Yeah, and I did not have a lot of time with him. It wasn’t until the end [of the filming process]. I wasn’t sure if I was going to ask him to be interviewed or how important it would be, and then later in the editing process, I realized it would be really nice in the section about her being Secretary of State to hear from Obama. So we went to him, and we didn’t have a lot of time left. He did ultimately agree, and he agreed, like, “OK, I have limited time, and I need to know specifically what you want to ask me about.” And he was agreeable. I knew specifically what I wanted him to talk about, which is what I did, so that did not take a lot of time. And he’s incredibly articulate and he can just sit down in a chair and talk about it and then go about his day.
One thing that I really found interesting is that there’s a lot of talk about Hillary’s close confidant and advisor, Huma Abedin, but she does not sit down for an interview. I assume you reached out to her, so what can you say about that?
I mean, Huma is extremely involved in [Hillary’s] life still, to this day. And Huma was very helpful to me. If I needed to contact any of [Hillary’s] friends or colleagues, they would never call me back if Huma didn’t say, “No, [she’s] not just a crazy person, and yes, Secretary Clinton is OK with you talking to her.” So she was unbelievably helpful and supportive of this project. She just isn’t someone who wanted to sit down for an interview. She’s had her own struggles with the media about her own life and prefers to be more behind the scenes.
Were you personally bummed that she didn’t participate?
I mean, yeah, it would have been nice so then people don’t go, “Why isn’t Huma Abedin in it?”
You filmed in the Clintons’ house in upstate New York, right?
Yes, in Chappaqua. We filmed in their guest cottage.
What was it like being in their home?
They have these two cute dogs running around. It’s not an exaggeration that they love to read and there are bookshelves and books everywhere. They are very down to earth. People think they maybe have this elitist lifestyle and I did not find that to be true at all. They have pretty modest living arrangements, and are very laid back, other than there are Secret Service around, which is a requirement.
Did doing this documentary change your view of the Clintons?
I like them a lot more afterwards. Just getting to know them as people. Look, I voted for her, and I thought she would have made a great president. I thought she made a great senator of New York, but I was never a Hillary-acolyte. I didn’t put her on a pedestal. I didn’t really think a lot about her. In fact, I thought, like a lot of people, “Oh, she seems a little guarded.” And I didn’t find that to be true at all. I found her to be quite approachable and accessible and very down to earth. Even smarter than I had imagined, too.
Burstein’s four part documentary series, Hillary, premieres Friday, March 6 on Hulu. Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Twitter at @JRadloff.*