The younger Howard is currently the buzz of social media and TV blogs for her chilling turn on “Nosedive,” an episode in Netflix’s latest order of the surreal and fantastic series “Black Mirror.”
Howard plays Lacie — an excessively pleasing and upwardly mobile woman who lives in a world where every social interaction is ranked on a star meter, from one to five.
It’s here that likability can mean the difference between moving into an urban oasis or sleeping in a dirty, cross-country big rig. Posting online is a matter of life or death — but Howard had only joined the world’s biggest social media platform just before she got the part.
“I joined Facebook for the first time last Thanksgiving, at age 34,” Howard told TheWrap during a recent chat about the series.
“Ironically, within a handful of weeks I got ‘Black Mirror,’ so there’s definitely been a heightened awareness because of that,” she continued.
Howard felt pressure in the industry as well — as the star of the blockbuster “Jurassic World,” the actress said offers increasingly have come saddled with obligations for sharing “on my socials.”
“I started seeing in contracts for jobs. They would request a certain amount of posts for things and I thought, man, my employers are requesting this and I’m not able to provide it,” she said.
Howard managed to survive without likes and shares, but fate is not as kind to her character Lacie (“Black Mirror” nary has a happy ending, in this dystopian world anything bad that can happen usually does).
From manically practicing smiles in the mirror to bringing an extra latte in the elevator for an acquaintance, small gestures to boost her overall popularity ratings turn desperate — Lacey hires a pricey and absurd score counselor who runs simulations over the next two years of her life on how she can improve the most banal interactions to reap the benefits of a high score.
“We are living in a completely new world, and we are the generation who is contending with all of this new rules, or lack thereof,” Howard said.
“I wish there was a place like [the reputation counselor]. I wish there were rules, I wish I knew what people want to see. Even if we take followers out of the equation, who are we kidding? Everybody wants to be as liked as possible,” Howard concluded.