The Inception star fronts the travel series Gaycation on the Viceland cable network in which she investigates gay culture, discrimination and violence around the world, and for one episode based in Brazil, she met a self-confessed serial killer who preys on homosexuals.

The former police officer, known as El Grande, told Ellen he would kill those he assumed were gay while on patrols in Rio de Janeiro, and that his killing spree began when he discovered his son was homosexual.

Ellen, who came out as gay in 2014, admits the encounter was scary, saying, “I think we’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel frightened. It’s about capturing that person - you’re not quite putting a face to it ’cause he’s wearing a mask - really saying, ‘hey, this exists'. You’re not thinking about yourself. You’re thinking about the vulnerable people who are walking the streets of Rio and might not know this man is walking right by them or he might just run them over in his car.”

She wasn't sure if she should tell the man she was also gay, but after she did, he replied, “You know, each to their own. I live my life and they live theirs. Now, if they cross my path, it’s a different story.”motivated to create projects about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community because she never related with fictional characters

She also explained during a panel discussion at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas at the weekend (13-14Mar16) that she is growing up as minorities were not represented.

“There can be such loneliness and isolation when you’re growing up in a society that does infuse this idea in you that you’re different or something’s wrong or you’re sinful," she adds. "I’m a privileged person; I live in Los Angeles; I’ve done a job that has given me money; and I can walk down the street and kiss my girlfriend. I think a lot about those that are more vulnerable than me around the world and in the United States… here’s an opportunity to go make something that allows voices to be heard that you don’t ever get to hear.”

Ellen has been dating artist Samantha Thomas since last year (15).