Breakout star Jessica Barden digs into her surprising Netflix series, why she’s thrilled Alyssa stole that underwear, and what she hopes to see if there’s a second season.
Six years ago, Jessica Barden sauntered into a dance studio to audition for The End of the F***king World, a short film adapted from Charles Forsman’s graphic novel about two high-school oddballs who steal a car and get the hell out of their humdrum hometown. Barden was after the female lead, Alyssa, all outward confidence and bravado concealing a cache of confusion and vulnerability.
“I shaved my hair off the year before for another job, and I was in the process of growing it out. I had what I now lovingly refer to as a mullet,” Barden, now 25, tells Vanity Fair matter-of-factly by phone. Upon entering the room, she spotted a pole and broke out into impromptu dance in front of her potential employers. (“What else was I supposed to do? It felt very natural.“) She also shared an idea she’d been mulling for a movie, about a girl who grows up in a brothel and becomes a country music star. Of all the actresses director Jonathan Entwistle and producer Dominic Buchanan saw that day, Barden was the only to dance and discuss a feel-good movie involving prostitution during her audition.