Unlike her characters, Lena Dunham has made the most of her post-grad years. At 25, she has a film to her name: 2010's Tiny Furniture, which chronicles one college kid's odd homecoming, was made for just $45,000. Judd Apatow was so impressed that he agreed to produce Girls, the HBO series Dunham created and stars in.
Girls follows twentysomethings looking for love and meaningful employment in New York – think Sex and the City for a post-recession generation. "You can't come here with the same piss and vinegar you could before," Dunham says. "Like, 'I've got a creative-writing degree! Who wants to hang out with me?' It's a different world."
Dunham shot Tiny Furniture in her parents' Tribeca loft, acting opposite her mom and sister. "As a director, I like to create a family of feeling." She corrects herself: "I mean, a feeling of family. A Family of Feeling sounds like some terrifying hippie self-help book."
By Julia Holmes