Initially rising to fame with a competitive dancing and musical theatre career, Lilia Buckingham has grown her passion for the arts by exploring other mediums like acting and writing. Her most recent role is as Autumn on Brat’s digital series Dirt on YouTube. With Dirt’s return for its second season, Buckingham recounts the growth and development of her character, as well as her personal life as a young actress. Read an excerpt of our conversation below and order a copy of the Winter 2019 issue here.
Let’s start off with some background. Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
My name is Lilia Buckingham. I’m an actress and a dancer, and I currently am working on a digital series on a network called Brat. I grew up doing competitive dance and musical theater; I have always loved the arts. I love writing as well.
We are so excited for Season two of Dirt coming out in January! For those who haven’t seen the show before, could you give a brief synopsis on what it is about and your character, Autumn?
It’s kind of like Friday Night Lights but in the world of motocross. My character’s dad, her name is Autumn, owns the racetrack, and so basically she is kind of the total opposite of what she’s surrounded by. She’s always surrounded by boys and kind of tough guys, which are like motocross bikers, and she’s the head cheerleader. She loves photography. She’s very artistic, and she kind of is in love with the main character, whose name is Luke. She’s always conflicted about that.
With Brat seeing such a dramatic growth this past year, how has joining the Brat family changed your life?
It’s been the craziest change ever. I started on Brat right when it was sort of taking off, and I’ve gotten so many more experiences. I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing friends, and I’ve definitely grown as an actress as well as a person because I’m surrounded by so many amazing actors and other people. And my social media following has definitely grown as well. So it’s kind of been this drastic jump where I think now it’s kind of strange whenever I go out and sometimes people will be like, “Oh my god, Autumn,” and I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s me.” So it’s been a very fun and very exciting change in my life, and it’s definitely showed me that I want to continue acting and continue storytelling. It’s really opened up so many doors in so many different ways, and I’m so grateful for it.
In your opinion, how do you think Brat has impacted the entertainment industry as a whole?
In a lot of ways, I think. People are realizing that kids in our generation love digital media. The shows are like 20 minutes, so you don’t have to have a 50-minute episode to make people interested. People are falling in love with these characters in 20 minutes, so I think companies or entertainment outlets will start realizing that it is possible to get an audience interested in less time. That’s kind of what Brat’s doing, and it’s definitely working.
Personally, how do you like to use social media for good?
I try my best to speak out on causes that I care about or I try to educate kids. I don’t want to try and push views on anyone or push ideas onto anyone; I think it’s more like educating others that this is what’s going on in the world and this is how you can help… I also try my best to show people authenticity: I’m a teenager, and I’m going through all of the same things that you guys are going through. No one has a perfect life. I think it’s important to show authenticity, and that’s what I try to do.”
What are your goals for the future?
I definitely want to be in more shows. Maybe one day a movie, that’d be crazy! Hopefully, I’ll have the book out by 2020, which will be amazing, and then I’m hoping one day to go into producing and directing because I have so many stories that I want to tell.
What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to add?
Well, I’m doing a movie with Brat, which will be super fun. I don’t think I can say anything else about it yet, but we’re doing a movie! And then I’m writing a book right now with [Sara Shepard] who wrote Pretty Little Liars. She’s incredible and that will be coming out May 2020.
STORY JANICE KIM
PHOTOS JERRY MAESTAS
HAIR CAITLIN KRENZ at OPUS BEAUTY using ORIBE
MAKEUP JEANNINE SELF
STYLIST CASSY MEIER
Read more in Volume IV, Issue No. 001 – Winter 2019.