Take Yasmin Finney, who last year became an instant star on Netflix’s Heartstopper, but also stresses about meeting men on dating apps — and has valid criticism for the boundaries of representation in culture while trans rights are under attack. Still, her transness informs the way she carries herself, how she sees herself as someone who can change the world. As writer Lexi McMenamin puts it in their interview with Finney, “There’s the extent to which being an actress is automatically about how others perceive you; transness asks instead, How do you see you?”
Industry and Bodies Bodies Bodies star Myha’la Herrold is used to existing on borderlines between “correct” and “incorrect.” Defined by a society that never knew quite what to do with her as she was growing up, she eventually realized that her talent could acutely affect the way people see her. Amrit Kaur of Sex Lives of College Girls saw art as a means of healing her own perceptions of herself and discovering community. All of Us Are Dead and Little Women star Park Ji-hu knows her characters sometimes make baffling choices, but she approaches these roles with empathy and sincerity all the same. There are so many ways to be a young woman.
These women of New Hollywood are more than one thing, more than a single identity marker, even two, or three. Prey and Avatar the Last Airbender actor Amber Midthunder feels the tension of bringing authentic representation to her Indigeneity, resistance to being made a caricature for the screen, and pressure to represent a multifaceted identity group; she’s asserting herself as a person who can encompass multitudes.
Hollywood is a spectacle, complete with pressures and expectations that reflect society's pressures and expectations related to appearance, gender and sexuality, aesthetics, behavior. Capitalism urges you to take what’s yours. But these young Hollywood actors know timing is everything, and fame is fleeting. Dominique Thorne first auditioned for Shuri in Black Panther, only to find herself cast as the heroine Ironheart years later. “I'm much more interested in challenging myself to figure out how I can continue to exercise patience, peace, and stillness,” she tells Kaitlyn McNab, "because that has always been the thing that keeps me feeling like me.” Ruth Codd, who starred in Netflix’s The Midnight Club, doesn’t think about fame at all. She's more interested in putting her whole self on the line to do her best work. She’s doing what she wants and seeing where that leads.