My South: Actor Leslie Jordan on Savannah

The actor dishes on his time spent in Savannah and his love of a Southern staple

Illustration by Colleen O'Hara

As told to Allison Entrekin

I rarely take vacations because I work so much, but I learned a long time ago that a lovely way to travel is on somebody else’s dime—even if you have to act for the camera a little. I got this BBC TV series called Living the Dream. We shot it over several months in Savannah. I’m as Southern as they come, and let me tell you: That is the Southern town right there. You get a lot of downtime when you do these big series because you’re not in every scene. I invented what I called urban wandering. I would get up in the morning and start wandering all around Savannah. It’s known for its beautiful squares and architecture, and I got to see it all. It’s also known for its food. I personally like the Olde Pink House. Even though I have a terrible shrimp and crab allergy, I will eat and eat and eat, and when my throat’s about to close, I’ll swallow a Benadryl. I’m not about to give up on shrimp and grits! People say Charleston has the best shrimp and grits, but I think Savannah wins. The people in Savannah are just as Southern as they can be. If I meet them and say, “My name is Leslie Jordan,” they say, “Jordan? Now I had an aunt … is Jordan your given name or your surname? Who are your people? I knew some Jordans over in Sand Mountain.” It’s so genial. Anyway, I like that I get to go to places like Savannah and stay long periods of time. I don’t know what I’d do if I could only get to Savannah for a week. It became my city. It became me. And I certainly never got bored.

Emmy Award winner and Instagram sensation Leslie Jordan is the author of How Y’all Doing? Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived.

This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of Southbound.