The adult film star turned breakout actress of Euphoria season two opens up about playing Faye, those nude scenes and her battle with acne
It’s 9am and Chloe Cherry and I are laying on her hotel bed together, heads side-by-side as we share a pillow. Her clothes are haphazardly thrown around the room, her suitcase is open on the floor, and there are PR packages everywhere. Beside us, a Byredo Woods candle is lit by the bedside and the sun is starting to break through the clouds.
The former adult film star and online sex worker is the latest addition to the Euphoria cast, making her TV debut as the fan-favourite and stand-out star Faye – a heroin addict with car-crash energy bringing hilarious one-liners to unsettling scenes.
In real life, Cherry has an energy that is both calm and chaotic in equal measure. She answers the door in worn navy joggers, rubbing her eyes with a jumper emblazoned with the word PROZAC. Her fingers and toes are painted a sour candy blue and her yellow blonde hair is curled chaotically around her face. Even this early in the morning, Cherry looks like a Tim Burton character dipped in sunlight.
Like myself, Cherry isn’t a morning person, so we crawled back onto the king size bed to chat candidly about Euphoria, her personal beauty battles, and setting the record straight on nude scenes and that porn parody.
I read that you grew up in a small, conservative town – how did that shape your experiences growing up?
Chloe Cherry: Growing up in a small religious town just made me feel this need to break out so badly, to innovate and find something more. I was so determined to find people like me. I spent so many hours on the internet doing things that would let me escape the realities of where I lived. I had to go so inward, because what was outward didn’t inspire me very much. I had to try to discover who I was, and what would make me feel something.
You were discovered by Sam Levinson on Instagram – how did you approach creating this world for yourself on social media?
Chloe Cherry: I think it just happened naturally. Instagram for a long time has been this therapeutic outlet for me to just literally be my full self, where I don’t have to feel the need to perform socially in any way.
That’s so interesting, because I think a lot of people, especially young girls, find almost the opposite on Instagram. There’s pressure to be a certain way or look a certain way, but you seem to have adopted a really carefree attitude towards it.
Chloe Cherry: Yeah, totally, but I just have fun with it. I’ll forever treasure making myself or other people laugh over making them find me attractive. I really enjoy using it as some weird diary. It’s just me.
You’ve always been in entertainment. I read you were in theatre as a kid and then you started in adult films when you were 18. How did you get into the industry and how did you start performing?
Chloe Cherry: When I saw porn online, it just seemed really cool, I just always wanted to do it. Once I turned 18, I started to look into how I could start a career. I made the decision that I wanted to do it and it was crazy at that age. I moved to LA. My family were terribly unsupportive, but moving away just felt really good.
Euphoria is such an amazing TV debut. I read you’d made a porn parody of the show before being cast in it?
Chloe Cherry: That porn parody was made after I was cast on the show already, and it was produced by me and my friend, Jenna Foxx. People keep saying that I was cast based on that, but that’s not true.
How do you feel like your previous work in porn prepared you for being in Euphoria?
Chloe Cherry: It really did prepare me a lot for experience in acting and performing. It helped me so much with my ability to improv, and I went into the show knowing exactly how to riff with my lines and my character.
Faye, your character, was originally meant to be a way smaller part, but she was fleshed out a lot after you got the gig, right?
Chloe Cherry: Yeah, exactly, which really shocked me. It made me so happy though. Originally she only had a couple of lines, and then Sam turned her into something much bigger after I was cast. I went into the role already being very good at becoming a character, riffing with the lines and going beyond, just to get in the headspace of that person. I came up with the idea that this girl was on heroin and she was trashy, and she didn’t really know a lot or have much life experience. I could just tell that she was kind of sassy, but that she was also really going through something and trying to find a new part of herself.
You mentioned that a lot of your lines were improvised – can you tell me a bit about that creative process?
Chloe Cherry: Sam would literally just say, “Ok, Chloe, say whatever you want.” So, I would just say anything. The line where I say “You’re eating the ginger’s ass” was originally something more normal, but I just thought that would be crazy. That would be more Faye.
Were you able to find a connection with her on a personal level?
Chloe Cherry: Yeah, definitely. She is somebody I grew up around. She’s one of the reasons why I didn’t like growing up in Pennsylvania, because I was growing up around people like that. I feel like I met that person – the girl that was doing heroin, the guys doing heroin secretly, the girl who came from a family of people that did heroin, all that. That’s where I drew inspiration from.
It’s been reported that a few of the actors in Euphoria have asked Sam Levinson to cut unnecessary nude scenes from their scripts. I read that you had a similar situation when your first scene in the air vent was meant to be fully nude.
Chloe Cherry: I didn’t actually ask for that scene to be changed. Sam just decided that it would be better if I wasn’t nude. It was just an idea, but I would have totally done it, I think it would’ve made the image even crazier.
In general, do you feel like there’s an assumption that you would automatically be comfortable doing nude scenes because of your previous sex work?
Chloe Cherry: I guess so, but I also think that nowadays, there’s an assumption that everyone will do nude scenes.
There’s so many memes of Euphoria, especially season two, so I would love to know what your favourite meme is?
Chloe Cherry: I love memes! My favourite memes are the weird surreal ones. Like this one: every action is performance; the ego is the audience.
What does beauty mean to you?
Chloe Cherry: Beauty to me is something that’s never really been understandable. I feel like my whole life I’ve never understood what it is because it’s constantly changing.
Your lips have become super iconic on the show. How did you create the look? Was it intentional to create such an iconic shape?
Chloe Cherry: When I first started doing them, I just liked big lips a lot. Then once I started, I just kept going and going. I actually used to show the person doing my lips pictures of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Selena Gomez’s lips. Combined, it just looks really good. Your face is almost like this art piece in itself, where you can add things to it and turn it into something else. I like myself better with big lips, just like some people like themselves better with piercings and tattoos - it’s just the body mod I like.
I also follow your art account, and it seems like collage is such a creative outlet for you. How did that start?
Chloe Cherry: My family has a lot of artists. So I always knew about art, but it’s not easy for everyone, and it wasn’t easy for me. Collaging was a way I could make what I considered actually good art without having to have the specific skills. I could just be more free with it. Collaging for me has been just this way that I can work through certain feelings and ideas - sometimes even to get over a person that I have been dating, I’ll make a collage about it.
Is there a question that you wish someone would ask you?
Chloe Cherry: This is a super personal thing that I think might be good for someone to hear, but I used to have really, really bad acne. Then I started using Curology, retinol and hyaluronic acid every single night, and being very consistent with my skincare routine. I don’t want anyone to think they can’t clear their acne because I know how much insecurity it can create, and how bad it makes you feel. There’s so many ways to do it and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s totally possible to have your dream skin.
What are you manifesting right now?
Chloe Cherry: I’m always trying to manifest so much career wise. I can be very hard on myself and I’m always trying to manifest that I’m successful. I really am a career driven person, very much so.
I think that you should always think of yourself as however you want to be seen. Because if you don’t, how else will people know that side of you? I’ve always thought of myself as funny and entertaining, and I’ve always acted like everything I say matters. I always have, no matter how many followers I’ve had, I act like everything I say matters so much. If you don’t decide that for yourself, no one else is going to.