How Jamie Lee Curtis Invented Instagram (Sort of)

The ‘Scream Queens’ star dishes on her newfound love of TV

Headshot of Emma Bazilian


Age 56

Claim to fame Stars as Dean Cathy Munsch on Fox's Scream Queens (premieres Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.); Golden Globe Award winner. Curtis made her movie debut in 1978, starring in John Carpenter's indie slasher film Halloween.

Base Los Angeles

Twitter @jamieleecurtis

Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?

Jamie Lee Curtis: Coffee. Then I read the Huffington Post, The New York Times, Salon, Slate, BBC News, probably in that order. Now that I'm a modern girl and am trying to keep up with my young co-stars, I also check Twitter and figure out if I have something pithy or promote-y to say.

How long have you been on Twitter?

Not that long. Maybe a couple of years. Until recently, I had no activity at all; I had a Twitter account just to have it. But then I signed on to do [Scream Queens] with a myriad [of] young people, Internet stars and bloggers, and in doing so, I feel I am now required to participate in social media in a way that I have looked askance at.

What other social media platforms do you use?

Facebook is now for old people, so I'm on Facebook with my other old people. I actually started Instagram about three years before Instagram arrived—I just didn't have the savvy.

How so?

I recognized that people wanted to share photographs from their iPhones, so I started a Blogspot called iPhoneys for iPhone photographers to share their vision. I invited a group of people who I knew took nice pictures. At that point, I was such a Luddite that they had to actually send me their pictures and then I would upload them to the blog. Eventually I ended up giving everyone the password so they could upload their photos themselves. By the time we started doing it with any regularity, Instagram began. So I feel like I was ahead of the curve and saw the future of iPhone picture sharing, yet I have reaped none of the rewards.

What do you watch on TV?

Had you asked me this when I was still raising my son, I would have said that the only television I watched was obscure anime on Hulu Plus. But now that we are slightly empty nesters, my husband and I, after 31 years of marriage, have discovered television. It's quite extraordinary! [Laughs] We started watching the English House of Cards, and then we watched the American version and liked it. We've done The Americans and Better Call Saul. I personally really like Orange Is the New Black. We're making our way through Breaking Bad, so right now we're knee-deep in methamphetamines. Some shit's going down. [Laughs] I now really understand and appreciate the pleasure of television in a way that I never did.

What's on your reading list?

I've been working so much on this TV show that my normal reading schedule, which is robust, has been diminished. I've been reading nonfiction because I've found that it's easier to pick up and put down. I just started Dead Wake, which is Erik Larson's new book.

Do you read any magazines?

I read The Week, and that's it. It is a perfect distillation of what's going on in the world. I've been in development for over four years now on a project based on a story I read in The Week. It's the story of a man named Glenn Burke, who was a gay baseball player with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late '70s, and he is the man who invented the high five. It's a very compelling, true story. If I ever get it made, I will [contact] the editors of The Week and say, "This movie is being made because of you guys."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.