"Keep telling real stories. Even in a 22-minute comedy on TV Land, such as our show, it’s important to tell real people’s stories," says actress Molly Bernard emphatically, who is currently celebrating the renewal of 'Younger' for a seventh season.
Bernard plays Lauren Heller on the show, and we caught up with her recently to discuss Lauren's BDE and the importance of visible diversity in television...
...the great quality that Lauren has in friendship, is she wants her friends to succeed so much and will stop at nothing to see them succeed and shine. I mean, we all need a friend like that.
COUP DE MAIN: Congrats on ‘Younger’ being renewed for the seventh season - that’s such exciting news! Were you excited to hear about the renewal?
MOLLY BERNARD: Oh my god, we are all so excited for Season Seven! I think we’re all kind of pinching ourselves, it’s pretty crazy.
CDM: Having played your character now for six seasons, and soon to be seven, you must feel so at home on-set and playing Lauren?
MOLLY: I do! That’s funny, no-one has ever said that, but that’s exactly how I feel. Every time we get back to shooting a new season, I feel like, ‘Oh, there she is.’ I’m really not like her in my colloquial, everyday life, but I do feel at home in her body and in her size, because she’s such a big personality.
CDM: You’ve said that when you are playing Lauren you can’t focus on anything else (doing other auditions etc.) because it requires so much focus and so much of your brain. Do you still feel that way? It’s interesting because some actors say it gets easier and requires sometimes less focus once you’ve played a character for a length of time.
MOLLY: I had this audition for this pilot that I loved this past season playing ‘Younger’ and I think now that we are six seasons in, I’m very selective with what I choose to do. I was playing someone so different, she also has big kahunas. I did not get the part, and it was still a wonderful experience to try to play someone who is nothing like Lauren, other than her sheer kind of-- I sometimes describe Lauren as having white male confidence. It’s a great thing to bring into other roles, is what I learned, and also in auditioning for some other stuff.
CDM: I feel like Lauren has big dick energy.
MOLLY: Yes, she definitely has BDE.
CDM: Do you have any fond memories/anecdotes from filming season six of the show?
MOLLY: Yeah, there were some real laugh-out-loud scenes this season that were pretty hard to get through. I think one of my favourite scenes that I’ve shot was actually with Nico [Tortorella] - we were outside shooting this montage for Josh’s baby. It was really fun, we had a blast.
CDM: You told Teen Vogue, “I think we all need a friend like Lauren.” What do you think the most important qualities in friendship are?
MOLLY: Lauren has Kelsey and Liza and Maggie, and now Diana - she has their back in such a serious way, and really what I mean, and the great quality that Lauren has in friendship, is she wants her friends to succeed so much and will stop at nothing to see them succeed and shine. I mean, we all need a friend like that.
CDM: Your character Lauren is pansexual, and it’s really cool to see diversity like that in television. Does it feel empowering to be a part of the diversity happening in TV? Do you think that things are getting better?
MOLLY: Yeah, I agree that visible diversity is really important, and I think Lauren was the first pansexual character on television. As I said before, it’s really a gift to play someone who is so comfortable in their sexuality and is also not defined by their sexuality. I think the show does a really good job of not glossing over it, and not making a big deal about it, and this group of friends just has this person in their friend group named Lauren who has a billion other characteristics that are more notable than her sexuality. I think that that in and of itself is a really important visible diversity - that you don’t have to go, “Oh, this is my gay friend Jonathan,” or “This is my bi friend Molly.” I think that representation, that it happens to be a part of who the full person is, is really important. I think the writers do a really good job with Lauren in giving her so much confidence that it’s not a troubled-- I don’t think she ever came out to her parents, her parents are just accepting of who she is.
CDM: What else do you think can be done to help television and film become more representative of the real world?
MOLLY: Keep telling real stories. Even in a 22-minute comedy on TV Land, such as our show, it’s important to tell real people’s stories. A lot of the stories on our show come out of the writers in the writer's room - their lives, things that they’ve overheard, things that they’ve found funny, and things that they’ve experienced.
CDM: What things have you learnt from your character Lauren?
MOLLY: I’ve learned how to dress better! My bank account isn’t thanking Lauren for that though, my bank account is like, ‘Your taste got more expensive!’ That’s also thanks to our designer on the show. I think I have learned to be more confident and really accept my zaniness. At this point I don’t know what the line is between Lauren and Molly sometimes - and that’s really cool, because one of the magic alchemy recipes for success on serialised episodic television is that at a certain point, the writers are writing for the actors, and that’s really cool, that they’re no longer writing just story and character, but they’re writing for who is playing those characters. That unleashes a world of fun, and sometimes the lines can be blurry.
Season 6 of 'Younger' is out now - watch the trailer below: