Unapologetically authentic, with a slight dose of self-proclaimed social awkwardness, is the perfect way to describe Brianna Hildebrand. She’s here, and she’s queer. (And very proud of it!) Hildebrand plays Elodie in the new Netflix hit Trinkets. You may even recognize her from Deadpool or from the Netflix campaign Prism. Not only is her character in Trinkets, Elodie, relatable, but she’s also totally relatable. Our cell interview for our Summer 2019 issue was relaxed, and I secretly, deeply felt a lot of what she talked about.
So I checked out a couple of episodes of Trinkets, which came out in June! First of all, congrats. How are you feeling now that it’s finally out?
I’m feeling good… I was super nervous about it, mostly because my character is very different than what I’ve done before. I love the message, and I think the friendship of the show is the sweetest.
Can you give us a quick rundown of your character, Elodie?
Elodie is super awkward. She’s grieving her mother, and she just moved to a new town. She’s all-together lost. She doesn’t have a friend group, and she doesn’t know how to go about getting a friend group. I think that’s the most relatable part, finding a friend group. Elodie is a loner in every sense.
Are there ways in which you and Elodie are alike? How are you different?
I feel I’m a lot like Elodie in most ways, but I also think she’s just relatable. I think most people can relate to Elodie at some point in their lives. She tends to not be the best at socializing sometimes, and I think I’m the same way. I think I gave her that social awkwardness that I tend to harbor. She’s also queer, something I also am. We are different in the way we cope with things. She tends to use items to fill a void. I turn towards creative expression. I think there’s a lot of me in Elodie, especially in situations where she thinks she said the wrong thing or made things awkward. I have a lot of those moments daily.
In what ways has this specific role challenged you?
It’s challenged me in the fact that my character isn’t very guarded. She doesn’t wear a mask, and she’s very much herself. I tend to play characters who are very guarded, apathetic, and harsh. I think that’s really fun so it was a challenge getting used to allowing people to see me awkward and uncomfortable.
You are part of the Netflix campaign, Prism! What has that experience been like for you?
It’s been super awesome. I had the best time of my life shooting the stuff for that campaign. The set was just queer people, and we were all screaming for each other while dancing. It’s an honor to be involved in something so special with people I love and adore. I’m excited!
June was Pride month! There has been some controversy about companies printing items in a rainbow design without taking any real action and calling it support. In your eyes, what are some ways people can truly support the community and become active allies?
There are so many ways, but I think attending a Pride event as an ally is a fun and great thing to do. It’s awesome to physically be there for people you support. Make friends who are in the community and ask them how you can be a support.
For the longest time, I tripped myself up because I asked myself, “When am I going to get there? When am I going to feel 1000% happy about who I am all of the time?” To be honest, to this day, I don’t feel that way every day. No one does. It’s about the journey and being nice to yourself. Be nice to yourself. Be your own friend, and relax.
From the outside, Hollywood looks pretty liberal to people. From the inside, can you share how your experience has been in the industry as someone part of the LGBTQ+ community?
I haven’t really had the worst time. I’ve been out since high school so I came into the industry out and open. I haven’t had too many issues, but a while ago, I met with a few different publicists. Quite a bit of them had something to say about me being queer and wanted to help me jump start on keeping it on the down-low. I wasn’t a big fan of that, and I didn’t see the point. Other than that, it’s been pretty good. I think it’s a great time for Hollywood. They are opening up and doing more than they used to for the community, making space for queer people. Even on Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds asked me if I would be comfortable with having a girlfriend and was super about it. I feel like it’s something that wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago.
Stepping back and looking at the big picture, what has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Everyone is just a person. I came into it all being super starstruck, and I am still starstruck sometimes because I admire so many people’s work. However, everyone is sort of the same inside. We all have the same anxiety, or we all feel overwhelmed. It’s okay that I’m not always confident because no one is.
While it is unfortunate so many young people still have to worry about the process of “coming out” to family members, what is some advice you have for someone still going through the process of figuring out who they are?
It’s important to remember no matter where you are in the process, it’s okay. It’s okay to be where you are. It’s okay to not be ready. It’s also okay to be so out your family hates you. It’ll always be a journey for you. For the longest time, I tripped myself up because I asked myself, “When am I going to get there? When am I going to feel 1000% happy about who I am all of the time?” To be honest, to this day, I don’t feel that way every day. No one does. It’s about the journey and being nice to yourself. Be nice to yourself. Be your own friend, and relax.
STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD
PHOTOS DERRICK FRESKE
MAKEUP ADAM BREUCHAUD
HAIR KAT THOMPSON for TMG-LA
STYLIST KAREN RAPHAEL