Author, activist, and former actress Rose McGowan is Skyping with Yahoo Entertainment from self-isolation in her secret bunker in Mexico. It seems like an appropriate setting in which to discuss her experimental, meditative debut album, Planet 9, which depicts a utopian society far, far way. Though the record has been five years in the making, McGowan only recently decided to release it — not just because she was previously focused on her battle with “350-pound monster” Harvey Weinstein, whom she has long alleged raped her in 1997 (a period in her life when her “brain broke”), but because she “had no idea when the right time” would be.
“And then 12 days ago, I was sitting here thinking, ‘We can’t travel anywhere. We can’t go anywhere. Where can go that’s inside?’ And, I just thought, ‘Oh my God, this is the perfect time to release this,’” McGowan explains. “People can listen to it and have a release and do some internal traveling. … I knew if I could make music that helped soothe my trauma and made me feel like I was in a better place while being on Earth dealing with all these people, these monsters, then I know it would work on other people.”
One of the album’s tracks that helped McGowan heal from her own trauma, “Lonely House,” specifically references Weinstein in the line “Hurt by beasts of no known nation, hurt by beasts, no provocation.” But McGowan stresses that the song isn’t entirely about Weinstein, because “he’s not worth it.” The song is instead a rumination on the extreme sense of isolation she felt during her acting heyday, which eventually prompted her to shave her head and “break up” with the industry. “I’m good at this quarantine thing,” she chuckles ruefully. “I did it for years.”
McGowan elaborates: “With ‘Lonely House,’ I started with, ‘Are you lonely on your planet? Are you lonely on the fringe?’ Because I was. I was a fringe person, and lonely as hell. I was very famous for being on TV; I was famous for not being me. … It’s a weird situation. I was at a 7-Eleven one night, I remember, at the height of TV fame, and I had this thought: I had my head down and I was paying and I was like, ‘I’m the loneliest person on the planet.’ And the guy behind the counter just goes, ‘You must have the happiest life!’ I looked at him and I was like, ‘Um, yeah.’ It’s just like, ‘Oh, poor me,’ but it is like the golden handcuffs in a way. It’s a very strange life.”
Now McGowan is focused on activism, filmmaking, writing, and music, with no desire to ever return to acting. “It was my day job. I acquitted myself very well, but it wasn’t the love of my life,” she says. “I refused to give up who I was forever just to stay in a [Hollywood] system that I fundamentally disagree with, that I think is a cult. … and then I get blacklisted after being sexually assaulted, and then what job are you doing to do? Then it was like taking the dregs and scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to get what [roles] I could. That’s just a crap way to live. And it’s not artistically where I live.”
When asked if she ever regrets going in acting, which ultimately put her in harm’s way, McGowan muses, “I do, but at the same time, I think it was always going to be that way. Weirdly enough, my whole life, I was deathly afraid of being sexually assaulted, as I think most women are. It’s just a common [fear], the guy coming in at night with a mask on his face. That’s terrifying. It’s the Boogieman. But our ‘Boogieman’ is usually someone we know, even if it’s just at a breakfast meeting, in my case, at 10 in the morning. … They come in all forms, and I wish I had gotten out of Hollywood sooner.”