Hunter Schafer Is Making the Television She Wants to Watch
The actor on fame, Euphoria, and writing her own stories.
After two years trailblazing such runways as Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs, 22-year-old actor, writer, and producer Hunter Schafer landed a starring role on HBO’s Euphoria. Playing 17-year-old trans teen Jules Vaughn, Schafer—who, in 2016, was a plaintiff in the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against North Carolina House Bill 2, which required people to use the restroom associated with the sex they were assigned at birth—brought her own experience to the groundbreaking role. This year Schafer cowrote and coproduced a special episode for Euphoria, emerging as a crucial voice in a new era of storytelling.
THE OLDEST OF four siblings, she was raised in North Carolina by her mother and pastor father, and transitioned in high school.
SHE SAYS SHE “fell into acting. It was not in my plan. I was in New York modeling and saving up to go to fashion school, then Euphoria came along and I decided to go for it.”
SHE WAS ENROLLED at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins arts and design college when she landed the role. “We started filming in L.A. the same month I was supposed to start school. I don’t think I ever told them that I wasn’t coming.”
THE SERIES WAS nominated for six Emmys and won three; its visceral depiction of high school life garnered controversy and praise.
THE YOUNG CAST launched into a daunting level of exposure. “I wasn’t expecting to be this vulnerable with such a large group of people.”
SHE CALLS FAME “a wild thing that has taken some getting used to.”
THE IDEA FOR the episode she cowrote came when Jules—“whether or not she was a villain”—started trending on Twitter. “It pissed us off. We understand Jules’s narrative with a care that not everyone had experienced yet.”
SHE DESCRIBES EUPHORIA creator Sam Levinson, with whom she wrote the episode, as “my mentor, my L.A. mother, one of my best friends.”
WRITING AND PRODUCING the episode, which explores Jules’s memories through a therapy session, came naturally: “I loved the technicalities of imagining what the room is like, what she’s wearing.”
THE EPISODE TITLE, “F**k Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob,” is “a layered statement in that everyone has an amoebic or fluid feeling inside of them—it’s a matter of whether or not you’re tapped into acknowledging it.”
WHAT’S NEXT? “There are love stories—particularly for the people in my community, the ways that we move throughout the world—that are unique. That’s something I really want to make stuff about.”