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Beatrice Grannò Played Those White Lotus Piano Scenes Like She Was Lady Gaga

Photo: Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images

As Bert Cooper once reminded us, the stars belong to everyone, including those working in and around a five-star Sicilian resort. Nobody at The White Lotus learned that better this season than Mia (Beatrice Grannò), a local woman who, over the course of seven episodes, learns to empower herself to get what she wants: a permanent gig as the hotel’s lounge singer and pianist. Sure, it might not seem that glitzy of a deal. And the jury’s out on how good of a performer she actually is. (“I love to sing like Phoebe Bridgers. It was really challenging for me,” Grannò says.) But she dreamed, hustled, and, yes, fucked her way to the top of the tourist-entertainment food chain with the encouragement of her best friend, Lucia (Simona Tabasco), the pair of whom Grannò likens to fairies leaving a trail of magic wherever they go (including helping Sabrina Impacciatore’s hotel manager, Valentina, embrace her sexuality). It makes sense that the final scene shows the BFFs taking a triumphant walk down the street, White Lotus guests long departed and depleted, and relishing their new riches.

I really appreciated that Mia and Lucia’s ending embodied the “let’s scam men and walk off into the sunset together” ethos.
In the end, they managed to get what they wanted. They’re the winners, even if it’s not a competition. But they definitely won. They used each others’ energies to get what they wanted.

At the beginning, Mia is much more introverted and romantic. Kind of blocked off. Lucia is free, and she pushes Mia to get what she wants. There’s this moment when they’re talking to each other and Lucia is very vulnerable, telling Mia she’s unhappy with what she’s doing. And in that exact moment, Mia changed her mind and said, “No, what we’re doing is great.” Mia becomes more aware of her possibilities in life and possibilities with her body.

What do you think changed for Mia, as far as her opinion on using sex for money and status?
I think there’s a moment in your brain, especially when you’re young and don’t know what you’re doing. Mia is very impulsive, and when she realizes it’s the only thing she can offer … or she realizes it’s easy to have sex with the pianist, it’s quite fun the way she does it: This is what needs to be done in order to get there. Mia is obviously different from Lucia. She doesn’t know how to be sexy, but she has a big heart. When I auditioned for the show, Mike wanted me to read the script where Mia seduces Valentina. I remember asking him, “Is she manipulating her and being mean?” Mike was like, “Technically yes, but she’s being genuinely nice. It’s an equal exchange of interests.”

What did Mia ultimately want?
She dreams of being a musician. A lot of people think the only thing you can do is try to get signed and be famous. But the reality is that playing music in small places or teaching is a win. Mia is happy because she’s able to get money doing what she loves. But it’s also about becoming more aware of herself — getting self-confidence and overcoming fears of singing in front of people. She was ambitious. She didn’t doubt herself.

It’s funny, I had so many friends who were like, “Why does Mia dream of being a hotel lobby singer?” Well, she has to start somewhere.
It’s quite funny that she’s fascinated by Giuseppe the pianist and what he does. It’s very lame of her: Oh, I’d love to do that.

Lucia and Mia are there for a reason. They’re two fairies. Valentina learned how to be more open with her sexuality thanks to Mia, and at the same time, Lucia brought danger to a lot of the couples and brought them back together. They’re messy and chaotic, but they’re pretty magical.

I like that Mia can be both magical and dorky in your eyes.
When she plays that piano, she thinks she’s doing a Lady Gaga concert. She’s really, like … belting that voice. When I read the script and saw all the songs I was singing, I was like, Okay, this is jazz and lounge music. I’m a folk singer — my voice is soft. I prepared my jazzy lounge voice, but when Mike White first heard me perform, he was like, “Absolutely not, she’s not that sophisticated or else she already would’ve been working here. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s a little girl.” He told me I had to show off but also be disturbing. I worked with Este Haim and she also told me, “You have to sing it big! Belt that voice!” [Laughs.] If you ever listen to my music, I whisper. I love to sing like Phoebe Bridgers. It was really challenging for me, but Este helped me so much. I had so much fun being like, “Ahhhhhhhh!” 

How else did you figure out her musical style?
She just wants to be heard. When she sings “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” she wants to show people she has something to offer. She is here. When you’re really young, you don’t understand that less is more. She’s adorable in that way.

Would you noodle on the piano in between takes?
Definitely not. I don’t want people to stop whatever they need to do to clap for me. [Laughs.] I think Mia would definitely play the piano at an airport, though. Just take over an open piano.

Why do you think it was important for the very last shot of the series to be Mia and Lucia walking down the street and embracing?
I found it really nice that Mike brought back the theme that the best things in life are free. It describes Lucia and Mia’s relationship well. They’re very close, best friends, and their love is free. They arrived at the hotel and got what they wanted and walked away happy. It’s important because they’re both hookers in two different ways — they’re never victims and they always have pride, which you don’t always see. I think Mia and Lucia brought the light to the show. Everything is emotional in the end, but when you see best friends walking together, it’s happy. That was our last day of filming, too. We were sad to be leaving each other in real life.

I thought “The Best Things in Life Are Free” was an inspired choice to accompany them for that scene. What does the song represent to Mia and Lucia?
I don’t think this show has a layer of “I want to teach you this.” There’s no bigger lesson. For Mia and Lucia, they think that if you really want to fix something, you have to break it. Only then can it be built back. They ruin every relationship at the hotel, but they put them in the position to be built back up.

The man who trails Lucia, and appears to be a menacing presence for several episodes, is revealed to be in on the scam and friendly with the ladies. Were you two given a specific answer as to who Alessio was?
Mike told us he’s one of their close friends who lives in Taormina and works at another hotel. It’s a small place. Everybody knows each other. I like to think Lucia has done her thing at that hotel, too, with Alessio pretending to be her pimp. I’m sure they gave him some money for helping them out.

How do you envision Mia and Valentina’s relationship progressing? Are they hitting up the gay clubs together?
I liked when Mia told her, “I can’t be your girlfriend now, but we can go out and be friends.” I imagine Mia walking into a club and helping her have fun. Valentina’s character is beautiful. She starts off closed and aggressive and ends up being the sweetest woman. In the finale when Mia shows up at the front desk in that crazy green dress, she thinks she’s a star now with all of that makeup. And Valentina looks so happy about it, too.

What lingering questions do you have after watching the finale?
Did Daphne and Ethan have sex on that beach? I’ve been thinking about that a lot. It comes right after Daphne saying, “You don’t need to know everything about a person to love them. A little mystery is sexy.” And then they go off to the island. It’s a tough call. There’s a lot of poetry in scenes. I would also go back and apologize to Albie. “I’m so sorry. If you want, you can be my boyfriend.”

How is Mia spending her share of the €50,000?
She’ll pay musicians to record her album! She can hire the best bass player in Sicily.

Beatrice Grannò Channeled Lady Gaga for Lotus Piano Scenes