Elisabeth Moss opened up about her upbringing in the Church of Scientology and how it has impacted her role as a working actress in Hollywood.
The star, 39, who portrays June Osborne in The Handmaid’s Tale, grew up around the ideology as her parents became Scientologists before she was born.
Moss talked about her religion in a profile for The New Yorker, in which she explained why it’s a topic she doesn’t often bring up. As an actress, she prefers to keep an air of mystery surrounding her life.
“I don’t want to come off as being cagey,” she explained. “If you and I met, just hanging out as friends, I’m, like, an open book about it … I don’t want people to be distracted by something when they’re watching me. I want them to be seeing the character.”
Moss faced scrutiny as her star power continued to climb following notable roles inThe Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men. Many of the reported abuses perpetrated by Scientology “echo the authoritarian tactics of Gilead” in Handmaid’s Tale, the article pointed out.
The interviewer mentioned that some people are already distracted by Moss’ ties to Scientology, which she was unfazed by.
“People can obviously hold in their mind whatever they want to, and I can’t control that. If it’s not that, it’s going to be something else,” she shared, stating the biggest misconception is that it’s “really a closed-off religion.”
The Los Angeles native said Scientology has improved her communication skills, telling critics, “I would just encourage people to find out for themselves.”
Moss even discussed two instances that have become widely reported due to the church’s controversial connection to Hollywood.
In 2017, reports surfaced that Moss left the room during former Scientologist Leah Remini‘s winning speech at the Television Critics Association Awards. “I went to the bathroom,” Moss said, squashing feud rumors. “I wish it was more exciting than that.”
She also addressed the speech she gave while winning her Emmy that year, in which she thanked her mother for showing her that “you can be kind and a f—-ing bad—.”
A former churchgoer later spoke out and said that’s how Scientologists “down the tone scale” to average people amid claims that “cursing in Scientology is almost a sacrament.”
Moss said it was upsetting, adding, “That pissed me off. That was a really, really big moment for me, and it was a big moment for my mom and me. My mom, who has supported me through the years and been such an incredible mother to both me and my brother. And to tell a lie like that, about that — I didn’t deserve that, and it was wrong.”