Hunter Schafer on Art, Love, Ambition—and Life Beyond ‘Euphoria’

She understands better than anyone that her particular job requires more extracurricular work than some of her fellow breakout Euphoria stars. “I know for a fact that I’m one of the most famous trans people in media right now, and I do feel a sense of responsibility, and maybe a little bit of guilt, for not being more of a spokesperson,” Schafer says. “But ultimately, I really do believe that not making it the centerpiece to what I’m doing will allow me to get further. And I think getting further and doing awesome shit, in the interest of ‘the movement,’ will be way more helpful than talking about it all the time.”

Decentering transness from her story is a privilege Schafer has earned by having spent her formative years advocating for trans rights, and her early 20s portraying a trans character whose storyline has become so entwined with her own life. And there’s a meta quality at play here that we’re both aware of; of having to acknowledge the thing in plain language so that the thing might not have to be acknowledged one day. Schafer knows that getting to that point requires people like her to continuously break the mold, to plaster on a smile and talk about it and help people understand. But her years of being the sunny, people-pleasing young advocate and star have clearly taken a toll. It’s not so much that Schafer has hardened herself, but more that she’s learned to embrace a little cynicism as a protective measure. In short, she’s grown up.

“I’ve kind of lost interest in achieving some sort of utopia,” Schafer says. “I am totally cool with people hating me for being trans or calling me a man. I am not interested in trying to convince them anymore. As long as you’re staying in your lane”—she points away from her, across the room—“work. Work! Do that. And I’m going to be over here with people I love.”

At this stage in her life, Schafer is much more interested in tending to the interior, spiritual side of her transness, and sharing that with the people who make her feel consistently safe and held. Last year, she directed the music video for Anohni and the Johnsons’ single “Why Am I Alive Now?” and reflected on a conversation she had with Anohni in the aftermath.

“I don’t have that many trans elders in my life, and this one thing that she said just kind of burned into my brain,” Schafer says, and then paraphrases it for me: “Mother Nature persists. There have been trans people for so long, and they keep making more of us. So there’s something there. There’s something there.

“I think there’s something kind of cosmic and mystical about that,” Schafer continues. “When I look at other trans people’s art, there’s this frequency, this kind of common thread—whether it’s a sound or an aesthetic—that’s consistent. I think it’s probably yielded from the shared experience that we all have that’s very unique. There’s something really spiritual about it, and kind of magical. And of course it sucks, but I also wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Because Schafer didn’t set out to be an actor, she has a tendency to talk about her acting career like it’s a happy accident, or a dream she could wake up from at any moment. When she’s between projects, as she is when we talk, she has a habit of pondering all the different paths her life could take. “I always kind of get into the spiral of, Am I meant to be doing this?” she says. “I think I could probably keep doing the acting thing for a while, just based on how shit’s been going, which is really cool. But there are so many other things that I want to do with my life that I kind of put on hold and I don’t want to let go of.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top