You might not know that much about actress and comedian Bridget Everett, but chances are you recognize her from something.
Since her scene-stealing turn as the drunk party girl vying to be Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant in the Sex and the City movie, Everett has had a steady stream of small but oh-so-memorable parts in everything from HBO’s Girls to Trainwreck to Inside Amy Schumer. And when she’s not on screen, she’s on stage, redefining cabaret, at Joe’s Pub in N.Y.C. with her band, the Tender Moments.
Still, she hasn’t quite had her breakthrough moment—until now.
This month, the 45-year-old star is taking the lead in not one but two films: Fun Mom Dinner (out now) and Patti Cake$ (out August 18), followed closely by Love You More, a fall pilot for Amazon that she developed with Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.
“It’s been a long road,” Everett tells InStyle. “I was still waiting tables up until about two and a half years ago. Now it seems like everything is happening pretty fast.”
Though all three of her upcoming roles vary in tone, each is as bold and unapologetic as Everett is in real life. Her Fun Mom Dinner character Melanie, for instance, was fine-tuned just for her by writer Julie Rudd, who first met Everett after watching her cabaret show.
“Melanie is militant and severe in some ways, but she also has a lot of heart,” says Everett, of her alter ego in the comedy, which also stars Molly Shannon, Toni Collette, and Katie Aselton as a group of moms on a rowdy girl’s night out. “I loved that she has a really great sex life with her husband too. Sometimes in movies, the bigger girl gets the unsuccessful relationship. But Melanie’s got a good thing going. She’s funny without being cartoonish. I really wanted her to be like a normal person ultimately.”
Patti Cake$, on the other hand, which was a breakout hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, serves as Everett’s first dramatic part. The film follows Patti (Danielle Macdonald), a young rapper with a big mouth and a bigger dream to make it in hip hop. Everett plays Barb, Patti’s mom, who also once had dreams of music stardom.
“Patti’s mother is a hard drinker, barfly type, who wanted to be a rock star and then got pregnant, and her life sort of disappeared,” she says. “Her relationship with her daughter is complicated because of it.”
The actress says she fell in love with the story first and had trouble believing that she actually got the part. “When the film got financing after the film festival, I was convinced they would replace all of us with actual movie stars. But they kept us, and I think that’s what makes it special.”
VIDEO: Watch The Trailer For Patti Cake$
And while all three of her projects are distinctly different, Everett says she sees one important common thread. “They’re all female-driven projects,” she says. “And everything that I’ve been watching lately—Big Little Lies, The Keepers—they’re all female-driven too. Physically, I’m not the typical kind of woman that you might see in film, but now it seems like there’s more space to represent all different kinds of women. It’s exciting. I grew up with a single mother, like Patti, and lots of close girlfriends, like Melanie. Those are the stories and the people that I relate to, so thank God there’s more of it coming.”