People.com Entertainment TV Bees and Clowns and Holes, Oh My! Sarah Paulson's Real Fears Were Written into 'American Horror Story' Paulson revealed that her character's phobias — such as bees and clusters of holes — are based on the things that give her anxiety in real life By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer/Reporter at PEOPLE. She has been with the brand since 2016 after graduating from The College of New Jersey and holding previous positions at Seventeen, CBS Radio and more. Follow the proud dog mom on Twitter at @stephpetit_ for the latest on Queen Elizabeth's corgis. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 19, 2017 12:34 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Sarah Paulson truly had to face her fears while filming American Horror Story: Cult — the actress’ personal phobias were used in the script! During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Paulson revealed that her character’s greatest horrors — such as clowns, bees and clusters of small holes — are based on the things that give her immense anxiety in real life. For example, the Emmy winner will “flee” at the sight of a bee. “I could be carrying a small child, and if a bee came around, that baby’s getting dropped,” she admitted. “I can’t manage my feeling about it.” Paulson also has trypophobia, the fear of clusters of small holes or bumps, shuddering and shutting her eyes as a photo of a beehive flashed on the screen. “I just think they’re disgusting,” she said. “I can’t look at a coral reef or a natural sponge.” Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. DeGeneres mentioned that given the spooky nature of her AHS roles, she figured the actress would enjoy a good scare. Before the show, the host waited in the closet of Paulson’s dressing room bathroom and popped out to surprise her. Video showed Paulson screaming but quickly laughing it off and giving the comedian a hug. FROM PEN: 23 Oscar Nominees Reveal The Untold Stories Behind Their Films However, the pranks didn’t end there. As they discussed the pre-show gag, someone snuck up behind Paulson, causing her to scream again. “What are you gonna do now?” Paulson asked. Just as the host promised the scares were over, a man dressed as a clown popped out of the chest next to her chain and ran off stage. As DeGeneres ended the segment, Paulson took refuge under the coffee table.