Hunter Schafer On Season 2 Of ‘Euphoria’ And Her Conversation With Gogo Graham

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The fashion designer Gogo Graham and model-turned-Euphoria star Hunter Schafer took turns interviewing each other about their respective art forms during a recent episode of Adobe’s Create Change—a series that features conversations between notable creators in the fashion, arts, and culture spaces—on a recent episode of Adobe’s Create Change. Part of the reason Graham founded her brand, she said, was because she saw so little representation of trans people in fashion, especially behind the scenes, during their conversation. Schafer, in turn, came across Graham’s work during her “first true immersion in some type of trans community,” as she describes it.

During a day off from filming season two of Euphoria, Schafer spoke with W about her conversation with Graham—which is now available in a bite-sized, 10-minute video on Adobe’s website—the importance of building trans community, her Euphoria character Jules’s journey, and the up-and-coming trans creatives who are inspiring her right now.

Your conversation with Gogo was eye-opening. Although most of it has always been regarded through the perspective of cis homosexual males, many people think of fashion as the first place they see a queer aesthetic in a prominent position. When you were a kid, did you recognize queerness in fashion or did you feel like you couldn’t see yourself in it?

There are many sides to fashion, but when it came to the artistic designers I adored and studied when I was younger and in high school—when my main life ambition was to be a fashion designer—I discovered a style that I could picture myself in through high fashion. It’s all connected to the fantasy fashion industry. While I believe this fantasy is debatable, there is some validity in the fact that you are envisioning yourself in a context where you feel like yourself as a type of escapism or desire. At the moment, this made it appear possible.

Do you recall any images from your childhood that have stayed with you?

It’s almost everyone’s first fashion crush—Alexander McQueen was one of mine. It expanded beyond the confines of actual life when I discovered his collections and the aspect of performance, as well as how otherworldly everything felt. That, I believe, was all I was searching for at the time, and it is still something I look for in fashion and the media.

Fashion has the ability to provide people with such escapism.

I believe it is escapism in certain ways. In other aspects, I believe it to be the whole truth. While it may seem excessive to devote so much time, energy, or effort to your looks, especially for trans individuals, you aren’t truly yourself until you feel like you’re presenting yourself to the world.

 

Hunter Schafer On Season 2 Of 'Euphoria' And Her Conversation With Gogo Graham

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You mentioned finding her early on in your conversation with Gogo. How important has her work been to you, as well as following her journey?

It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My first genuine absorption in any type of trans community coincided with the discovery of her work. At the time, I was seeing my first girlfriend, a trans lady who taught me how to embrace being trans and introduced me to a number of t-girls that I still adore and consider family. Part of it was due to her introducing me to all of this incredible work that I would not have discovered if I hadn’t been entrenched in some type of community. It was incredible, and it made me a little sad that she didn’t get more attention. Because the things she’s doing and has been making are magnificent and amazing. No one else is doing anything remotely similar to her.

Right, and she’s been much ahead of the game in terms of sustainability.

Without a doubt.

You’ve stated that you want to be a fashion designer. Is that something you’d still like to do in the future?

It’s still something I ponder frequently. At the moment, I’m fairly preoccupied. I got sucked into acting and am having a great time doing it. It’s been hectic and inspiring, and it’s all still in line with what I want to do as an artist, thankfully. In that sense, it all seems to fit together. Whatever I’m working on right now will have an impact on the job I do in the future. Returning to creating or working in the fashion industry is something I’d love to do at some point. Someday, I’d like to find time to work as a creative director in some capacity.

It all feels connected, so there isn’t necessarily a plan, but it’s always on my mind.

You recently collaborated on the writing of an episode for Euphoria. How vital has it been behind the scenes to ensure that Jules is not the only representative but also feels like a real person rather than a cardboard cutout?

It’s never been a question, giving her the substance and life she deserves as a character. I can’t even say it was planned, because it just happened. Thankfully, that’s because I’ve been given the opportunity by a fantastic production team, led by showrunner and creator Sam Levinson. He’s been the most cooperative and open to sharing and having me there with him, truly fleshing out the character’s body and life. It’s similar to world-building, which has always been one of my artistic goals.

I’m not looking for spoilers, but are there any places you’re thrilled to take the character next season?

I’m very looking forward to the upcoming season and what I’ve been working on for Jules. We’re now in production, so we’re right in the middle of things. I’m not sure how much more I can say without getting in trouble, but trust me when I say it’s thrilling.

Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’re particularly enthusiastic about?

Again, nothing I can reveal too much about, but I can say that since we wrapped season one, I’ve been thinking about things, and I’m working on a few projects that I hope to be able to share with you soon. Thankfully, I’m in a situation where people are flocking to me because they’ve recognized me in their vision. It’s been the most incredible experience to have these incredible artists I’d never met before come forward with images of me as an actress standing in for a character they created.

The Mugler show was another item you did last year that a lot of people were talking about. Were you taken aback by the response?

I’m not the best at reading people’s reactions, and I don’t always pay attention to how they react. That’s been part of the learning curve since I first encountered the fame aspect of it all: putting my work out there and then letting it go, not caring too much about how it’s received. But in terms of the show, it was a dream come true. I hadn’t done runways since leaving modeling to pursue acting, but I’d been keeping up with fashion and was really enjoying Casey Cadwallader’s work, casting, and vision for Mugler. He sent me a DM and told me to go for a walk. ‘You know what, I kinda missed the runway,’ I said.

Who are some other trans creatives who are inspiring you right now?

This is a fantastic question. I literally repeat Arca every time I’m asked a question in an interview. She is one of my role models.

In terms of new talent, I adore this gal who goes by the online handle Orb Goddess. She’s a fantastic painter, and I’ve been following her progress on Instagram and Twitter for the past few years. I want to collaborate with her on something, and it will happen. No Sesso is a fantastic Los Angeles label founded by Pierre Davis, who creates truly unique and lively material. The other day, I took over their Instagram stories. Obviously, I’m always rooting for Gogo Graham. I’ve also dabbled in DJing, which I’ve been doing with some of my friends. There’s Bapari, a phenomenal Black trans DJ who is currently on the rise. Tweaks, Silhouette, they’re all killing it. Creighton Baxter is a fantastic illustrator whom I only recently discovered on Instagram. There is a slew of others. Putting folks on is one of my favorite things to do.

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