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Hunter Schafer on art, love, ambition – and life beyond Euphoria

“She absolutely fizzes with creative energy,” , her costar in Cuckoo, tells me. “It’s just like it’s got to get out of her.” One day between scenes, he remembers, he and Schafer and a few others were waiting in an old classroom with a whiteboard in it. Schafer – who studied art in high school – quietly picked up the markers. “We were just sort of chatting away and we looked up and there’s this beautiful face that she’s drawn on this board,” Stevens says. “Everyone’s like, Fucking hell, is there anything she can’t do?”

Just six years into her acting career, the multitalented Schafer is in high demand, with a small part in an upcoming film and a role alongside Michaela Coel and Anne Hathaway in David Lowery’s Mother Mary on the horizon.

But it would be a surprise if Schafer stopped there. She is, among other things, a visual artist turned activist turned model turned actor, the kind of multihyphenate and natural, passionate polymath that seems to be the standard for creative types in her cohort.

Schafer has a bright and attentive energy, even though she describes herself as “a proper ADHD girl,” and usually does not know what day it is. (The only time she looks at her phone in front of me over the course of two days together is to use the “one year ago” function on her Photos app, to remember what she was doing the previous January.) She is powered by her vape, matcha and Coca-Cola. She is silly and curious, and only declines to answer a question once, when I ask her about her time at the legendarily selective Berlin nightclub – a devoted techno fan, she plans to go back, and doesn’t “want to fuck up my vibe with them.”

There’s no posture here; this is the Schafer her peers and collaborators know and love. Friend and stylist Dara Allen says Schafer has an “obsessive understanding about art and fashion and culture, and we can talk really deeply about all of it.” But also: “She’s down to clown.”

Schafer has been in the public eye since she was 17, when she became the youngest plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), which had banned trans people from using public bathrooms that didn’t align with the gender listed on their birth certificate. Schafer’s activism springboarded her into the limelight. She became an in-demand model and, through her role on Euphoria, one of the most high-profile young trans stars we’ve ever known – a trajectory she’s navigated with shrewdness and spirit. Every day, new doors seem to open, and she’s eager to see what’s behind them. In the past decade, she hasn’t really stopped moving.

“Some people are like, Oh, I’ve been here a lot of times before,” Schafer tells me, sprawled out on her living room floor. “I don’t think I’ve been here a lot of times before. But I do think within this life, I’ve been through a lot of things that force you to grow up pretty fast. And whether it’s the transness or the fame, both of those are big things as far as really – ” She snaps her fingers. “I can’t just wing this shit. I really have to be intentional about the way I’m moving in the world.