Obsessions Film

Here’s What Our Sexless Era Could Learn From the Ultimate Seductress: Gina Gershon

Gina Gershon at Collina Strada's Autumn/Winter 2024 runway show. Image courtesy of Gershon/Instagram.

This past fashion month, I salivated when Gina Gershon walked the Collina Strada show, bulldozing down the runway in a baggy turquoise sweat-set and a brolic plaid coat. Even swimming in sustainable layers, Gina is the ultimate seductress—a chameleon who can have her way with anyone, whether they’re straight, gay, or Larry David.

Her appeal lies in her mouth: perpetually open, skewed into a come-hither snarl with lips that are seemingly born injected. When Gina smiles, her eyes angle into one of the most sinister of stares. It’s the look of a woman who eats men for breakfast and their checks for dessert. Her distinct superpower is appearing used-up—sexually spent, even—then swinging back with a spiked dose of corrupt femininity at just the right moment, leaving you breathless and disoriented.

Showgirls (Film Still), 1995. Image courtesy of United Artists.

I love Gina most when she is lacquered in materialism and body shimmer. In Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 epic Showgirls, she’s Cristal Connors, a conniving cuntress who terrorizes and ravishes protagonist Nomi Malone. It’s hardly erotic, as there is no mystery—but that’s the best part of Gina's characters. We know what we are going to get because it’s already, quite literally, laid out for us.

There she is as Lenny Kravitz’s megawatt girlfriend in the 2000 music video for “Again,” sauntering around a loft in a metallic halter top and the sluttiest, most expensive leather pants. Or in the cult 1996 flick Bound, where she plays Corky, the ultimate dyke and criminal; an aloof temptress wielding a labrys tat and a wrench. To prepare for the role, Gina hung around a woman who had recently been released from jail for robbery. Now, Corky lives on in lesbian fanfic splayed all over the Internet. Hot.

Gina can also play the Orthodox laundress Anna in Curb Your Enthusiasm. With a drawn-out Yiddish drawl and a naughty glint in her eyes, she tells Larry David, “Shlomo is at shul,” while an old Jewish man looks on, quivering, from the dry cleaning desk. To want to kiss Gina is honest, to want to suffocate under her cleavage is obvious—and she knows it. No matter who she plays, Gina is always playing someone.