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And she, of course, is one of the stars of HBO's Girls, the much-discussed TV show written by Lena Dunham and produced by Judd Apatow, probably the most "New York" of shows to ever hit the small screen (Sex and The City was, at best, a fantasy New York. And they never left Manhattan). But you already know all that: you probably also know that she's an old (high school) friend of Dunham's, and that Dunham's breakout film Tiny Furniture was Kirke's first acting gig.
It's a particularly New York success story: not the discovered-at-Schwab's-Drugstore fantasy of Hollywood that you might assume from Kirke's Veronica Lake-meets-Brigitte Bardot mien, but a less simplistic tale of two young women who, having both gone to St. Ann's in Brooklyn Heights, left the city, came back after college, and got down to the business of being creative.
Even if, in Jemima's case, the medium wasn't quite the one she had planned on, but one her friend pushed on her. Ambushed by success, in many early interviews post-Tiny Furniture, she insisted she wasn't an actress, but a painter, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. "Perhaps [my] reluctance toward acting has been a bit overstated. I never meant for this protest to define me and what I do. I felt compelled to say it in some interviews because I had a hard time accepting that this TV show had become my career."