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Erin Daniels Talks Dana Fairbanks’ Return to Gen Q and Her Legacy

dana fairbanks on the l word generation q

Erin Daniels as Dana Fairbanks in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q. Photo: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME.


Dana Fairbanks (Erin Daniels) made a surprise return to The L Word: Generation Q in Season 3, Episode 6. Here’s what Daniels had to say about her iconic role and this week’s episode. 


Tagg: Dana was always everyone’s favorite character. Why do you think Dana was so beloved?

Erin: I think Dana resonated so much because her insecurities and her humanity, which was always my goal, were on fully display. She never pretended to have it all together, and when she did, it didn’t always work out very well, which is why I think so many people could identify.

We’re all just human. We’re all just sort of struggling to get through and make the best choices for ourselves. . . .The pretty stuff is easy to put on, but the real human stuff is where I think people found commonality. I think Dana was so popular because she was so far from perfect.


Tagg: What kind of response did you get from fans when the show first aired? 

Erin: The most interesting and profound response that I got was gratitude for portraying something that a lot of women struggled with, which is how do I come out? . . . I had a number of women approach me and say: “Thank you for what you did. I sat my parents down to watch the show with me and then told them that’s me.”


Tagg: Can you talk a little bit about your return and what was it like to be back on set?

Erin: Kate [Moennig] and Leisha [Hailey] are still two of my closest friends. They have been trying to figure out how to get me back on the show for years. For me, [coming back] represented a great deal of closure since there was so much left undone when I left the show all those years ago. I felt like I could finally put that chapter to bed in a way.

And then to be on set again, on this set, was crazy. It was like riding a bike. I’m running around the stages with Kate and Leisha again and we’re doing our goofball shit like we always do and having so much fun.


Tagg: What do you hope fans get out of this episode? 

Erin: What I got out of it and what I hope fans got out of it is that we have significant relationships in our lives that change us. And hopefully, they change us for the better, and let us grow. That doesn’t necessarily mean that those people are our “one and only.” Dana represented a significant part of Alice’s life and always will.

I also think that in this episode, Dana is giving Alice permission to let go and move on, and take what she learned from her relationship with Dana and incorporate that into her life and her relationships going forward.


Tagg: What do you hope Dana’s legacy will be? 

Erin: I feel like her legacy is that it’s okay to be messy because that’s what makes us beautiful – our imperfections – that’s  what gives us our personalities and makes us interesting. Perfection is boring, and it’s certainly not any fun. And I hope that Dana’s legacy is just that – that you can be messy and imperfect and goofy and emotional.


Becca: Anything else you’d like to tell your queer fans? Are there any projects you are working on?

Erin: I love all of you guys so much. It is so surreal sometimes. It’s like I have this dual life. I got to play this incredible character on television that still resonates. And at the same time, I struggle to get breakfast made before I drop my kids at school. I’m pretty much a stay-at-home mom now. I’m a single parent, but I’m so grateful that I got to live that part of my life.

As far as upcoming projects, I’m coaching actors, which is really fulfilling. I hope that I can give some of my experience and knowledge from being a working actor to help others get to feel what I felt, which is getting to play a part that certainly changed me in such beautiful ways. I hope for every actor that they get to experience that because it’s an incredible feeling to get to express yourself and grow from some piece of art you create.




Becca Damante
Becca Damante
Becca is a Smith college graduate with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies and an Archives concentration. She has worked and written for non-profits organizations such as Media Matters for America, The Century Foundation, and GLAAD, and loves to write about the intersections between pop culture, politics, and social justice. You can find her at @beccadamante on Twitter.