Lucky Ducks and Q+A with Tracey in Marie Claire Magazine
Check out Marie Claire’s Q+A with Tracey in the April 2010 issue:
A Gossip Girl Hits the Slums
How do you de-brattify a bratty teen? Send her off to work in the slums of India. That’s what Tracey Jackson did when her blonde, blue-eyed, beatific daughter Taylor turned into a shouting, door-slamming 15-year-old. Jackson, a Manhattan-based screenwriter for films such as Confessions of a Shopaholic, tracked her daughter’s India trip in a new documentary, Lucky Ducks, available on DVD this month at amazon.com. Things did not go as planned.
Q. Taylor grew up in the Gucci-clad land of Gossip Girl on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Did that make her self-indulgent?
A. Oh, it’s an American disease-it’s not just in New York. Kids have everything: a Wii, thousands of gadgets, every electronic. They could send a shuttle to NASA with all that stuff, and yet they’re bored.
Q. You thought India would do the trick.
A. Yes, I thought it would snap Taylor out of this one-dimensional way of looking at the world. I thought she’d go there, teach kids in a school, and have this unbelievable transformation. I had a three-act structure down in my head.
Q. That’s not how it went down…
A. No, she was living in a shitty little un-air-conditioned apartment with three other teachers for two weeks. She couldn’t take a shower for days because there was a rat stuck in the water pipes. She resented it, at least at first. But I wasn’t so perfect myself; I stayed in a hotel nearby, and I wanted to fix things for her, control things, make everything OK.
Q. At the end of the trip, Taylor seemed to get it, but back home, it didn’t stick.
A. Right. I think an experience like that opens your heart, but doesn’t make you into a saint. You’re peaceful for three weeks, and then you’re on the phone with Time Warner Cable, screaming, “I want to talk to a fucking person!”
Q. How did you eventually see eye to eye?
A. Making the film helped us. Watching the footage, we both got some perspective. She said, “You make me look like a brat,” and I said, “You are a brat. But I come off much worse.”