Natasha Lyonne Spent Time Hating Herself as a Kid — ‘I Pulled Through’

Actor Natasha Lyonne has been receiving loads of praise for her portrayal of Nadia Vulvokov on Netflix‘s Russian Doll. And it makes sense. She’s been working on her craft since the days of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, though she confessed she experienced self-hatred in her youth that might have been job-related — just not to that job. Find out why she thinks she had a hard time liking herself and what “overwhelms” her about her life now.

Natasha Lyonne out and about in an off-white jumpsuit in Times Square
Natasha Lyonne | Robert Kamau/GC Images

Natasha Lyonne was on ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ when she was a kid

Some fans forget Lyonne was a child actor, and one of her first jobs was working on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. “Nothing makes me feel legitimately cool quite so much as the fact that I was on [the] show,” she told Entertainment Weekly.

It was one child acting job she said she had fun with, unlike others. However, she had one complaint from the set to share. According to her, the “ice cream soup” was no such thing. It was a disappointing chalky substance.

Though Lyonne enjoyed working on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, she said her acting jobs weren’t always so lighthearted when she was a kid. And some aspects of her life as a child actor left her vulnerable to self-hatred, which opened the gates to some dangerous paths for a curious teen.

Natasha Lyonne spent time hating herself as an acting kid

Like many other people, Lyonne didn’t always like herself — specifically in her youth. “As a kid, I spent more time than I’m proud of hating myself,” she explained per Interview. “Maybe that was a tangled version of also hating my absentee parents, as well as hating the kids in school — and school itself for making me feel like an outsider.”

She once told Entertainment Tonight she was a “really poorly parented teen in show business,” and she eventually began dabbling in drugs. That led to dangerous addiction. And for a few years early in the millennium, some of her troubles played out in the tabloids.

“It’s weird to talk about. I was definitely as good as dead, you know? A lot of people don’t come back,” she explained of rebuilding herself. “That makes me feel wary, and self-conscious. I wouldn’t want to feel prideful about it.”

The amount of love Natasha Lyonne has in her life now is overwhelming to her

With help from friends, Lyonne was able to put herself back on the right path. While talking with Interview about her youth, she said, “Somehow, with a lot of back-breaking work and dark nights of the soul, I pulled through and am overwhelmed by the amount of love I have in my life now.”

For instance, for that piece, Lyonne took questions from 18 of her friends — including Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman. And she pointed to them as evidence of the “amount of love” in her life.

RELATED: Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll’ Renewed for Witty and Sarcastic Season 2

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.