What comes to mind when you hear the word “Younger”? For some, it’s collagen and crop tops. For others, it’s spending four hours a day on TikTok (#SorryNotSorry). But if you’re obsessed with Darren Star’s writing and ambitious female characters, then your answer is likely to involve the fictional personas of Liza Miller, Kelsey Peters and Lauren Heller on the Paramount+ dramedy.
Throughout the six — soon to be seven — seasons of the Star created/written/produced “Younger,” Molly Bernard’s over-the-top PR guru Lauren Heller has been every characters’ biggest cheerleader. The pansexual character drives much of the show’s comedy thanks to her unapologetic confidence and shameless curiosity, from taking her top off in Bryant Park to throwing herself a “hot mitzvah.”
“I feel like it has been one of the great joys and privileges of my life to play a character on national television, on a hit TV show, that is a woman who unapologetically, unabashedly loves herself, is confident, is queer, is openly pansexual and there’s no tokenizing of any of it. I think for a minute I realized this as I kind of came into my own sexuality,” Bernard’s tells WrapWomen.
When Bernard first started filming “Younger” she was dating men. Now, seven years later, she is wrapping up the series for its final season, and she’s engaged to a woman. “Getting to play [Lauren] for this long I think allowed me to feel confident in my own sexuality… it was like the writers were injecting that into my bloodstream.”
“Getting to align my world view and my personal views with what I get to do on national television is just like I think a rarity. It’s rare that that synchronization happens, and I just feel so lucky and may we have more strong female characters and queer characters,” she said.
Up next Bernard will star as Milo in the indie film “Milkwater.” The story follows a young woman, who feels left behind while the rest of her friends are settling down, getting married and having babies. Milo rashly decides to become the surrogate for a gay man she meets in a bar. When asked why she was motivated to take on this film, Bernard responded, “honestly, it scared the s— out me.”
“Milkwater” is also Bernard’s debut as a producer. Although she came into the role after the 21 days of filming, she was still able to make artistic decisions, contribute to marketing plans and sit in for distribution meetings. “It felt really scary at first,” she said. “But, having a voice is actually what I think is really cool.”
There’s no doubt that Bernard is paving the way for young women and members of the LGBTQ+ community both on and off the screen. Her courage and Lauren’s confidence are products of the redefining of Hollywood norms and the tackling of challenges that “scare the s— out of us.”
See WrapWomen’s full interview with Bernard via the video up top.
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