It's tempting to compare Lena Dunham to Sarah Jessica Parker. And it's even more tempting to compare her to Zooey Deschanel. Especially since they both just received Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Lena and Zooey are two of the only newcomers on the list. They're also friends.
"Zooey Deschanel and I have been e-mailing all morning, like, 'Can you believe the women that we are getting mentioned in the same breath as?'" Lena said. "Also, we're planning our Emmy nails. ... She's got a lot of nail style. I mean, I have a couple ideas, too." But can those ideas really compete with the fabulous tuxedo-inspired manicure Zooey sported at last year's Golden Globes?
Actresses who don't have chiseled cheekbones or a 24-inch waist are often described as quirky. But it's not Zooey's nails, Lena's tattoos and their penchants for playful patterns that make them similar. It's their mindset.
Sure, they both love poufy skirts, colorful prints and retro styles. But what's really interesting is that unlike Carrie on Sex and the City they're not dressing to please men - on-screen or off. When Lena Dunham stepped onto the carpet for her first Met Gala in May she chose a forest-green mullet dress by Wes Gordon, short in the front and low in the back. Few men would call the look sexy. Fun? Yes. Fashionable. Maybe. Sultry? Probably not.
Zooey has also steered clear of thigh-high hems and plunging necklines. For one of her early red-carpet appearances in 2009, she chose an A-line Lela rose dress with opaque black tights. The most surprising part of the outfit was the tights. No matter what time of year, most celebs opt for bare legs on the carpet.
Their characters also treat men differently. In 500 Days of Summer, Zooey's character, Summer, explains early on that she doesn't like relationships. And in the season finale of Girls, Lena's character, Hannah, chooses to move in with her gay ex-boyfriend instead of her supposed-love Adam. When Adam questions her decision, Hannah says: "Don't you feel like sometimes you and I distract each other from, like, the other stuff we have going on?" Hannah has set aside time for Adam. But she doesn't want to put her career or writing on hold.
Jessa on Girls is often compared to Samantha on Sex and the City because both characters sleep around and aren't interested in finding a boyfriend (though Jessa surprised everyone and got married on the season finale). Nevertheless, Samantha and Jessa view sexiness differently. Samantha's closet was filled with second-skin shifts that left little to the imagination. Jessa's style is boho bombshell - think braids, fedoras and full-length sheer dresses.
It's not that Jessa, Zooey and Lena aren't sexy. They are. But it's a new kind of sexiness that doesn't necessarily include barely there dresses and sky-high stilettos. Though it could - and that's the point. Anything's fair game, which is exactly why we love Lena and Zooey.