During a one-on-one conversation with EW editor-in-chief JD Heyman Friday at SCAD aTVfest, Schafer, 21, admitted that she wasn’t happy with how Jules abandoned Rue (Zendaya) at the end of the HBO drama's first season.
“I was really mad at Jules for that,” said the trans actress. “You don’t leave your friend-slash-lover alone in a train station at 1 a.m. At the same time, she’s 17 and has been through this crazy shit and she needs to get out. I know where that all is coming from. She felt really stuck and Nate [Jacob Elordi] has been manipulating her and forcing her literally to do crime. And then Rue was sort of suffocating her. It was all too much.
"She can't save Rue," she added. "She can't be Rue's savior."
Schafer sat down with Heyman to discuss her breakout role as a trans teen after receiving the festival’s Discovery Award. Euphoria marked her first acting job after growing up in North Carolina “drawing and doing a lot of painting.” In other words, Schafer wasn't looking for a career on the small screen. “I wanted to be a comic book artist. Really, I just liked doing the costumes of comic book characters," she shared with a room of students in Atlanta. "That got me into fashion design, I was really shy, too. I never saw myself performing or screaming in front of 200 extras. That wasn’t my vision for myself.”
The daughter of a pastor ended up modeling for the likes of Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Emilio Pucci before looking to attend fashion school in London. Then, she "got swooped up into the Euphoria gig” by replying to an audition call via Instagram. “I want to encourage everyone to sort of explore all the pathways that you may not think you are capable of. I’ve been acting for two years now,” Schafer told the SCAD audience.
She also noted that Euphoria creator Sam Levinson made her first acting gig a unique experience. "It feels more like a collaboration than someone giving me something to work with or become," she said. "It’s a special feeling, I'm honored to take something on from him. He’s just really open." He also knows how to relate to her and Zendaya. "He knows all of our tea and what gets us going."
Though she's set to return for a second season of Euphoria, Schafer said she's not letting go of her visual arts dreams. She likes the idea of creating a TV show someday. "There are definitely worlds in media that I haven’t seen and what I would like to see."