Hunter Schafer: ‘Doing a vampire movie with Emma D'Arcy would be so cool’


We all know someone with enviable main character energy. Those who transfix a room and effortlessly hold court, yet are never loud or brash. Others gravitate towards them. They’re poised, charismatic, brave and, often to their own despair, moreish. Hunter Schafer, the 25-year-old actress and model, radiates main character energy.

Having first stolen our hearts in HBO’s Euphoria, she has continued to mesmerise the world while tearing up red carpets, advocating for trans rights and even being arrested at a demonstration in support of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Although a main character in her daily life, Schafer has never played one on screen — until now.

Next month, she makes her leading lady debut in Tilman Singer’s surreal horror Cuckoo. ‘I was nervous coming into it because I’d never been a lead before. It’s a lot of pressure and a lot of work,’ she tells me from the corner of a sparse LA hotel room, where she’s living while her roof is being redone following flood damage.

‘I was absolutely nervous,’ she continues, ‘especially having only worked on Euphoria before and being comfortable in that world, then jumping into this completely new one with new people. Like, “Oh my gosh, am I still going to be able to do this?” That’s something I had to prove to myself.’


Schafer has been unapologetically proving herself since she made a last-minute entrance to the year 1998 on New Year’s Eve, born to the sound of the Spice Girls broadcasting across the States ahead of the annual Times Square countdown. From New Jersey to Arizona and eventually North Carolina, the actress and her family moved between states as her father, a pastor, moved between churches.

Despite a religious childhood, Schafer’s love of horror blossomed. ‘I grew up loving horror. I have a very special relationship with it. There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was watch horror movies,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t looking for horror, but this script found me and I loved it.’

As well as Cuckoo, Schafer has just starred in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds of Kindness alongside Emma Stone; she has just been confirmed to return for Euphoria season three; and she is set to star opposite Michelle Yeoh in Blade Runner 2099. But before that, she is focusing on playing Mugler’s ‘fiercest angel’, as the face of the brand’s latest fragrance, Angel Fantasm.

‘Fierce is a word we use in the queer community quite often,’ she explains. ‘It’s an unrestrained, powerful, high femininity that I often associate with the Mugler woman as well.’ I wonder, of all her characters, who’d be most likely to wear the new scent? ‘[Euphoria’s] Jules. She has a very strong sense of her sexuality and womanhood, and is not afraid to bring that out into her world.’

Contrasting the dark, alluring, Mugler-ified version of Schafer, the woman in front of me is make-up-less with glass skin, wearing a conservative button-up blouse. Her polish is derailed by flyaway hairs, but it’s hard to notice anything other than those piercing, oasis-like eyes.

Her relationship with beauty, she tells me, is something that has grown with her. ‘It is constantly evolving. I have the privilege of working with amazing stylists, visionaries, make-up artists, and they sometimes see things in me that I can bring to a look that I don’t even know I have. It brings out this other part of myself.’

That said, there must be a trend she regrets trying? ‘I mean, I’ve had the occasional nip slip. Those are always moments where I think, you know what, I should’ve broke out the fashion tape. But I don’t regret anything because I feel like everything I’ve tried has been a learning experience and influenced who I’ve become today, who ultimately I’m pretty proud of.’

I’ve had the occasional nip slip. Those are moments I think, I should’ve broke out the fashion tape

Schafer’s chameleonic looks are in constant circulation on social media. Earlier this summer, one viral post showed ES Magazine’s Emma D’Arcy cover shoot, side by side with an image of Schafer. Both leather-clad, the caption read: ‘Hunter Schafer and Emma D’Arcy vampire romcom when?’ — which is exactly what I ask Schafer.

‘That would be so cool. Oh my gosh, yes. I don’t think I’ve ever met Emma in real life, but I’ve seen the internet stuff. It’s been around since the start of House of the Dragon. People have been getting us confused and I do believe we have very similar faces. If it’s a vampire story that would be so cool. I think we could play siblings.’

Both D’Arcy and Schafer, alongside other actors such as Bella Ramsey, Indya Moore and Emma Corrin are paving the way for a new generation of trans and gender non-conforming talent. Does Schafer feel proud to be at the forefront of this movement? ‘Absolutely. It’s really important. I feel like the universe has handed me these opportunities and I’ve been given the option to take them because that’s something that I can contribute to the world.

‘It’s really important to me and it’s part of why I continue to follow this path, career wise. It’s something I’m happy to contribute to, but I’m also so excited to see other people in my community carving out space for us. It’s very meaningful to me.’

Circling back to Angel Fantasm, I ask one final question: What is Schafer’s deepest fantasy? ‘Directing a film. That’s something that I want to work towards, it’s a position you have to earn. I want to become somebody someday who is capable of doing something that powerful.’

Mugler Angel Fantasm eau de parfum, from £97 for 50ml, is available from 8 August at The Perfume Shop