Rom-coms are currently popular on Netflix and their new one, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, is just what you need before summer ends.
It follows Sierra (Shannon Purser), a teen who has a crush on Jamey (Noah Centineo). When he texts her by mistake, thinking he has popular girl Veronica’s (Kristine Froseth) cell number, she texts him back, without letting him know her true identity. When he wants to do a video call, Sierra has to team up with Veronica, telling her what to say. But what next?
I sat down in Los Angeles with Shannon and Kristine to talk about filming Sierra Burgess is a Loser, their characters, the message of this film and of course, I asked them some fun questions! ~Marriska Fernandes
Shannon, what was it like taking the lead for the first time?
It was incredible. I wasn’t expecting it necessarily. I’m very grateful they trusted me to tell the story. It was definitely a lot more pressure than I dealt with before. But I did an all right job and I came out stronger.
You did a great job!
I love the message in this film. The characters are not your typical smart girl/popular girl scenario. What did you relate to most about your characters?
Kristine: I think I identified with Veronica going through high school and putting on a façade of who I was supposed to be. I was so unsure of who I was as a person, I put on an act kind of throughout high school to fit in with other people and I think Veronica does that as well.
Shannon: I related to Sierra in the fact that I tend to come off as pretty confident in who I am, but definitely in high school I had a lot of insecurity and was unsure if I should be changing myself to fit in more. I definitely changed myself with my first boyfriend and wanted to be this ideal girlfriend. I think temptation is ever present to become something that you think is more socially acceptable.
This film was less about the girl getting the guy, but more about the friendship between the two girls and how women view each other — whether in high school or on social media. Can you talk about that aspect of the story?
Shannon: It definitely helped that we became friends very quickly. We got along very well. I think people are more alike than they are different, especially in high school. No matter what clique you belong to, everybody’s trying to get approval and trying to fit in. I think Veronica and Sierra were both similar in that way. They both felt that kind of insecurity.
This film shines a light on body image and self-acceptance. What advice would you give to other women, including high school students, struggling with insecurity?
Shannon: It’s hard. We’re constantly bombarded with perfect airbrushed images. Every magazine you look at is like top 20 tricks to have the perfect body and it’s ridiculous. There’s so much beauty in life and there’s so much that’s so important. If I could go back to my teenage self I’d be like, “You have an amazing group of friends, you have a family that loves you — the things you are valuing are not going to serve you later in life. There are more important things to focus on.”
Is that what attracted you to this script?
Kristine: Yes, definitely, the message of the movie and that hopefully people can relate to it. And find that in themselves to stick to who they are and not let all the pressure change you.
Shannon: There’s nothing more validating or fulfilling than being loved for who you are. When you change yourself you never really know if people really care about you or they just like this image you’re projecting. So if somebody can watch this and realize that who they are is more than good enough and that they are lovable and don’t have to conform, then that’s my goal.
Have you been catfished before or have you catfished someone?
Shannon: Oh gosh!
Kristine: [to Shannon] Have you? (laughs)
Shannon (laughs): Not like a long con of trying to infiltrate somebody’s life… but yeah, I have. Not to get in a relationship, but I have sent anonymous messages or like reached out to somebody to gauge their interest. That sounds really terrible! So yes, when I was like 13 (laughs). The internet is a dangerous place when you’re that young. But not in many years.
If you could catfish anyone in Hollywood, who would you pick?
Kristine: Steve Carell. I love him!
Shannon: Oh, I love him. I’d say maybe John Mulaney, like a comedian because I feel like they would have a good sense of humor (laughs).
Just like the title of the film, Sierra Burgess is…, complete the statement: Shannon Purser is…? Kristine Froseth is…?
Kristine: Wow, you have great questions!
Shannon: I know!
Kristine: Hmm… Kristine Froseth is ever-changing!
Shannon: Good one! Ok… Shannon is growing!
How would you define yourself in high school?
Shannon: I was creative, a theater nerd and loved art… and [was] very eclectic.
Kristine: I moved a lot growing up so I was always the new girl and I had to adapt a lot because of that.
What are you currently binging on Netflix?
Shannon: I love Black Mirror, GLOW, Big Mouth and Stranger Things. Oh, The End of the F**king World is very good!
Kristine: Yes, GLOW! The End of the F**king World is my fave!
Thanks so much for the chat!