Chloe Cherry was not a drug addict in high school, but her role in Euphoria — a spacey heroin addict whose biting lines and plump lips steal many season-two scenes — brings back memories of her stint in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, warehouse foam-party scene at age 14. Back then, Cherry worked on the yearbook and relished giving morning announcements; now, she’s flirting with Fez (Angus Cloud) and bringing even more chaos to Rue’s (Zendaya) unsteady life.
Speaking in a low, wry drawl, the porn-star-turned-actress Zoomed with Vulture from her kitchen floor, dispensing stories between vape hits: She managed a band in high school, filmed a Euphoria porn parody with her friend Jenna Foxx, and was scouted for the show by creator Sam Levinson on Instagram. Though Cherry refuses to take herself too seriously, her chilled-out exterior belies a genuine desire to explore Faye beyond her snarky one-liners.
Faye has some of the best lines this season, including my personal favorite: “Do you and your son … like fuck people together?” I read a lot of your lines were improvised. What were your favorites?
Sam is very trusting in me and I’m very grateful to have this opportunity. He would be like, “Okay now, Chloe, just say whatever you want,” and then put the camera on me. I thought it would be funny to say, “You’re eating that ginger’s ass,” because first of all, eating ass is just funny. Also, referring to Fez as the ginger shows how much Faye is not up to date with who these people actually are.
Did you feel claustrophobic crawling into the motel vent?
It didn’t feel claustrophobic at all. When we were shooting it, Sam randomly decided, Hey, make the vent bigger. It was my first day on set and it was so magical to me, the way they were able to resize it if they needed to. Jeff Barnett, the stunt coordinator, helped us do everything comfortably. It was a really fun experience, because when are you gonna actually crawl into a vent?
By episode seven, Faye has befriended Fez and his group after staying at his house. How has their relationship evolved since they started living together?
It’s evolved a lot. Faye learns to trust Fez because of that moment where he picks her up off the bathroom floor after she shot up and was just laying there. He begins to trust her because he realizes she’s able to stay quiet and completely low. It’s an unexpected friendship, but it’s friendship in a time when they both really needed somebody.
When Lexi visits Fez at the gas station in episode two, she sees Faye sitting in the back and gets a little jealous. Do you think there are any romantic intentions between Faye and Fez?
He saved my life. Of course I feel something for him. I imagine the reason she originally got away from living with her parents is by falling in love with Custer. And she thinks she’ll get away from Custer by falling in love with Fez. Faye is learning that even when somebody helps you, it doesn’t always have to get romantic. Maybe she was used to that because it was always a safety net for her.
What origin story did you make up for Faye?
I imagined that she grew up in a situation where both of her parents did heroin. I imagine all of her clothing is stolen from thrift stores, and she’s learned that the easiest stuff she can steal is kid’s clothes: a lot of tiny, tiny clothing. Her parents are too out of it to really take care of her, and that’s why she dresses so slutty, because she really doesn’t have anybody.
I imagine she eventually has this chance to make a life of her own. At first, she thinks she’s going to do that through selling drugs — that’s why she’s into Custer, she thinks she wants to get into the selling side. But the further she gets into this, she realizes, Holy shit, I actually don’t want to be involved with drugs at all. There’s other things she likes to do, and she starts to learn that she’s actually a very strong person and can be intimidating if she needs to be.
But she notices Fez is getting closer to Lexi and it makes her sad, because Fez was the first time in her life having anything solid and someone treating her well. Then she watches him want to be with somebody who has a better upbringing and was dealt better cards and there’s nothing she can do about it.
What were you like in high school? Did you draw from any of those experiences when you were playing Faye?
In high school, I was very into meeting people and talking to people. I used to love to do the morning announcements. I used to do the yearbook. I loved catching stuff — I was like a real hard-hitting journalist. There was a point in high school where I managed a band. I was not a drug addict. But I did relate to the [Euphoria] story in that the heaviest I’ve ever partied in my whole lifetime was when I was 14 years old. There were these crazy foam parties people I grew up with might remember.
Did you refer to any surprising influences while developing the character?
I started with Kurt Cobain. I don’t know 100 percent if he was on heroin, but he was [on] something. He, to me, was a really good example of somebody being a drug addict, really hurting themselves with drugs, but he still was very likable to other people and still had his good qualities. You could still romanticize him because he had such good taste and style. Drug addicts in general don’t act different than any other person. It’s just when they don’t have that drug and they’re trying to find it, which is something that we saw in episode five with Rue. When she didn’t have drugs anymore, she was willing to do absolutely anything.
What were some of the most memorable reactions you received to the Euphoria porn parody?
Honestly, I don’t think anybody noticed it that much. It was funny because I made that probably five months after I was cast on the show. I started rewatching and I realized I had already done a lot of adult-movie parodies, and I figured, Oh, that’s the perfect one to do, because it’s a really popular scene. It’s funny the way people are reacting to it, like “She was discovered off a porn parody.” And I’m like, “No, no, no, that was literally just something I made for my OnlyFans forever ago, and now everyone’s finding it.”
Do you ever bring your comedic timing to adult-film acting?
I can’t help it. I don’t take myself that seriously. I would prefer to play somebody who doesn’t take themselves that seriously, because that’s how my brain is always going to work. I always said that in adult films, it should always be funny, because it’s not a serious subject matter.
What do you think of Euphoria’s depiction of teenage sexuality?
They’re portraying teenage sexuality in ways I feel a lot of people are normally scared to. Sometimes shows will portray teenagers just having fun, casual sex with each other. No, they don’t. They cry over each other and have these weird emotions connected to everything. But it is real, like the way Jules wants to have sex with older men, or Kat wants to get on the cam, or Maddie has this weird thing with this guy where she just can’t get over him. The way Cassie will sleep with so many people because she’s just trying to find love. And that new character Elliot, he’s such a dog. No one’s having fun, casual sex as a teenager. It never happens.
If you were writing the script for season three, what would be next for Faye?
I want to imagine that she’s somehow further involved with the shit with Laurie and Rue, and that it leads her to meeting Jules and Elliot. I love Faye interacting with literally any character. I loved her interacting with Cal. I would love to see her backstory. I would also love to see Laurie’s backstory. I would like to see her smarten up and be quick with her reactions and what she’s gonna do to get out of this situation.