“As much as Ginny tries not to be like her mom, that’s all she really knows.”
When it came to all the other actors, I just really wanted them to like me. I’m the one who’s Ginny but I was just like, “Please, I just want to learn so much.” Everyone was was so helpful. Brianne [Howey] just taught me so much. I learned from a lot of people. Scott [Porter] is so fantastic. And Jen[nifer Robertson] is hilarious. I didn’t get to film with her too much, but when she was on set, it was just so fun. I had a really great time. I had a steep learning curve, but I feel like I learned a lot in short amount of time. Oh, and Sarah Waisglass and I are obsessed with each other now.
17: There’s so many different wild reveals throughout Ginny & Georgia. How was it figuring it all out during filming?
AG: It’s been really hard to describe the tone of the show to my friends. They always ask about it and I’m stuck with saying, “You really just have to watch it.” It subverts all of your expectations and it’s something that’s really unexpected. It’s gripping. It’s juicy. It’s mysterious. It’s funny and at the same time there are darker elements of the show for sure. Going into it, I knew that Georgia was this dangerous person and I knew she killed Ginny’s stepdad. But reading along and trying to figure out how to play into that was was very exciting.
I think I found out around the time we were filming episode eight, that she was going to get away with it. This was when PI Cordova is gaining on her and he’s close to exposing her. But I was trying to figure out how and when the show creator Sarah [Lampert] told me her idea that Georgia takes Kenny’s ashes and puts them in fireworks as a way to get rid of them — literally scattering the ashes — my jaw dropped. I was like, “You are diabolical.” I would never think to do that. Apparently that is a thing, though. Joe, who is Diesel’s [La Torraca] mom, told me that me that a driver revealed to her that a friend of a friend wanted him to scatter his ashes in the form of fireworks.
17: How do you balance the tone shifts on the show? Especially with a character like Ginny who is figuring out her mom’s secret while also figuring out who she is as a biracial Black woman in her very White town.
AG: It was actually kind of easy in that I relate a lot to Ginny’s character. When I was that age, I had primarily white friends. They meant well, we got along well, but they would say sometimes unknowingly pretty hurtful things to me. [Either though] microaggressions by tokenizing my race or using stereotypes that would not apply to me. Simply because I am half black, they would point that out, and think it’s funny or a joke. But actually, it really hurts and it was very confusing in the moment. Going back to play that age — I’m 23 now — I can look back on those things and understand the reasons why I reacted in the way that I did. Or why my friends may have said those things. Because you’re not around a lot of people with different backgrounds, you kind of have a skewed vision of them.
Playing Ginny was kind of emotional and cathartic to re-experience those moments. She does have popularity, but then Samantha will say things to her like, “What are you? Is your mom white? Or is your dad?” These are all things that were actually said to me that Sarah Lampert asked me to tell her, particularly my experience of being a biracial woman and teenager. I felt like I really had a voice for the first time, which is absolutely insane to me, especially on a Netflix show. Because as you grow up, you’re already marginalized and you’re thinking that you don’t have a voice that people really want to pay attention to, especially the biracial experience. So having that platform really, really helped me go into it feeling competent and it was very cathartic.
17: The oppression olympics scene was very eye opening as many people have likely gone through it, but as Ginny points out, she is Black woman. How was it working on that scene with Mason Temple, who plays Hunter?
AG: The day we we filmed that scene, Sarah so graciously allowed Mason and I to actually collaborate in writing that scene together. Calling it oppression olympics is something that Mason actually coined. We would talk off-set between the two of us about our experiences growing up biracial and in predominantly white communities, especially small towns. Him in Canada, and me growing up in the south. That scene itself comes from very original, very authentic places from the two of us. What’s interesting is that the two of us are biracial, but our experiences are different. Minorities are so diverse and the experiences are so diverse, regardless of your background.
Ginny isn’t always right. They’re very flawed characters and that’s what I love so much about the show. They try to do the right thing and say the right thing. They think they know what they’re talking about, but it’s not always the case. And Virginia really struggles a lot with identity. She doesn’t know when she’s being relegated to just being the black girl or the mixed girl and then there’s colorism. There’s so many facets of being multiracial or biracial, and, in my experience, half-Black and half-white, that it’s hard to kind of maneuver it all. That scene was so emotional for the both of us on set. But I feel really, really lucky to have been able to work with Mason on that.
17: Speaking of Ginny thinking she’s always right. It was so interesting for her to say she’s different from Georgia when they’re actually really alike.
AG: That’s what makes the character so complex. Georgia is trying so hard to make sure that Ginny doesn’t make the same mistakes that she made at that age. Ginny is, in a lot of ways, different from mom. But, in the same vein and the same breath will do the same things at Georgia does. We first see it at the end of the main breakup with that infamous hallway scene. Ginny goes home and her mom confronts her about why she was cheating on Hunter and she’s just like, “I know mom. Don’t you know? I learned it from you.” We see it from the beginning. As much as Ginny tries not to be like her mom, that’s all she really knows. We see her in the mirror when she kind goes, “Okay, they’re gonna all call me the bad guy. Well, I’ll act like the bad guy then if that’s what they want.” And so she blackmails her teacher, which is a very Georgia move.
In the blue farm scene, when Cordova spills the beans, she’s so against her mom. She’s so at odds with everybody you would think she would say, “Yeah, we need to send her to jail.” But she just decides to cover for her and does exactly what her mom has always done, she runs away. I think it’s really compelling. It’s the push and pull of her character. I hope audiences really enjoy the crazy roller coaster ride.
17: Were you surprised at the decisions that she made?
AG: I think I knew that she was going to run away. At the end of the day, she’s afraid of her mom. She would think, “Oh, yeah, the murder living in my house.” She doesn’t know who her mom is and she can’t believe that she’s capable of murder. My heart kind of broke for Virginia, because you see her journey throughout the season and and she can make some, in my opinion, frustrating decisions. I kind of want to shake her and say, stop what you’re doing. But by that point, she’s just really hurting and she doesn’t know what else to do. It was mainly all emotion. It didn’t really have much logic to it. You don’t see her planning it out. It was an impulse and gut reaction.
17: Throughout the whole season Ginny is balancing two different relationship with Hunter and Marcus. Was there one that you were rooting for more than the other?
AG: Mason and Felix [Mallard] are so talented. They’re really down to earth guys and working with them was so fun. Marcus was introduced as this stoner who doesn’t really listen to his mom and he’s kind of a little bit of a jerk, but we quickly realized that he’s not actually your typical bad guy archetype. He’s hurting too and he has things that he’s going through that he struggles with. The scenes with Marcus are real opportunities. They’re pulling away the curtain and seeing each other for who they are. He knows about Ginny’s, self-harm and what she struggles with. He’s the only one who knows. You see the he wants to help her. He wants to be a solid friend for her, despite all of the obstacles that are in their way. He kind of sees the true her.
Whereas Hunter is this idealized good guy. He’s very smart. He wants the best for his friends and for her and is trying his hardest. This is the the boy that I want to take home and meet my parents. It sucks because he’s the one who ends up hurt the most, I would say. But I’m rooting for Marcus because I just have that soft spot. My mom actually roots for hunters. Actually, she wants them both. She’s like, “I feel so bad for Marcus, but I just love Hunter. He’s so sweet.” I’m like, “Okay, mom.” It’s pretty complicated. I just want her to have a good friendship. I think she just really needs a good friend. If we ever continue the story, I really hope that her relationship with Marcus can rebound, for sure.