When it comes to movies that are as important as they are entertaining and heartwarming and just plain swoon-worthy, no one is doing it better than Netflix. Just three weeks after its uber hit To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before hit the streaming service, Netflix is dropping another teen rom-com that sends all the same important messages and delivers another Noah Centineo character we’re swooning over.
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser is a modern rom-com retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story set in high school. The story centers on Sierra, an intelligent teen who does not fall into the shallow definition of high school pretty but, in a case of mistaken identity that results in unexpected romance, must team with the popular girl in order to win her crush.
Just as To All The Boys brought us a film with a diverse cast — and an Asian American lead — Sierra Burgess doesn’t fall victim to stereotypes as it puts body diversity front and center and manages to make us fall in love with these characters as they go through one of life’s most challenging tests: adolescence.
We had a chance to chat with Sierra Burgess star Kristine Froseth about her new film, where she discusses the nostalgia of high school, the importance of female friendships, and the important messages that will reach both younger and older audiences.
Fangirlish: Why should people watch Sierra Burgess Is A Loser?
Purser: I think people should see Sierra Burgess because if you’re older and you’ve already been through high school, it’s certainly nostalgic. I think it will remind people of what it’s like to be young and be unsure of who you are. Then for younger people, as well, I hope they’ll feel comforted in a way that pretty much everyone is trying to find their place in this world. No matter how perfect they look on Instagram, everybody has that need to be accepted and loved by others. I hope that people watch this movie and feel more comfortable with who they are decide to be honest with themselves and other people.
Fangirlish: Can you tell me a little bit about the story of Sierra Burgess is a Loser?
Kristine Froseth: Sierra Burgess is a Loser is like a modern version of Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s about Sierra, who…I catfish Sierra’s character and she falls in love with the popular guy at school and it’s all about that journey. All of that happening and us finding out who we are and building a friendship together.
Fangirlish: So what made you think that this is the right moment for this film to come out now?
Froseth: I think it’s the message in the movie, which is staying true to who you are, I think is always relevant and I think the modern take of it, and bringing in technology and cat-fishing, all the things that are happening currently, is perfect timing. People can relate to how things are changing with technology, how people are relating to each other, dating each other, and how people are communicating.
Fangirlish: And like you were saying, one of the themes in this film is being yourself and not conforming to what people expect you to be. What does that mean to you?
Froseth: Throughout high school I struggled a lot with, I still really don’t know who I am, but I struggled a lot with just staying true to what I wanted to do and what my morals and values were and are. And I would kind of just always think I’d have to fit in and be a certain way. And still to this day, I struggle with just being who I am. So it’s something I really relate to. So I hope other people watching this movie will find strength in and not feeling alone and that conflict.
Fangirlish: So we’ve gotten this resurgence of rom coms. What makes Sierra Burgess is a Loser an important film in that?
Froseth: The message of the movie is what makes it important. And I also think in this case it’s different because it’s not about the romance really. I think it’s really about the friendship between Veronica and Sierra. So it’s more of a female empowered movie as well, which is incredible.
Fangirlish: How would you describe your character Veronica?
Froseth: I think Veronica on the outside is looked at as the mean girl, the popular girl at school. But she’s truly just really hurting on the inside and is lost and is just trying to survive high school as best as she can.
Fangirlish: What attracted you to this film and to the role of Veronica?
Froseth: I was attracted to the message of the movie and how you really spend time with each character’s journey. I feel like it’s usually very rushed in movies and I like that that there’s a lot of different stories that are being told in this movie so a lot of people can relate to it. But Veronica specifically just reminded me a lot of who I was in high school. Not in the way that I would be catty to other people. But just the struggle not feeling like you fit in so you have to try to be a certain way.
Fangirlish: The film also shows that there’s more beneath the surface when it comes to a person. What are your thoughts on that when it comes to Veronica and Sierra, and their relationship?
Froseth: Well I think they’re just really, both of them are heavily labeled as…they’re expected to be a certain way. Veronica is expected to be the high school mean girl and Sierra is looked as the outcast. Another message of the movie is like how you can’t judge a book by its cover. So I think once they connect, they find out how similar they really are and they’re kind of going through the same struggles but in a different way.
Fangirlish: So what can you tell me about the dynamic between Veronica and Sierra and how that evolves over the course of the film?
Froseth: It starts off with them not really having any relation to each other. Veronica kind of always teasing Sierra because she’s an easy target. Throughout the high school years she’s kind of been the one that Veronica has been teasing and she takes it a step further and catfishes her with the most popular guy at school, who’s played by Noah Centineo. Because of that whole situation they have to help each other out in different ways. So Sierra helps Veronica find out who she really is and let go of the mean girl status. And Veronica helps Sierra let go of the fact that she doesn’t feel good enough for Noah. So they’re both teaching each other a lesson and become quite close in the end.
Fangirlish: What was it like working with Shannon Purser and bringing that dynamic to life?
Froseth: Amazing. I mean, she’s just 100% like the sweetest on planet Earth so it was really good having her around. Whenever I was in doubt or struggling, she would always have my back. She’s such a talented actress. Just feeding a lot to work with. So it was just amazing, really.
Fangirlish: And what was it like working with the rest of the cast, as well?
Froseth: Everyone is so different. So it’s amazing. The way they work was very interesting, doing scenes with everyone. But everyone was so kind and really wonderful to work with. And fun. A lot of fun. The cheeks were hurting. A lot of laughter.
Fangirlish: Why is this film important for young people, especially young girls to see?
Froseth: I think it’s important for them to see that in the end when everyone shows their true colors, that’s when everyone connects with each other. I think a lot of people are missing out on true relationships because of the phoniness of everything, especially with social media. people are putting up these thoughts and not to be really able to be who they are or be with people that they should be surrounded by, I think. So I hope that people watch this and can relate and will leave, after watching this movie, trying to stay true to who they are and realizing that high school isn’t forever and that high school does suck. Stay strong.
Fangirlish: Can you talk about the journey that Veronica goes on throughout this film? And any lessons that she learns?
Froseth: I think she’s really fearful of not being liked so she puts on a persona of…people don’t ever get a chance to ever get to know her, but I think at the end she does show her true colors and opens up vulnerably and therefore does connect with Sierra. She just starts off with putting up a strong defense so no one can really judge her or insult her. And her whole relationship within her home situation isn’t so good. Her mom is a bit overwhelming. And which is resolved towards the end where she stands up to her mom and wakes up her moms reality and situation saying that she needs to be there for her kids. So she goes through a high school transformation and like a home transformation.
Fangirlish: What makes high school the perfect setting for this story?
Froseth: I think it’s relatable to everyone. I think that’s where a lot of…other people are being labelled and were you can really explore all those different stereotypes and remove them and i think it’s a perfect place to just explore how that all works.
Fangirlish: Agreed. And what would you say was the most challenging part about working on this project?
Froseth: There was a very challenging part, the climax scene where Noah finds out what we’ve been doing to him, that was a very challenging scene to do. So I think that was difficult to get down. I think that was the hardest part.
Fangirlish: Then on the flip side, what was the most rewarding part about working on this movie?
Froseth: Oh, gosh. So many things. I learned so much just from working with everyone because they were all so different. And it was a true pleasure. I’m very proud of this movie and I’m really honored to have gotten to work with these people. I think that’s just the biggest reward to…and I hope a lot of people will go…I hope it’ll reach a lot of hearts.
Fangirlish: What was it like working with Ian Samuels, your director?
Froseth: Oh he’s incredible. He, from the start, was very into collaborating. And we had a lot of conversations about Veronica. We both wanted to make sure that she wasn’t just this mean shallow girl. We wanted to give her a lot of depth and show that conflict within herself so it was…every actors dream is to be a part of the conversation in creating the character so that was amazing. He just gives you a lot of space to make mistakes and work freely.
Fangirlish: So you’d mentioned before obviously that you found a part of yourself in Veronica, being in high school. Was there like any specific personal events that you went through in high school that you kind of used to bring to the role?
Froseth: I definitely drew inspiration from a lot of the mean girls that I was, that I met throughout my years. But personal experiences otherwise, Nothing similar to what actually goes down in the movie but, just the conflict of not really knowing who you are and trying to fit in.
Fangirlish: What were your first impressions of the script when you got it?
Froseth: I thought it was really beautifully written and very authentic. And like how I mentioned earlier, I thought the relationship between Veronica and Sierra was incredibly powerful and that it wasn’t…it was mostly about them and their journey, compared to just a love interest. Which is usually the case in most movies.
Fangirlish: Is there a particular scene that you’re really excited for audiences to see?
Froseth: For different reasons, I think it’s really beautiful…I’m very excited for them to see…it’s so hard to pick! It’s really difficult to just pick one scene. It was fun shooting the scene where we went on the date for the first time, Veronica and Noah’s character. And Sierra is kind of third wheeling under the car and they kiss for the first time. And we have to all be secretive about it and we just totally play him. And it’s really funny.
Fangirlish: Can you tell me a little bit about the audition process that went into this movie?
Froseth: I got the script, read it, and then I just did a tape for it. And that was it. It’s usually like…I’ve never been in such a short audition process before but it was just a self tape. And a conversation between me and the director.
Fangirlish: Did you learn anything about yourself while filming this movie?
Froseth: I mean the message of the movie really stuck with me because I still struggle with not trying to have to be a certain way. So I’m still growing with that aspect so I just think that message of the movie stuck with me. And I grew a lot just from constantly, every day, having to remind myself about it, going through those motions and revisiting high school was quite interesting.
Fangirlish: One last question. Tell me why should people go or why should people tune into Netflix to see Sierra Burgess is a Loser?
Froseth: I think people should go to Netflix and watch Sierra Burgess is a Loser because hopefully everyone will find a connection to it within these characters, regardless which character. There’s so many stories within the story that a lot of people can relate to so I think it’s a story for everyone.
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser hits Netflix this Friday, Sept. 7.