Some Trinkets spoilers ahead.
Trinkets has all the makings of a stellar teen drama: thoughtful friendships between women, important issues handled with nuance, and flawed, messy love stories that will transport you back to your own adolescence. In the show’s second season, out now on Netflix, the best (and most painstakingly realistic) of these relationships is the romance between Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand), one third of Trinkets’ core trio, and new character Jillian, played by Chloë Levine.
In season one, Elodie — a new student struggling with the recent loss of her mom and a shoplifting addiction — meets Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell) and Moe (Kiana Madeira) at a Shoplifters’ Anonymous meeting. As she spends more time with Moe and Tabitha, she also begins dating local indie star Sabine (Kat Cunning). “I really loved the first season of the show just because I think it’s so important for shows that sort of cater to younger audiences to normalize LGBT relationships,” Levine told BUST. There’s no drama or fuss around Elodie’s sexuality; the biggest issue in her love life, really, is just Sabine’s flightiness, and she mentions in season two that her parents always knew she was gay. No big deal.
Meanwhile, through Jillian, Trinkets also explores what it’s like when your sexuality does feel like a big deal. Elodie and Jillian first meet in band; they exchange some nervous smiles, Elodie does all the prerequisite Instagram-stalking, and they shyly flirt at a party, with Elodie subtly trying to figure out if Jillian likes girls. Compared to Elodie’s high-octane, temperamental relationship with Sabine, her flirtations with Jillian feel awkward, real, and all too grounded in high school. “One of the things that was really fun about playing Jillian was just, like, [getting] permission to just sit in awkwardness,” Levine said, laughing. “There were so many moments that I think are really realistic, where you like somebody but you don’t know what to say.”
After they finally kiss, though, the story takes a turn when Jillian reveals she’s not out yet. “I just felt like she was going through such an interesting moment in her adolescence, right, where she’s figuring out her identity in such an interesting way,” Levine said. “I think that because she’s not afraid to be awkward, she kind of has a security in herself that almost makes it more interesting when she has this sort of conflict with her sexuality.”
It’s partially because of Elodie’s feelings for Jillian that she’s able to confront her shoplifting addiction head-on. At the same time, Jillian’s feelings for Elodie help her gather the courage to come out to her parents. According to Levine, this is why they’re such a perfect match at this time in their lives. “I think that they sort of find each other at this moment where they’re able to challenge each other in ways that are, you know, going to really sort of help each other as human beings in the long run,” Levine told BUST.
Trinkets isn’t Levine’s first project. She previously starred in movies including The Ranger and 2019’s Adam, and also beloved Netflix show The OA. To get into character, Levine has a specific technique. “Something that I always do is I make a playlist based on music that I think the character would listen to, and then, once I have the music, I can sort of store feelings or, you know, memories that I make up for the character inside the music,” she said. What’s on Jillian’s playlist? Lots of jazz, of course, and also some Cherry Glazerr and Miya Folick. “I’m so affected by music, and I feel like a lot of people are.”
Up next, Levine will star and executive produce several projects, including the upcoming rom-com Antarctica. She also has a project she’s planning to direct. Ultimately, she explained, “I really just love telling stories in whatever kind of capacity that I can.”
Top photo courtesy of Netflix © 2020
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Lydia Wang is a writer, a Pisces, and one of BUST's digital editors. Find her on Twitter or say hi: firstname.lastname@example.org.