"It can be frustrating because my husband’s career has taken precedence, and I’ve been acting since I was 16," she says. "At the same time, I get excited about being interested in fashion because that’s my passion. In every industry — especially this one — people get labeled, and it’s just one of the things you have to overcome."
Besides acting, McDermott, who spent Oscar week not searching for a gown but protesting the war in Iraq on the streets of Hollywood, is also a committed community activist. After a quick lunch, she and Ryan Haddon, Christian Slater’s wife, visited AIDS-infected infants at a local hospital, a cause for which the two are planning a Hollywood benefit.
McDermott says that growing up in a war-torn country has heightened her dedication to political activism. In 1994, she went to Bosnia to work with women in rape camps, and last January she was arrested during a protest against the war in Iraq.
"I got into a coffin in front of the Federal Building to demonstrate the death caused by war," she says matter-of-factly. "I think when you get overly informed, you become an activist."
Not surprisingly, the next project she hopes to bring to the big screen is a biopic about artist Tina Modotti, the Italian photographer/revolutionary. "She was one of the first to make art and fashion political," McDermott explains. "Selfishly, I’d love to play her, but it’s so important to me to get the movie made, that I’d be OK even if they cast J.Lo."