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How Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer is shining a light on trans and queer representation

"I think there’s a phenomenon among the trans and queer community."
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If you haven’t heard of Euphoria by now, we’re fairly certain you are living under a rock. The HBO original series has taken the world by storm and has well and truly broken the mold of what “teen dramas” are known for.

WATCH: Euphoria | Season 2 Official Trailer

While all eyes were on Zendaya, who plays protagonist Rue Bennet, it was Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn that was undoubtedly the show’s breakout star.

A proud trans woman, Hunter is fast becoming a pioneer for queer youth, who are grossly underrepresented in the media.

“I’ve received quite a few messages from trans people who are excited about the representation on the show,” she told Marie Claire in 2019.

Hunter Schafer, Zendaya
Hunter stars alongside Zendaya in HBO’s Euphoria. (Credit: HBO)

The trans community wasted no time in crowning Hunter a role model, a title she is unsure she can live up to.

“I don’t really know if it’s up to me anymore,” she said.

When speaking to the New York Times about gender as a concept, she said: “Earlier in my transition, I think I relied on a vantage point of the world that was very close to the gender binary and was only able to be myself in the gender-binary viewpoint.

“And as I’ve learned more about my community and come to understand gender as a spectrum, and the gender binary as something that’s nonexistent and a construct and a product of colonialism, I have sort of let go of the idea that I need to do the one or the other—and just let myself be.”

Hunter Schafer
The trans community wasted no time in crowning Hunter a role model. (Credit: Getty)

Hunter previously said her sexuality is “closer to what you might call a lesbian” during an interview with Dazed in 2019, but two years later she set the record straight on her sexual identity. 

“Hunter Schafer is a lesbian. congratulations lesbians. you’ve taken from me the one thing that matters most,” a viral post said, which prompted the actress to clarify her sexual orientation.

She replied: “As much as I wish this were true I would like to vaguely clarify that unfortunately, I am like bi or pan or something.”

Hunter Schafer
Hunter at the 2021 Met Gala. (Credit: Getty)

From walking runways in Paris and Milan for Dior, Miu Miu, and Helmut Lang to gracing the covers of fashion magazines all over the world, Hunter has packed a lot into her 23 years of life.

“I worked with some of my favorite designers on the planet, but I never really made a lot of money. I was living paycheck to paycheck,” she admitted.

Hunter was considering walking away from modelling and heading to university when the role of Jules on Euphoria more or less fell into her lap.

“I had seen the casting call floating around on Instagram. A few days later, I got a call from my agent saying that the network requested I come in [and read] for it. So I decided to give it a shot,” she told the publication.

Hunter Schafer
From Prada campaigns to gracing the covers of fashion magazines all over the world, Hunter has packed a lot into her 23 years of life. (Credit: Instagram)

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Hunter, who said she’s reluctant to try method acting, admitted she sees a lot of herself in her character Jules.

“Some people might say that doesn’t make me as strong of an actor, but…that’s how I learned. I’m still forming that process and also setting boundaries, which I didn’t have in season one,” she told Harper’s Bazaar last year.

Hunter mused that blurred lines between an actor and their role creates a “deeper” character.

Hunter Schafer
Hunter mused that blurred lines between an actor and their role creates a “deeper” character. (Credit: Getty)

“I don’t know if I’ve talked about this in the press before, but I think there’s a phenomenon among the trans and queer community, and it’s why we make great artists a lot of the time,” she told the magazine.

“When your exterior world and your body and your self are not in line with who you are, you turn inward. And my theory is that I built a really rich inner world until I started feeling like myself in my body.

“I’ve been trying to do the work of digging up stuff, but it’s going to take a while to excavate everything.”

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