I like doing it because I‘m my own boss. I‘m writing it. I‘m directing it. I‘m producing it,” she said, adding that she would refuse to strip for another TV director.
As one of the youngest people to write and star in a television show, Dunham said she feels pressure to represent younger women well so she doesn’t create a backlash that would hurt others trying to blaze a path in Hollywood.
“I don’t want to do anything that is going to make them think ‘this is why we don’t give shows to 25-year-old girls,” she said, joking that “I’d love to have a small dog, (but) I don’t think it would be good for all of us if I were to carry a small dog to set with me.”
“Girls” returns for its second season on HBO in January.
Reporting By Lisa Richwine, editing by Jill Serjeant and Todd Eastham