HBO’s newest show ‘Euphoria’ is set to premiere tonight on NEON, a teen drama starring the likes of Zendaya, Jacob Elordi and Maude Apatow, as well as acting newcomers Hunter Schafer and Barbie Ferreira.
Trans model turned actress Schafer plays Jules, who quickly becomes friends with Zendaya’s character Rue (a recovering drug addict) after moving to town, and Ferreira (an outspoken body positive model) plays Kat, who lives a double life online.
We spoke with the show’s Barbie Ferreira and Hunter Schafer about their characters Kat and Jules, teenage life, and more…
Q: It would be a great start if you could tell us a little bit more about Jules and about Kat?
BARBIE FERREIRA: Sure, Kat is a sixteen-year-old girl who I think is really funny and a very talented writer - she writes erotic fan-fiction. And she leads a double life online, she feels invisible and unimportant at high school, but online she finds her power as that journey unravels.
HUNTER SCHAFER: Jules is new in town and new to this high school, and has a wild first night out in town. She has a routine in as far as affirming herself, and I think that routine is challenged pretty soon after she gets there - and she also makes a new best friend.
Q: So as you both just alluded to, the show and the characters’ storylines are pretty explicit and provocative, how close do you think the show is in terms of a real teenagers’ life?
BARBIE: I think we live in a very, especially in America, a very over-sexualised culture - and not necessarily in a positive way, because of course there’s a way to make sexuality positive. But there’s a lot of internet porn, a lot of things you can look at online at any age; I think we’re overexposed to it a lot. And this show, in the pacing, in the visuals, in how people react to certain things, it’s very fresh and relates to how our society is right now.
HUNTER: And I don’t think it’s trying to encapsulate the entirety of the high school experience all at once, but I think the storylines that these characters are going through will be relatable to some people. It’s not going to be everyone’s experience, but it’s possible. And I’m sure it’s happening.
BARBIE: You don’t have to necessarily be going through everything that these characters are going through to enjoy it or feel something about it either.
Q: So you’ve both been very prominent proponents of diversity and inclusivity in film and fashion, how good of a job do you feel entertainment is doing at being inclusive?
HUNTER: I’m new here, I don’t know. <laughs>
BARBIE: I’m new here too, girl. <laughs> But I think it’s always a slow process, it’s always been like a slow up-hill battle, but I think since 'Euphoria' is even a thing I feel like maybe some things will change and happen.
HUNTER: I think it’s on a similar wavelength to the fashion industry, they’re not that far from each other.
BARBIE: They understand that other people actually exist.
Q: Both of your characters go through a fairly dark storyline, I was certainly worried about them both, what advice would you give your characters?
HUNTER: I think I would tell Jules to look within to affirm herself.
BARBIE: Mine will be just as vague, and don’t bottle things up, just face things as they happen.