The End of the F***king World’s Alyssa May Be the Best Teen Heroine of 2018

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.

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