MOD Magazine: Volume 10; Issue 3; Summer 2021 (Cover 3)

Page 1

Published by

MOD Media, LLC. assistant editor

editor-in-chief/ creative director


Velma Daimon

Shannon Elize

Sandy Aziz

editorial photographers

Raen Badua Jason Kent Dasza Wasiak Ksenia Vershinina Joseph Sinclair

Paul Farnham Lauren Marsh Astrid Ji David Santacruz González Isaac Sterling

Dani Baker Jong Wook Seo Jessica Abraham Bila B Victoria Stevens






editorial contributors Dion “Bleu” Drake, Robert Bryan @ Exclusive Artists, Harper @ Exclusive Artists, Kenady @ Next Models, Agnieszka L @ Story Model Management, Emma Miles, Nicola Drew, Alex Price, Jack Mills, Yan Skates, Kenny Leung represented by Carol Hayes Management using products from INIKA Organic and LABEL M Professional, Akbotá Abkenova @ Titanium Management, Tilly Wheating, Emily Wood, Shukeel @ The Only Agency, Connor Harris, Aimee Lou Wood, Models: Fitz @ Women Management & Tashi Rodriguez @ Photogenics LA, Hannah Viselli, Gabriella Mancha, Anh Nguyen, Lauren Nicole, Sandra Hahnel, Fallon Havanna, Rex Adams, Jisoo Min, Sangjin Lee and Gyuri Min, Hyunkyoung Lee, Yeji Yang, Eunah Noh, Jinho Yoo, Olga Kasma, Rachel Shepherd, Linus Johansson, Bianca Huisman @ Premier Models, Sandra Zhang, Wakana Ichikawa, Izumi Sato @ 87artists, Eric Armstrong, Sarah Tatjana @ Tidbit Sydney, Dan Tafeuni, Milani Joy, Kukuwa Assan @ Bella Management, Elly Sharp @ Vivens Model Management, Mariia Kriuchina, Malika Mubarakshina @ Grace Models, Fran Jimenez, Marta Valentí, Álvaro Marín, Joana Ferreira @ Miah Management, Karl Kani, Lailanni Hussein, Raiven Adriana, Melrose Fashion Patrol

contact information Mailing Address: 1266 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Suite #591, Atlanta, GA 30327 submissions: | advertising: | editor: general inquiries: | telephone: (678)-744-5663 © 2021 MOD Media, LLC. All rights reserved. All content presented in MOD Magazine is the exclusive property of MOD Media, LLC. Reproduction in part or in whole without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. MOD Magazine is a registered trademark of mod media, llc.



welcome to the florescence issue: flo· res· cense: /flô’resns, fle’resns/ noun 1. the act, state, or process of flowering 2. a condition or time of vigor and freshness 3. a state or period of flourishing Life is more about the journey than the destination. We are ever-evolving creatures, all meant the thrive in our own time, in our own unique way. When I think about the bloom of a flower, I’m reminded that even the most beautiful products of nature must endure a process. Nothing just sprouts up in its fullest and finest form. Each and every one of us must go through an evolutionary process to become our best selves. We are all constantly changing, learning and growing with each new experience. And though each step of the way isn’t always

clear, nature ensures that we’ll ultimately find our way. Challenges are sure to arise on the journey, but through it all, we emerge fresh and renewed. Our Florescence Issue cover star is BAFTA award-winning actress, Aimee Lou Wood of Netflix’s highly acclaimed series, Sex Education. The show—which returns to the streaming network on September 17th—follows a group of high schoolers as they navigate the complications of sex and relationships. The trials of teenaged life, as depicted in the series, highlight some of the most notoriously awkward stages in our development. Not many of us will recall our teen years fondly, but they certainly play an essential role in shaping who we are.

- Shannon Elize, Editor-in-Chief

visually striking & cutting-edge presenting the most trailblazing talent of the emerging fashion community

available in print & digital For More Information Visit

contents florescence issue

Volume 10. Issue 3. summer 2021


102 beauty 88




fashion 20

femme fatale


head in the clouds


the girl with kaleidoscope





ten faces of bianca


through the looking glass


whisper sweet nothings


eye in the sky


fine line

features 58

aimee lou wood



lee rodriguez

better together


Julia Rehwald

on the cOVER Creative Director & Stylist: Jisoo Min, Photographer: Jongwook Seo, Hair Stylists: Sangjin Lee and Gyuri Min, Makeup Artist: Hyunkyoung Lee, Model: Yeji Yang, Floral Styling: Eunah Noh, Assistant: Jinho Yoo Yeji wears: Dress by ZELOTIS, Bottoms by QUASI PURITY

aimee lou wood Interview by Sandy Aziz | photos by joseph sinclair

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you consider to be home?

When did you know that you wanted to act? I’m not one hundred percent sure when it happened. In truth, I always wanted to be a writer and read so much as a child. I was quite shy and very imaginative. At home, I was always writing plays and putting them on and I sang constantly; my mum and I always did funny sketches—but with strangers I was very very quiet. I

Aimee wears: Renli Su Dress, Jessica McCormack

Wood is Aimee Gibbs in Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy series, Sex Education, which pivots on hardhitting topics. However, in a “perfection is overrated” fashion, the show offers a sincere grab-bag of relatable elements including high school nostalgia, awkward conversations, exaggerated infatuations, and unrequited love. Wood gave MOD the lowdown about her role as Aimee Gibbs, the importance of female energy, and what she is working on next.

I grew up in Greater Manchester, but I’ve been in London since I was 19. A lot of people ask me “do you miss home?” and I never know how to answer because the truth is no. I miss my family but not the place. Home is quite abstract to me. I feel at home as long as I’m with people I love, trust and have an authentic connection with. I do like making the places I live in super cozy though. My living environment is important to me because I LOVE a good chill out session. I lived in Chicago for 3 months and I felt very at home there. I miss it. I think I’ll be in London forever though. I do love it. But yeah, home is a feeling, I think.

Necklace, Margaux Studio Earrings, Otiumberg Ring

“Typically masculine energy is deemed superior in our patriarchal capitalist society. As if it’s better to be unemotional, impenetrable, rigid, solid. As if life is to be beaten or conquered and the world to be owned. But the softer and more fluid we are, the less easily we shatter.” BAFTA award-winning actress Aimee Lou Wood has hit the spot.

fashion Stylist: Tilly Wheating, Makeup Artist: Emily Wood using Danessa Myricks, Hair Stylist: Shukeel @ The Only Agency, Photography assistant: Connor Harris, Talent: Aimee Lou Wood

Photographer: Joseph Sinclair using hasselblad and nanlite, fashion Stylist: Tilly Wheating, Makeup Artist: Emily Wood using Danessa Myricks, Hair Stylist: Shukeel @ The Only Agency, Photography assistant: Connor Harris, Talent: Aimee Lou Wood Aimee wears: Renli Su Dress, Jessica McCormack Necklace, Margaux Studio Earrings, Otiumberg Ring

Aimee wears: Vivetta shirt and dress, Margaux Stuidos earrings

liked being one on one with people I loved but was overwhelmed in groups. Then I just remember people at school telling me I was funny and I really ran with that. I was always playing different characters, different voices and accents and it grew from there. Then at secondary school I used drama to make friends and build up an armour against bullies. I remember doing Guys and Dolls in upper sixth and people being like “you could really do this.” My English teachers, Mr. Parkin and Mrs. Petrie, were the first to notice it when I was around 12. They knew it before I did to be honest. They were so encouraging. If you weren’t an actress right now, what do you think you would want to be instead and why? Well, I also write so I’d do more of that. Or directing. However, if we’re talking about departing my current industry fully, I’d love to be a psychotherapist. People are everything to me. I love being an emotional detective and listening to people’s stories. It’s why I adore acting because it’s all about empathy and connection, putting yourself in a character’s skin and understanding and caring for them on a deeper and deeper level, the more you play them. Ncuti and I are also fascinated with astrology and we were both recently speaking about how we want to become more knowledgeable in that field! What do you like to do when you are not filming/ working? I love being with my friends and having deep chats more than anything. I love reading poetry, listening to music, dancing around my house, chilling out on the sofa and watching great films and TV, reading tarot, astrology, drinking oat lattes, cooking yummy vegan food and having a stroll around London (I can walk for hours on end). But mainly chatting, to be honest. Oh, and I love sleep. A lot. Describe a typical day-in-the-life of Aimee Lou Wood! If I’m not working (which is quite rare right now) I will wake up, have a shower, get a delicious creamy oat latte from my cute local cafe, go for a walk, meet up with one of my best friends and talk and eat for hours and hours, and then go home and cook some dinner and chill— read or watch something. Or I might go to the cinema or theater or have some Aperols with pals. If I’m working, I’ll either be on set from the VERY early hours in the morning or I’ll be doing some writing. If I’m filming, I’ll socialize some evenings, but if it’s a really early start, I have to crash. I need my sleep! Some days I have voiceover work or photo shoots or interviews. It all depends and no two days are the same! I just like to make sure I feel joy every day. How would you describe yourself in three adjectives? Curious, emotional, and silly.

Tell us about your goals and dreams. I just want to keep telling great stories—while feeling fulfilled and challenged. I want to truly connect with life and people. I want to be present as much as I can. I want to feel everything and have a positive impact on myself and others. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? I’ve been given so much great advice! I’ve been in therapy for years and I have the wisest friend so I can’t pick the best. I read a lovely poem the other day which I’ll put here: The thing is to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs; when grief weights you down like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief, you think, How can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you I will love you, again. It’s by Ellen Bass and I think it’s just everything… like Glennon Doyle says “life is brutal and beautiful. It’s brutiful” and “we can do hard things.” Glennon’s book, Untamed is like a bible to me. What is it like working with Netflix? Great! Netflix are cool—they’re bold and brave and they look after us. Congrats on your BAFTA TV award! How do you feel? It’s just bloody lovely really. I’m very grateful, but if I start taking the awards too much to heart, I’ll also take the criticism too much to heart, too. So I like to stay grounded about it! Speaking of your BAFTA TV award—it was for your role in Sex Education—let’s talk about the show. How do you describe it to people who have not seen it? Raucous, sensitive, kind, loving, relatable, moving, and funny. Why do you think people should watch this show, especially now? Season 3 deals a lot with shame. I think it’s a hugely important feeling to dissect. So much wrong with the world is caused by shame. I am so proud of Sex

Education—it’s such a compassionate and empathetic show. People feel seen by it and loved by it. It really is a friend— it’s there for you whenever you need it. Your character is Aimee Gibbs. How is she like you or unlike you in real life? We’re pretty alike. I’m older and a bit less of a space cadet. I’m more intense and cerebral than she is. I think Aimee is actually more level-headed than I am. I’m excited for her because she’s really learning who she is, and I think underneath the people pleasing there is a highly independent and courageous woman who has a very robust sense of self. As she grows, I grow too. I’m just ten years ahead of her. Have you learned anything new by playing Aimee over three seasons? If so, what? YES. So much!! Mainly that perfection is overrated and impossible. And once you really know that in your bones, you’ll feel liberated! What is your favorite Aimee Gibbs moment from the show? I have so many. I think by the lockers with Otis, season 1, after her crumpet wank is pretty great! And of course, getting back on the bus with the girls after Aimee’s experience of sexual assault. There are a lot of my faves in season 3. All the stuff with Maeve (Emma Mackey) I love so much. Tell us in your own words about Aimee’s bus scene and how you felt filming that scene. I felt nervous as it was Laurie’s personal story and I knew it was going to mean a lot to her and to many, many people. I wanted to do it justice, whilst also not losing any Gibbs-ness. I felt very honored. I’m so grateful and moved that I was trusted with that storyline. It makes me cry whenever I talk about it. The show hits heavy topics—exploring the ups and downs of teenagedom and teenage sexuality. What do you think is the biggest takeaway message from season 3? The importance of allyship. The importance of standing up for ourselves and others and the toxicity of shame. How we have to be unified in our dismantling of systems that mute, shame and oppress people. We’re so much stronger together than divided. The show is known for having strong female solidarity and female energy. Tell us more about this and why you think it is important right now.

I think Sex Education is a celebration of the feminine approach to life. The power of vulnerability, sensitivity and empathy. It teaches us that talking and kindness can save us. It’s not bound by gender, most of the characters in the show are very much connected to this feminine, feminist energy and the characters who aren’t are very unhappy (i.e. The Groffs who both struggle with toxic masculinity). This divine feminine energy is in all of us but lots of people stifle it. This is because typically masculine energy is deemed superior in our patriarchal capitalist society. As if it’s better to be unemotional, impenetrable, rigid, solid. As if life is to be beaten or conquered and the world to be owned. But the softer and more fluid we are, the less easily we shatter. Like when you fall over, if you tense and harden up, you’ll hurt yourself more. Femininity is flowing, magical, sensual, creative and intuitive. It’s tender and indestructible in it’s gentleness—like waves or the moon. It’s nature. You can’t contain it (but people try to!). It should be honored, not shamed. I think a lot about how at school when a boy showed an emotion that wasn’t anger, he would be labelled “girly” or “gay.” Implying that being girly or gay is a bad thing, but also implying if you’re a girl or you’re gay you’re permitted be emotional, but not if you’re a cishet man. It’s no wonder queer spaces feel so much more beautiful and inclusive and joyful and safe. We’ve been conditioned into thinking heteronormative masculinity is supreme so that certain people are able stay in control. The patriarchy is a cage that has to be dismantled. Feminine energy and fluidity must be embraced and unblocked! When someone says the word “sex”—what is the first thing that comes to your mind? (Mine is now “education.”) Same! Hahaha. You are also going to play Claire in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Tell us about your character Claire and how she is different to your role of Aimee. It feels so strange because we finished filming this such a long time ago! I did it just after we shot season two of Sex Education but because of Covid, it’s not out yet. It’s quite a small role but I was so excited to be around such incredible actors who I’ve admired for years. My character Claire is one of Louis’ sisters and she’s very artistic and eccentric. The whole family is! What attracted you to the role of Claire in this artist drama?

Aimee wears: Vivetta shirt and dress, Margaux Stuidos earrings

I just really, really wanted to experience a film set (I’d only done TV and theater at that point) and learn from such experienced actors and the genius Will Sharpe (the director). I also just loved how full of heart the film was. What was it like working with Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy? I didn’t get to work with Claire because of the timeline of the film, but I did meet her and she’s lovely. Benedict is SO kind and generous and his energy is so exciting and positive. He’s a bloody brilliant actor and a truly good person with a golden core. I actually used to have a cardboard cut-out of him because I was obsessed with Sherlock as a teenager. On the last day, I stuck a photo of me and the cut-out in his thank you card. Then I panicked because I realized that might be super weird, but he was so sweet and funny about it. I saw him recently and he was so excited for me about my Bafta win. People like him are such good examples of how you don’t have to be a dick if you’re famous! Do you have any funny behind-the-scenes stories from filming this movie? Sharon Rooney, Stacy Martin, Andrea Riseborough, Hayley Squires and I play Louis Wain’s sisters in the film. We were just such a gal squad—Constantly singing and laughing. Even our uncomfy corsets and age prosthetics couldn’t stop us! The cats were a constant source of entertainment to us because Sharon is scared of them and there were hundreds. I mean, it’s a film about Cats. I have so many funny memories. We have matching rings actually, that Andrea got for us all because we became so close. Oh, and we didn’t leave brother Benedict out, it’s just that he had a lot to do on his own! Whenever he was with us, he was always welcomed into the squad. More generally, is there someone (actor, actress, director, etc.) in the industry that you really want to work with? If so, who and why? Steve McQueen, Shannon Murphy (I’m obsessed with Babyteeth), Jordan Peele and Ally Pankiw are four directors that just came to mind. I want to play Olivia Cooke’s sister in something. I would also love to work with Jodie Comer because I love her loads. I desperately want to be in something written by Lucy Prebble. I really look up to Billie Piper, Michaela Coel, Daisy Haggard, Mae Martin and Ramy Youssef. They create their own work and it’s all astounding. I’m super excited about all the new and exciting talent that we’ve been blessed with recently. I

Aimee wears: Cecile Bahnsen top and dress, Ajoy Sahu shoes, Jessica McCormack earrings and ring

this page - Aimee wears: Simone Rocha dress, Helena Thulin earrings opposite page Aimee wears: Cecile Bahnsen top and dress, Ajoy Sahu shoes, Jessica McCormack earrings and ring

think Bukky Bakray and Kosar Ali are going to soar. They have such magic and presence—I can’t wait to see what else they do. I thought Rocks was just divine. Morfydd Clark was unreal in Saint Maud. Anjana Vasan was spectacular in We Are Lady Parts. Tell us about what you are working on next. I just wrapped on a film called Living. It was amazing. Written by Kazuo Ishiguro and directed by Oliver Hermanus, starring Bill Nighy. Such a bloody incredible team. It’s a story about a man, who after learning he has a terminal illness, really wants to start LIVING for the last few months of his life. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with my character, Margaret. It’s beautiful and moving. Also, it’s set in 1950s London, so my costume, make up and set design were divine! I’m also writing a TV show at the moment. Season 3 of ‘Sex Education’ launches on Netflix on September 17th.

Aimee wears: Simone Rocha dress, Helena Thulin earrings



lee rodriguez

As if the trials and tribulations of teenagehood weren’t traumatic enough, there was also everyone’s not-so-favorite game, Never Have I Ever. In Netflix’s original comedy series, ‘Never Have I Ever,’ Mindy Kaling brings a refreshing, “wholesome” spin to the game. “It’s a coming-of-age comedy that follows an Indian-American teenage girl, named Devi [and her friends]. She is just a mess, but a very relatable mess,” confirms actress Lee Rodriguez, who is Devi’s onscreen (and offscreen) best friend, Fabiola. Rodriguez also reveals that she is terrible at the game because she is terrible at coming up with things she hasn’t done—which makes sense, as the young actress already boasts a list of accomplishments with a pending pipeline of goals and dreams. Onscreen, Rodriguez is a robotics-loving, supportive friend and offscreen—among other things—she is an environmental activist, musician, and maybe even a future sustainable fashion designer. Rodriguez gave MOD the inside scoop on her character, Fabiola, her IGTV channel, “Learning with Lee,” and

Photos by Isaac Sterling

her plans for what she wants to do next. Interview by Sandy Aziz

andy: If you weren’t an actress/musician/model right now, what do you think you would want to be instead and why? Lee: I would probably be making a sustainable clothing line. I mean who’s to say I can’t do that still! Sandy: What do you like to do when you are not filming/working? Lee: I try to keep myself active! I like to learn more about environmental justice and spread awareness on issues affecting our planet. I also love to write music, play guitar, and hang with my family and friends. Sandy: Describe a typical day-in-the-life of Lee! Lee: I love slower days where I can lay in bed and just eat and watch TV. But I’m usually more productive by playing guitar, writing music, meditating, manifesting, going to presentations on climate change, etc. Sandy: Do you have a bucket list? If not, what is something you would add to a bucket list if you had one? Lee: I don’t have a bucket list but one thing I’d add if I did, is go on a gondola ride in Venice, Italy. Sandy: How would you describe yourself in three adjectives? Lee: Intuitive, Caring, and Patient. Sandy: Tell us about your goals and dreams. Lee: I hope to grow and feel accomplished in my acting, music, and whatever other passion I pursue. Of course, using my voice to be an activist for environmental justice is very important to me, so growing in my knowledge in that field is a constant goal of mine. Sandy: What do you and your friends like to do for fun? Lee: We seriously have fun doing just about anything! We talk about life and our goals, or just get advice from each other. We also love to dress up like Sailor Moon characters and do TikTok dances. Sandy: Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them. Lee: My sister. She is probably the kindest person I know. She’s very nurturing and enjoys the small things in life. Which I need to do more of!

Sandy: What terrifies you? Lee: I have this phobia of clusters of holes. It’s called Trypophobia. It’s awful! My whole body gets goosebumps, and my nose starts to itch. It’s just not a good time. Literally thinking of it makes me itch LOL. So yeah, it’s a weird phobia, but surprisingly a lot of people have it. Sandy: Did you ever play Never Have I Ever the game? Lee: I have. I’m terrible at it. I’m terrible at coming up with things I haven’t done. Sandy: Let’s talk Never Have I Ever the series. To those who have not seen the show, how would you describe it in your own words? Lee: I would say…it’s a coming-of-age comedy that follows an Indian-American teenage girl, named Devi. She is just a mess, but a very relatable mess. And there are a bunch of other cool characters that go through very relatable serious issues. It’s a very wholesome show. You should watch it. Sandy: Do you think this show accurately portrays the struggles of teenagerhood? Lee: I think so. The show touches on sooo many issues. And even though it’s a comedy, there are some moments that make you want to bawl your eyes out. It’s also super diverse and a great depiction of the real world. Sandy: So excited about season two. What can viewers expect from the second season if they haven’t binged already? Lee: They can expect for all their questions from season one to be answered­—But also, to have even more questions! New characters! And lots of drama! Sandy: How is your character Fabiola like you or unlike you in real life? Lee: We’re both big on friendship and part of the LGBTQ+ community. We’re different in the sense of hobbies (I can’t build a robot—I tried!) and wardrobe. Sandy: Is there a character on the show that you find yourself relating more to in real life other than Fabiola? Lee: I can relate to a lot of the characters. Eleanor in the sense that I was also really into theatre in high school. And Devi in the sense that I can be a mess at times…but aren’t we all?! It’s a part of growing.

Photos by Isaac Photos Sterling by joseph sinclair

Photos by Isaac Sterling

Sandy: Have you learned anything new by playing Fabiola? If so, what? Lee: I learned that it’s okay to be a nerd! Sandy: Fabiola says the best things… “We are smart. And idiots are banging all the time. We can learn how to do it, too.” What is your favorite Fabiola moment? Lee: When Devi asks Fab, “You like girls right?” And Fab replies, “Very much so. I had a dream the other night that Dua Lipa was feeding me grapes.” Sandy: What is it like working alongside Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Ramona Young? Lee: They are truly my besties. Imagine just being able to see your best friends at work every day. It’s a freaking blast and a blessing. Sandy: Do you have any funny behind-the-scenes stories from season two to share? Lee: Honestly, there are a lot. It comes with the territory of working on a comedy show! One thing I can think of is when Ramona, Jaren and I had a long break and we went exploring on the Universal lot! We ended up on the Jaws set and took a bunch of photos. Ramona fell HARD on our way there… it was so sad, but we also couldn’t help but laugh. Sandy: What is it like working with Mindy Kaling? Lee: Mindy is so supportive. Not only has she created such a wonderful, diverse set, but she also gives us all space to be creative. I am beyond grateful to work with and know her! Sandy: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Lee: “It doesn’t matter how much ‘power’ someone has, we’re all just people. We all deserve the same amount of respect. Don’t let anyone intimidate you because we all

shit at the end of the day.” By my good friend, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Sandy: Tell us about “Learning with Lee” and why you felt it was important to launch this IGTV channel. Lee: Thanks for asking! Well, our world is deteriorating, and it’s because of humans. It’s important for people to know that because we are the ones who can fix it. Hearing the words “climate change” or “environmental justice” can feel overwhelming, and most people avoid it because they don’t know what to do with it. “Learning with Lee” is a space to learn from different environmental activists in an easy way. My hope is to, at the very least, teach a few people about what we can do to be active and take control of the situation! Sandy: More generally, is there someone (actor, actress, director, etc.) in the industry that you really want to work with? If so, who and why? Lee: Anne Hathaway, because she’s Anne Hathaway! She’s such a captivating actress. I don’t even have to have any lines; I will happily do background work to be in her presence and soak it all in. Sandy: What type of role would you like to pursue next? Lee: Besides the background work with Anne Hathaway, something opposite of what I’ve portrayed before. Something more serious, that challenges my dramatic skills. Sandy: Can you tell us about what else you are working on and what is next for you? Lee: Yes! I have been pouring my soul into music lately, and you can expect to hear some of it very soon!


rehwald Step into a world of murder, mystery and more in Netflix’s latest slasher trilogy, Fear Street, based on R.L. Stine’s popular book series. Insert an element of time travel to the trilogy, as part one takes place in 1994, part two in 1978, and part three unravels in 1666. Actress Julia Rehwald makes her cinematic debut as Kate in part one and as Lizzy in part three of the thriller series. The rising star dishes the details on her role in the films, what went on behind the scenes, and her world beyond Fear Street. interview by sandy aziz | photos by Victoria stevens

andy: Before you joined the Fear Street cast, had you read any of R.L. Stine’s books or did you know about the series? Julia: Yeah, I had read a good amount of Fear Street books as a kid. Skipped right past Goosebumps to read some Fear Street! I remember picking them out at the store because the cover art was really cool. Sandy: Describe Fear Street Part One: 1994 in your own words. Julia: Fear Street Part One: 1994 follows a group of misfits from Shadyside as they try to fight their way out of town against an evil witch’s curse. It’s a nostalgic campy story of friendship, young love, underdogs, and murder. Sandy: Tell us about your character Kate—how do you relate to her, if at all, in real life?

Julia: I see a lot of my high school self in Kate. Just like Kate, I was also heavily involved in extracurricular activities in school because I wanted to get into a good college and leave my hometown. We’re both realistic, driven, and not afraid to tell it how it is. I do think Kate is much cooler and more sure of herself than I was at that age though. Kate and I both deeply care about our friends, even if we’re not always great at expressing that. Sandy: What was it like “filming in 1994” (and then in 1666 in Part Three)? Julia: 1994 was awesome. We would be walking into different location sets and suddenly, it’s like we stepped in a time machine and into the 90s! Everything on set, down to the smallest background prop details, were all things you’d see in the 90s. 1666 was a little different because all of our shoots (except some interior scenes we filmed at the sound stage) took place in the same village. They had built the whole village you see in the third movie in this open field in rural Georgia. So, it was a whole small town that

Photos by Victoria Stevens

was all 1600s style, filled with a bunch of animals as well. It was also peak summer Atlanta heat while we were filming 1666… which meant a lot of sweat under the heavy 1600s attire we were wearing. We would all go into the one airconditioned room at the town hall to cool off between takes! Sandy: Tell us about Fear Street Part Three: 1666 in your own words. Julia: Fear Street Part Three: 1666 takes us back to where this all started with Sarah Fier. This is where all the puzzle pieces come together that will help us figure out why these things are happening and how to end the curse. Sandy: Between Part One and Part Three—which do you feel more drawn to and why? Julia: I do think I’m biased toward Part One. It was the first one that we filmed and the bond that we had between the five of us in 1994 can’t be beat, I think; both on-and-off screen. It just has a special place in my heart. I think the characters in 1994 also are what drew me in and made me invest in the whole story to begin with. Sandy: ‘Murder, mystery, and more’ is how the trilogy is being described. What do you think about that? And do you think that this will change the ‘horror’ genre? Julia: I think it’s pretty spot-on! The trilogy takes a lot of notes from classic horror films, pays homages, and (mostly) follows the essential horror genre “rules.” But then on top of this, it subverts expectations and breaks some tropes. We’ve got representation with our leads, as we are rooting for POC and queer characters who probably wouldn’t last long in the cliche horror movie that doesn’t give room for marginalized characters to thrive and fight for themselves. I won’t give any spoilers away, but it’s cool to see this diverse group of kids fight their hardest to survive. They use their brains to come up with ways out of danger and are fearless with facing evil head on. Sandy: What are you most excited about for viewers to see in the trilogy? Julia: The whole thing honestly!! But I’m very excited for them to see the love story of Deena and Sam unfold. Their love is the heart of the trilogy. Sandy: Do you have any funny behind-the-scenes moments from working on set? Julia: A ton probably… haha. The whole 6 months we spent filming were all jam-packed with inside jokes, pranks, etc. We spent all our time off screen together hanging out. There were a few late night/overnight shoots that were the most fun because we all got into that headspace where literally anything was funny, and we just would laugh deliriously at whatever happened in-between takes of being chased by murderers, haha! Sandy: What was it like shooting horror scenes? Julia: It was tricky sometimes because a lot of the ambiance

for horror scenes comes once the score is added. So, before they added the music, we would just have to pretend to hear something scary or pretend like we’re surprised by the villain emerging from behind us (even though we could actually see them coming pretty easily). It was tricky to get the timing of the screams/reactions just right, but also fun to try and make them seem both authentic and in the style of classic scream queen vibes. Sandy: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Julia: I’m not sure to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever been told a piece of advice that I ended up remembering and sticking with afterward… not sure if that’s a good or bad thing! Sandy: Tell us where you are from and where you consider to be home. Julia: I grew up a little outside of Sacramento, California but I’ve lived in NYC for 7 years now. I think NYC is where I would call home. Although, to me, home is more about the people I’m with rather than the place itself. I don’t feel like my hometown is my home, but home is when I’m with my family there. Sandy: What is your favorite place on Earth and why? Julia: Probably at home in Brooklyn—in bed. Or this one village by the beach I visited in the Faroe Islands near Denmark a couple years ago. I would love to go back and visit there. Sandy: Describe your perfect day. Julia: Sleep in a little bit. Have some tea and toast while I wake up. Spend the day hanging out with friends. Maybe a hike or a day out shopping or bar-hopping or anything really, as long as I’m with friends. Definitely have to have some good food in there though. Then wind down with some wine and video games before bed. That’s like my idea of a perfect kind of low-key day. Sandy: What is the most bizarre thing you have seen/ heard lately? Julia: Honestly, I feel like there’s something bizarre almost every day on the subway or on the streets that none of it feels that bizarre anymore, it just feels like part of the daily routine at this point. That’s just the charm of the city though. Sandy: How would you describe yourself in three words? Julia: Witty. Ambitious. Lactose-intolerant. Sandy: If you weren’t an actress, what do you think you would be doing instead? Julia: There’s an alternate world in which I didn’t pursue acting, where I probably would’ve gone to either business school or law school. But in this non-alternate timeline I would probably try to pursue writing or producing if I for

some reason decided I didn’t want to act anymore. Sandy: Tell us about a goal you have. Julia: My career goal is to become successful and branch out into producing. I want to be able to produce and collaborate on stories that focus on Southeast Asian representation, particularly Filipino stories. I want to see more Filipinos on screen in Hollywood and I want to help tell these stories myself and do what I can to get more representation. I could possibly see myself writing, but I’m not very confident in my writing at the moment so I’m more focused on producing. But that could change, who knows?!

Photos by Victoria Stevens

Sandy: More generally, is there someone in the industry that you really want to work with? If so, who and why? Julia: The two directors I dream about working with are Bong Joon Ho and Greta Gerwig. I’ve been a fan of Bong Joon Ho since I was in middle school. His movies are so smart, funny, unsettling, and always feel like they’re bringing something new to the table. I think being from Sacramento myself obviously had me biased toward Greta Gerwig for a while—it’s wild to watch movies like Ladybird and see my own high school experiences be told on screen with such heart and sensitivity. I think she really knows how to write female characters in a genuinely layered way that you often don’t see in Hollywood. She balances humor and heart so, so, so well. Sandy: What type of acting role would you want to pursue next? Julia: I think I’d want to try either a character that feels very different from Kate, in terms of personality, or I would want to try to do a project that feels very different from Fear Street in tone. A romantic comedy could be fun, or a coming-of-age story or family drama. Something with perhaps less drastic stakes than Fear Street. Sandy: What are you working on next? Julia: Not sure what’s next yet! Going through a lot of auditions and self-tapes at the moment. So, I’m also curious to see what’s next!