Shannon Purser Biography, Age, Sexuality, Movies and TV Shows
Shannon Purser Biography
Shannon Purser Bio
Shannon Purser is an American actress born on 27th June 1997 in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. She made her acting debut in the Netflix drama series Stranger Things as Barbara Holland. The role earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination.
|Age||21 years as of 2018; born on 27th June 1997|
|Education||Kennesaw State University (ongoing)|
|Movies and TV Shows||
Shannon Purser Sierra Burgess Is a Loser/ Sierra Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
In Sierra Burgess Is a Loser Shannon plays the role of Sierra, a smart ut unpopular girl who aspires to get into Stanford University. She doesnot fit the stereotypical high school beauty and Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is the mean girl who keeps making cruel taunts and comments especially about her appearance.
Veronica gives Jamey (Noah Centineo) Sierra’s phone number when Jamey asks for hers (Veronica’s). They began chatting although Jamey on his end thinks he is talking to Veronica.
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Shannon Purser Interview
Shannon Purser did an interview with Vogue Magazine about her character in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, plus-size rom-com heroines, kissing Centineo and her character in Stranger Things, Barb.
Did all of the outcry over Barb’s death lead to Sierra Burgess Is a Loser in any way? Did Netflix just realize it couldn’t let you go?
Shannon Purser: I hope so. That would be great. Sierra actually wasn’t a Netflix movie when we made it. I think the first season of Stranger Things came out in the summer of 2016, and we didn’t start filming Sierra until the next January or February. [Netflix] bought the rights after we finished filming. That was really cool because it felt like I had found another way to be part of the Netflix family.
One thing I love about the movie is that Sierra is, technically, called a loser, but she doesn’t seem to hate herself. She’s a brilliant and pretty confident teen. What about Sierra drew you to the role?
Shannon Purser: Sierra is very complicated. She is kind of an antihero in some ways. She can make some very questionable ethical decisions, and I don’t think there’s a lot of room for that in female characters, especially not young teen girls. Hopefully we’re not out there really catfishing anybody, but I’ve done some questionable things when I was young and when I was insecure and unsure of how relationships worked. I like the idea that we get to explore her self-growth and her redemption as the movie progresses.
Sierra tells her parents in one scene that she’s “the one teenager who doesn’t obsess over looks.” She looks in the mirror and says, “You’re a magnificent beast.” There is no radical makeover scene in the movie. Was it a conscious decision to break from some of the rom-coms where the heroine has to change in order to be loved?
Definitely. It was very important to everybody involved that there wasn’t this big makeover moment because I just think it’s a cheap plot device and it’s one that’s unfair to women, this idea that they only have agency once they’re traditionally beautiful or sexy or whatever. I don’t like that, and I’m glad that we were able to avoid it. She does start off very confident and very self-assured. She has never really thought that there was anything wrong with her body. It really isn’t until she’s suddenly forced to look at herself under a microscope and think about the expectations of this boy thinking she’s this beautiful cheerleader that the insecurities start to creep in. I can relate to that in some sense.
It makes me think about how women are represented in movies and on TV and the societal standard that we all be size 0 cheerleaders. What do you think Sierra is adding to that conversation? Is it a comment on body positivity?
Shannon Purser: I hope that it will encourage people to love and embrace themselves for who they are, and [know] that they are worthy of love and love stories. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a comment on body positivity, although I guess my existence in the industry is a comment on body positivity just because there is so little representation when it comes to plus-size women.
How does that feel to you? Is it frustrating? Is it a burden, like, Why do I have to be this person? Or, Should there be 10 other me’s?
Shannon Purser: It’s definitely a responsibility because I do feel that I am part of a limited group of people who are representing a marginalized community, so there is a heavier weight on me to represent us well and to help redefine what the industry’s definition of beauty is. Who’s worthy of being a romantic lead or a lead in general? On the one hand, I’m very happy to do that, and I’m very thankful to have that position. But, for sure, there should be 10 other me’s. There should be 20 or 30 other me’s, and women who are bigger and have different body types. It is both encouraging and frustrating to be one of the very few.
Let’s talk about Noah Centineo, because the Internet demands it. What was your first impression of this man? What is he like in real life?
Shannon Purser: He was lovely. He’s just as charming and sweet and soulful as he appears to be. I think we hit it off pretty quickly. He’s just a great person to have around. He’s such an encouraging and supportive person and scene partner. He would drive me home after work. Just a real stand-up guy.
For everyone who is daydreaming about him, and “shipping” him and sharing all the memes, what was it like to kiss this guy?
Shannon Purser: It was good. It was great. I can’t complain. It was actually my first on-screen kiss. I definitely had a lot of anxiety just because kissing is weird enough as it is, but to do it in front of 30 strangers was something else entirely. I don’t know if I can even say this because I might spoil it, but the scene before the homecoming, that was the first kiss that we shot. Our director, Ian, would not let us see each other beforehand. He made every effort to keep us apart to build up that anticipation and tension. I was very nervous, and I think that was actually very helpful because Sierra is also very nervous in that moment. But it was about as good as it could have been.
You came out last year as bisexual. Romantic comedies are pretty heterosexual and heteronormative. Now that rom-coms and teen movies are coming back, are you thinking at all about what it would mean to see more queer love stories?
I’m very excited to see how we can further diversify, and also just create stories that are unique and original. I love that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is an interracial couple. Sierra is me being a plus-size woman. I would definitely love to see a queer rom-com because representation matters. It does so much to help normalize things in the mind of society. It’s movies like Love, Simon that are so pivotal because it’s this sweet rom-com that you would watch about a straight couple, but it’s two guys. It feels natural and real and just charming. I would love to see more movies like that.
The fashion in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser . . . is it just me or is there something vaguely, awesomely ’80s about the costume choices, even though it’s set in the present? There were some mom jeans, and you wore a poodle sweater to a party . . .
Shannon Purser: For sure. Everything about the movie is a nod to John Hughes and ’80s movies. The music is synth-y. We filmed at a high school that they used for, I think, Pretty in Pink, which was something that we nodded to a lot in the movie. There are a couple outfits that Sierra wears that match with Andie’s clothes in that movie. The kissing scene in front of the car is from that movie. The pink prom dress is a nod, for sure.
Not to belabor this, but is there any hope we will ever see Barb return to Stranger Things?
Shannon Purser: I really appreciate that dedication, but I really don’t think there is, unfortunately. I think they really just needed somebody to die to raise the stakes. Unfortunately, it was Barb. But it’s okay. I’ve been busy. I’m okay.