and other bizarre confessions from Mischa Barton, the girl from The OC who everyone thinks is American (and who even tried to lose her accent so no one realised she was actually from Hammersmith)
Mischa Barton is curled up on a chair in the corner of the basement of a Soho hotel. Hiding behind her mass of chocolate-brown hair, she’s texting at 100mph, softly giggling over her BlackBerry.
‘Just gimme two seconds,’ smiles the Hammersmith-born, New York-raised 23-year-old as her chewed and chipped black-polished nails tap away.
She’s wearing a flowing bohemian top, several bangles, some vintage Sixties bling, a skull-and-crossbones scarf and pencil-thin jeans. Two minutes later, with her phone packed away, the former OC actress, James Blunt muse and handbag designer fixes Live with a full-beam smile – and she’s ready.
I‘m British, though everyone thinks I’m American.
I haven’t lived here since I was tiny, but my entire family is British and I’ve been raised as a Brit. My sister lives and works in London as a barrister, but nobody can get their head round the fact I’m anything but a Hollywood girl. In the US nobody thinks of me as American, and here, nobody believes I’m British.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I consciously tried to lose my English accent.
When I lived in New York I tried really hard to ditch the British accent to fit in. I went to classes and everything. I ended up putting on this terrible ‘Nu Yawk’ accent and hid behind that for a while. Now I don’t try to hide it so much, but my accent slips all over the place. It’s a mess – I don’t sound like I’m from anywhere any more.
I was physically attacked by a fan in Milan.
This guy just jumped on me. It totally freaked me out. I don’t think he meant it badly, but it was still scary. Men come up to me a lot, but it’s never to chat me up. I don’t know if they’re intimidated by me or what. It’s like they’re not doing it to hit on me. They just want a picture with me on their camera phone because they’ve seen me in a movie. It’s wild because they think they know you – guys talk to me like I’ve known them for years, when we’ve only just met.
I’ve been arrested for drink-driving.
I got in trouble with the police last year and I was quite silly about what happened. Famous or not, though, everyone does silly things. I am sorry, but I just have to get on with my life. I’m dealing with it.
My scripts have a lot of girl-on-girl kissing scenes.
I don’t know why that keeps happening to me, but if it’s part of the character, it doesn’t really annoy me. I did a film about Tatu, the Russian girl band, and that was interesting. This whole corrupt Russian music industry formed this fake lesbian band. It’s an odd story, but a fascinating one. It is so much easier to kiss a girl. You’re so much more relaxed filming than you are doing a guy-and-girl scene. You can relax and have a laugh about it, whereas if it’s a man you have to kiss, the whole thing’s a bit tense.
American TV is great, but I love old British sitcoms.
I’m the only girl in LA with her own collection of ‘Allo ‘Allo and Blackadder DVDs. That’s what I love most about Britain – the humour and the pubs. I’m a real pub girl. I’m a bit of a tomboy – most of my friends are guys. I’m into all my handbags, but I can also drink a pint. I like to glam up, but I also love to rough it when the time’s right. I’m never happier than when sleeping out in a camp with the lads. I adore road trips. I’m very spontaneous, and there’s nothing cooler than just getting on the road and driving somewhere. I did it the other week – my friend and I just started travelling south not knowing where we were going. We drove through Oklahoma, Nebraska, wherever. I’m thinking of buying a Winnebago truck next year.
People think I’m part of that whole Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan set and it’s frustrating.
I’m not like that; I have a pretty normal life. People always seem to write lots of untrue things about me. I’ve just learned to laugh at it and move on. I also surround myself with people who are nothing like the Hollywood set – my family are really intelligent and academic, so they keep me grounded no matter what.
I’m the most ridiculously clumsy person – it’s so embarrassing.
I wouldn’t even know where to start with telling you the things I’ve walked into. I think that’s why the paparazzi love me. They know I’m going to end up on my backside looking silly.
I took my top off for Cosmopolitan.
I’d never do a fully nude shoot, though. I was shot from my chest up and everyone speaks about it like I was naked. I really wasn’t. I’d never do a naked shoot – that’s just not me.
Secretly I’d love to be a rock star.
I’m a proper rock chick and surround myself with musicians. I’m also learning to play the guitar, but my hands are far too little for me to be that good on my Les Paul. I haven’t even nailed Stairway To Heaven yet.
I’m not a rude person but it can be difficult not to unleash your inner psycho when a photographer is in your face.
Every day the paparazzi intrude into my life. I can’t believe I can be that interesting. Every day they’re there, and when you’re with someone who doesn’t want to be in the public eye, it can be very difficult. I try to be as graceful as possible about it.
When I was young I used to steal props from film sets.
I got some really cool things from The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill, but Lawn Dogs was the best, as I just raided my character’s bedroom. I got a brilliant Slugger baseball bat that I hang on to and adore.
The OC created a monster.
The show was syndicated absolutely everywhere and made me famous all over the world. I had all kinds of outrageous scenes, and people still think I’m that crazy, bitchy person, and they treat you like it. When you become that famous, people lose their minds when they see you. The thing is, though, you don’t change, but everyone around you does. I still take the subway and clean my own stuff. I do my own laundry. When I left The OC there were a lot of mixed emotions. It was an extreme four years of my life, so it was kind of bittersweet.