Lucy Boynton floats into the Hamyard Hotel like a doll. Where the whole room sports smart-casual clothes for The Politician's media screening in London, it's clear our store-bought blazers, denim jeans, and fast-fashion dresses just fall beneath the category of department store peasant beside the regal 25-year-old. And no, we can't be exaggerating this when she's decked in a romantic sheer laced, embroidered Valentino frock, looking like that porcelain-skinned girl in your mom's glossy magazine back in your pigtail days.
With this vision in tow, it comes as no surprise when I meet her the next day for an interview, as she's swathed in a similar fairy-bride garb and speaks like a kind whispered morning. Recalling this moment, I understand now what Lucy meant when she'd described her character's style as a heightened version of her own. Just sitting opposite her, it's hard not to bask—and for Astrid Sloan, that awestruck, second-rate feeling is exactly what she wants her peers to feel when she walks on frame.
The Politician follows the ambitious Payton Hobbart in his journey to becoming the President of the United States. But before he can secure the highest positon of the land, he must first conquer his teen years' greatest battle, the student body president elections. His fierce competitor? Lucy's equally wealthy, picture-perfect, yet painfully composed Astrid. Stuck under the wing of her overbearingly obnoxious and critical father, Astrid's accutely aware of how she presents herself. It's obvious when her first few lines in the show's pilot involve her being unable to differentiate staging authenticity versus actually acting as herself.
It's a trap most social media-obsessed millennials have fallen into in a culture of highly curated Instagram feeds. And faced with this narrative, Lucy fears more and more people are failing to see beyond the images they've painted for themselves. As for Astrid, the facade all starts with the perfect outfit. "It was interesting because I think my costume for Astrid is Astrid’s costume for Astrid. She is very much aware of the impact that she has on people and she curates her wardrobe on that," Lucy tells Preview.
A sophisticated sweetheart in her preppy ensembles consisting of sheer blouses and pussy bow tops, it's easy to perceive Astrid as an innocent, well-meaning presidential candidate, and difficult to believe she's plotting to frame murder. At least not when she's traipsing into a room wearing a Peter Pan collar, like she's about to click her Carel shoes three times on her way to Neverland.
That said, more can be inferred from her perpetually unimpressed stare, proof that one can only play pretend so far. And it's exactly in these burning green eyes that viewers can wait to watch the tear form. A break in the image to start Astrid's eventual journey of which Lucy hopes will then push young viewers to take off their own masks. "I guess with Astrid it’s that cliché thing of encouraging people to look beyond the surface, which I think right now, in this culture of facades, with social media being so present and prevalent, maybe people need a reminder of. That the façade that people present or the experience you have of someone is only the very surface of what their life, their experiences, or them as human beings is really like. "
Get to know more of Astrid Sloan in our full interview with Lucy, below!
Describe your character's fashion sense. How is it different from yours?
"It was interesting because I think my costume for Astrid is Astrid’s costume for Astrid. She is very much aware of the impact that she has on people and she curates her wardrobe on that. She dresses for every occasion based on how she wants you to receive her so that she’s more in control of herself and people’s opinion of her. So it was interesting seeing how that changes over the course of the series as well, [like the] colors that she wears for every specific event or moment. Her [style] is a kind of a heightened version of what I love anyway, but yes, hers very much influenced mine."
Do you get a say on your character's overall look?
"That was the incredible thing: how collaborative everyone was and receptive of your ideas even if it was different to the initial concept. I think our idea of what Astrid should look like was mostly aligned. I just didn’t have the imagination to see what they could be, especially with Astrid’s hair. She has all these decorations that she always puts, and she supposedly does her own hair in those intricate designs. But it was always some kind of reference to something or there was always a purpose to it, which I found so fascinating. It was really thrilling creating more of the details of the story with something like that."
What's the one thing you'd like the audience to take away from your own character's story arc?
"I guess with Astrid it’s that cliché thing of encouraging people to look beyond the surface, which I think right now, in this culture of facades, with social media being so present and prevalent, maybe people need a reminder of that. That the façade that people present or the experience you have of someone is only the very surface of what their life, their experiences, or them as human beings is really like. So I think the reveal of Astrid’s life and the way she deals with grief and suddenly her plan being so disrupted, and suddenly trying to engage in what she actually thinks, is a new experience for her, rather than just being fed that. So I think it’s the encouragement of looking beyond and being empathic."
If you could steal one thing from your character's closet what would it be?
"The pink Rachel Comey dress I wore in episode one."
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