SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not seen the first seven episodes of “Euphoria” Season 2.
Chloe Cherry’s favorite memes about “Euphoria” are the ones about “Euphoria High School,” which parodies the way that her fellow castmates in Season 2 have decided to dress for class— if they even go to class, that is.
“I love the one about the bugs that go to ‘Euphoria High School.’ It is this pink, sparkly toy cartoon bug. I swear I rolled laughing when I saw that on my feed,” Cherry said.
The choice uniform of the drama-fueled “Euphoria” student body is bedazzled, is cropped, is mini and, in almost every instance, would never be allowed in any public or private school, but that out-of-touch aesthetic was one of the many decisions showrunner, creator, writer and executive producer Sam Levinson made that has made the show a bonafide sensation. Another choice that Levinson made that was smart? Casting Cherry as a recurring character Faye in Season 2.
“This show really did create a fantasy land and this whole universe for us to play with and I’m just so happy to be able to exist in something like this, and look like a colorful, dreamy little fairy while doing it,” Cherry added.
Cherry’s Instagram handle, @perfectangelgirl, is obviously tongue-in-cheek: while the baby-blue, doe-eyed actor has a round, innocent face and big pink lips, her main source of income prior to scoring the role of Faye — an unfiltered bubblehead often clad in neon, Y2K short-shorts — was the adult film industry. (In fact, it is rumored that Sam Levinson found out about Cherry via a porn parody she starred in, portraying Hunter Schafer’s character on the show, Jules.)
Another thread of irony in Cherry’s life and public persona? Prior to making the trek out to California to follow her dreams, she was born and raised in Lancaster, Pa., the Amish capital of the United States. She moved out when she turned 18 and hasn’t looked back since.
“What first drew me to the adult industry was the freedom and expression that it gave me after feeling so repressed for a long time,” Cherry explained.
When Levinson reached out to her for an audition, she couldn’t have been more thrilled to be on a show she was into and to do acting for more traditional TV roles. Landing the gig has been a fast-track to recognition and success. Cherry’s portrayal of Faye, a young woman that struggles with substance abuse and saying no to those who she sees as knights in shining armor, has been the subject behind much of the show’s buzz since its premiere episode, where we see Faye inject her thigh with heroin whilst introducing herself to Zendaya’s messy (but lovable and championed) Rue.
During tonight’s episode of “Euphoria,” entitled “The Theater and Its Double,” a reference to a collection of essays of the same name by French playwright and poet Antonin Artaud, we see Faye do more than just strip naked in front of Laurie (Martha Kelly), say hysterical one-liners in her airy, deadpan tone (“Do you and your son like… fuck people together?”) and take out the trash for Fezco (Angus Cloud) and Ashtray (Javon Walton). Instead, audiences were stupefied by Faye being torn between two sides — that of her boyfriend, Custer, who we now know is cooperating with the police and is hoping to turn Fezco in for the murder of Season 1 antagonist Mouse (Meeko Gattuso), and that of Fezco (also known as Fez), the glacé and blasé Mac Miller-lookalike that “Euphoria” fans have rooted for from the start of the show.
Cherry spoke with Variety about her character’s unique relationship with Fez, as well as what her experience has been like on-set for “Euphoria,” what scenes were the most gratifying to film and what she wants to do next with her budding career. These past couple of weeks, it’s been walking the runway at New York Fashion Week and taking interviews for her stint on the show. Tomorrow? Cherry is sure that the sky is the limit.
What are Faye’s most endearing qualities, and what do you think are her most self-destructive?
I think that I can totally relate to her! She is a very sweet girl that likes to hang out and have fun. She likes her friends, she likes to do nice things for people. I feel that she wasn’t necessarily raised in the best circumstances where she always had the happiest experiences, so she knows how bad things can get and I think she has a tough exterior that might make her seem scary sometimes, but she’s actually a very sweet person and I think she’s giving. I think she’s kind to a fault. She has a good sense of style and she’s trying to find good people in her life and she’s trying to find what would make her feel good, but it’s difficult because she’s an addict and she’s not fully herself right now. We’ve all been through hard times, and I think we can all relate to a desire to improve our situation.
Why do you think that Faye felt like she had to stay loyal to her boyfriend and his decision to rat-out Fezco and Ashtray?
I think it’s because of the fact that Faye has needed to be saved by someone else, and right now, that person is her boyfriend, Custer. She feels that her life is indebted to Custer and that she owes him something, but then she moves in with Fezco, and Fez ends up saving her, technically, because she had been passed out from heroin. He helps her and now Fez has been taking care of her, so there’s tension because she doesn’t exactly know which side to be on.
Everyone on “Euphoria” has a specific style or signature look — how would you describe Faye’s? And, if you weren’t in Faye’s clothes, which character’s wardrobe would you wear in real life instead?
I would describe Faye’s style as this kind of girly, slutty bimbo, fairytale Y2K aesthetic. I think it’s very cute! It’s colorful and I love that style so much. I also really like the way Jules is dressed. I think that her outfits are funky and cool and kawaii.
Who did you become closest to on-set? How did you bond with the cast off-screen, since they mostly all knew each other before you stepped in?
Definitely Angus. He is truly a really nice guy and he’s funny! He was the easiest for me to connect with because I love people who are hilarious and super chill, and he is. He was easy to work with, too. We had a lot of scenes together. I also enjoyed getting to know Tyler and Javon.
What was one of your favorite scenes to shoot with them?
That scene at the beginning where we’re all getting stripped-down was so crazy — it had such wild energy to it, including the fact that Javon obviously couldn’t be there while we shot it. It felt like there was so much tension and the timing had to be just right, and it felt overwhelming to make, but it was also good. That’s the emotion we were trying to get.
Were you a fan of “Euphoria” prior to being on the show?
Yes, I was a huge fan of the show. I don’t usually become that obsessed with a show, where you know, you go and you follow all of the different actors on social media and get really into it. I was already following every single cast member and as we were shooting, I would notice that I already knew people’s names on the set even if they had really tiny parts because I had already been so into the show. I thought it was so amazing — everything about it. Going on set has been the ultimate experience of a lifetime.
If you were able to take on more traditional TV or film roles, what types of genres would you want to play around with, and what types of characters are you interested in?
I would do well in comedy and horror, and I enjoy drama also. I think I can do anything. I think I try to bring that to Faye because that’s what I am in “Euphoria.” I’m sort of comedic relief and I’m kind of scary — I’m invoking those mixed feelings in the viewer, and that’s the type of acting I’m most interested in.
What does the sudden boost in recognition and publicity feel like? How are you handling the ups and downs?
My fifteen minutes of fame have provoked a lot of positive responses and it feels insanely good. It feels unreal to have so many people say they love you on the show, it really does.
At the same time, it’s crazy how many people talk about my lips being so big… The amount of headlines that I have seen and the amount of people posting and commenting about my lips has been surreal. It’s nuts because you have to realize that I got those lips at some point in my life and nobody reacted that way — at least not to my face. So, it’s weird to see memes and stuff about it because these topics of conversation are on my body and I didn’t totally comprehend what the big deal was. I swear nobody in my life was like, “Whoa Chloe those are insane.” I guess this is what happens when you’re now known on a much larger scale.
What actors or directors inspire you? What TV shows? What movies? Tell me what you’ve seen that has moved you recently?
I am very inspired by the comedy of Nathan Fielder, and his sense of humor, as well as Bo Burnham. I like their almost improvisational tones and I also like Hannibal Buress. My favorite comedians are those that have a little dry sense of humor. I also really like a good drama with some sort of comedic twist to it, like “Succession” and “Girls,” as well as sitcoms that are absurd like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “It’s Always Sunny,” and sketch shows like “The Eric Andre Show.” If I ever make something myself, it’d probably be in the comedy genre.
Who do you hope Faye gets closer to in Season 3 and why?
Rue. They’d vibe for sure. I think Faye has a story of addiction to tell as Rue does; even though it’s different, I think that they could learn something from each other. I also think Rue is a non-judgmental character, and I think that is all Faye needs. I think if they got closer, they would get along because they have these shared experiences and they are both chill girls in spite of it.