Model and activist Hunter Schafer, who stars as a transgender teen in the HBO series Euphoria, discusses her breakout role in a new interview in Vogue, describing how she identifies with the character and has gained confidence onscreen.
Upon first seeing the script for her role in the series — which focuses on a group of high school students navigating love, sex, drugs, and social media — she had some concerns. “As a trans girl playing a trans character, I had to ask, where is this going, what’s her backstory? Is this going to depict a trans girl in a weird way?” she says. “But as I got more of the script and witnessed her arc develop, I became more confident in the way she had been constructed. And I really fell in love with her.”
Schafer, who spoke at the Women in the World Summit in New York in 2018, has a history of activism on behalf of transgender people, having joined the ACLU lawsuit against North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill that prohibited trans people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, according to Vogue.
The role in Euphoria presented a new challenge. “I was definitely intimidated by some of the scenes, particularly those in the pilot that get pretty graphic,” she says. “I was definitely intimidated, asking myself, can I do this? I’ve never acted before, and these are really intense scenes.”
She gained confidence when she began identifying with some of the personal issues the character faced.
“When I got a few more of the episodes, and I read her backstory, I started to understand where all this shit that she’s pulling was coming from. By the end of episode four, we begin to see her sexuality take a turn, and I identified with that shift, in terms of having a toxic idealization of men, and then letting that fall away and putting more value in relationships with femme people who you trust and love deeply,” she says. “That was something I hadn’t really seen on TV before: a trans girl in a non-hetero relationship, in a queer relationship. Seeing that spoke to me as a queer trans woman.”
At the Women in the World Summit last year, she discussed her activism along with Hebh Jamal, a Muslim Palestinian-American youth activist; Monica Sibri, cofounder of New York DREAMers; Jamie Tyberg, a climate activist for New York Communities for Change; and Nupol Kiazolu, president of the Youth Coalition for Black Lives Matter, Greater New York. Watch video of her summit appearance here:
Read the full story at Vogue.