While she joked about items of clothing she’s gotten from DeGeneres (some Stan Smiths and her best button-down shirts), McKinnon opened up about how much DeGeneres’s coming out meant to her as a young gay woman. “In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, ‘Am I gay? ’” said McKinnon, adding, “And I was and I still am.
Kate McKinnon, naturally. “I look up to—not just people that are older than me but people that are starting out now and paving the way,” DeGeneres said. “I think Kate McKinnon is brilliant, and I think she’s strong, and I think she’s brave, so I look up to her. © 2020 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
But watching that historic moment on Ellen changed everything. “The only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV,” McKinnon continued. “She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it.