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Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'It's Sophia Lillis On Fan Love And Defying Beauty Standards

We're highlighting remarkable young actresses who are set to become the leading ladies of tomorrow.

Artwork Rafael Hidalgo for Zimbio

The world is changing, and the team here at Zimbio is all about it. Now, more than ever, the concerns of women are being heard, respected, and valued through movements like Time's Up and Me Too. And, now more than ever, it's up to us to embrace and empower each other if we want these movements to stay soaring. That's why the month of March — Women's History Month — feels extra important this year. To celebrate, we're calling out awesome young actresses you'll be seeing much more of in the future, the rising stars who excite and inspire us. Whether we were touched by their courageous onscreen performances, brought to tears by their relatable characters, or captivated by their thoughtful posts on social media, we think every one of these actresses is on the road to becoming a household name.

Earlier this month, we featured Emma Kenney, best known as the spirited Debbie Gallagher on Shameless, then 16-year-old Talitha Bateman, who you'll recognize from films like Annabelle: Creation,
Geostorm, and the new drama Love, Simon. Next, we put the spotlight on Shannon Purser, who readers will know as Ethel on Riverdale and Barb on Stranger Things.

Now, it's time for Sophia Lillis to take the stage. One of the most notable breakout stars of 2017, her performance as Beverly Marsh in It cemented her as one to watch. After appearing in HBO's Sharp Objects, she earned a role in the upcoming drama Before I Sleep. She'll also reclaim her role as Beverly in It: Chapter Two, which is currently slated to hit theaters in 2019.

You have so much support on social media! What's the best message you've ever received from a fan?

Sophia Lillis: I have to admit I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, but I do love the opportunity to meet fans face to face. It’s really encouraging to meet people and find out about their lives, and I really appreciate all their support. I especially love that there’s so many young women that were impressed with Bev's strength.

Is there any big acting goal you hope to accomplish in the future?

SL: I would love to be in a musical someday. I love musicals and the whole broadway scene. I need to work on my singing though!

Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'It's Sophia Lillis

What does the support of other young women mean to you?

SL: Practically my entire team is made up of extraordinarily talented and supportive women. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

What significance does TV and film have in your life?

SL: I spent a lot of time growing up — and still do, as I am still growing up — watching movies and TV. I stream a lot on my phone and definitely binge watch my favorite shows. I take a lot of inspiration and learn a lot, not only from the performances, but also in the way the show or film is shot or written.

What other actresses inspire you?

SL: There are a lot of amazing actors working today but I have to say I am particularly interested in certain actresses in older films. Acting styles have changed a lot over the years, but there’s a lot to learn from these performances. I have often mentioned Giulietta Masina, who was amazing. Lately, I’ve also been watching a lot of Anna Katina's films. I love the strength and independence of their performances. There's nothing cookie cutter about them.

What big obstacle have you faced in the industry so far?

SL: I think the way I look —a little androgynous, I guess, with short hair. A lot of studios like a more "feminine" look, particularly for my age group. I think as women get older they have a bit more freedom to sometimes move away from that look in acting. Hopefully.

What is it about acting that you love?

SL: I love being on set. Everything about making a film I love, especially the set design. I draw a lot, and the stuff they make is so amazing. It's the chance to meet so many creative people. Some people find it chaotic, but I don’t know... it makes sense to me.

Can you share one important lesson you've learned since you began acting?

SL: When I was younger, I thought it was important to try to play the role the way the director saw it. That's still very important, but I've learned that I also need to make suggestions and ask questions and even sometimes to say that something I'm being asked to do or say doesn't make any sense. In the end, I am responsible for my character.

How do you cope with adversity?

SL: This is a difficult question. I know I have generally played characters with a lot of challenges — absent parents or worse. And I love these roles because there are so many levels and so much to explore and develop. But I’ve had a lot of support in my life from my family. Sometimes I talk to young women who’ve had these challenges and have said that they've found something in these characters that has helped them. I think it is the strength and independence of the characters I’ve played which they found helpful. I think it's so important to have a goal and have it be your own thing.

And what's your best fan memory so far?

SL: Probably the last Comic-Con I was at where all these young girls came up to me to take a picture. I was really proud that Bev spoke to them as well. I posted the picture on Instagram but here it is again:

Zimbio's Rising Stars: 'It's Sophia Lillis
Courtesy of Sophia Lillis

Follow Sophia Lillis on Instagram here, and follow the author on Twitter here.

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