‘Euphoria’: How Sci-Fi Inspired Trans Teen Jules

Hunter Schafer is the multitalented actor and model who stars in the HBO series Euphoria. The show, which takes a look at the polarizing world of sex, drugs, and gender identity through the lens of high school teens, was Schafer’s first acting gig. She plays Jules Vaughn, a transgender female who moves to the suburbs with her dad after a troubling childhood that ultimately resulted in her parent’s messy divorce. Aside from her own experiences with transitioning, Schafer recently recognized how an interest in sci-fi inspired her role as Jules.

Hunter Schafer Euphoria Jules
Hunter Schafer | Matt Winkelmeyer/VF20/WireImage

Who is Jules on ‘Euphoria’?

In the first season of Euphoria, Jules is the proverbial new kid in school. Having moved from the city to the suburbs, Jules gives off an “I don’t give a f*ck” vibe and oozes confidence externally, but it’s clear that she’s struggling with a few things internally. Throughout season one, we get glimpses of Jules’ troubling past and how those experiences have impacted her. From having her mom trick her into visiting a psychiatric hospital where she would later be admitted to seeking out violent sexual interactions with white, cisgender men, Jules is working through a lot of internal emotional pain and anger.

In a Euphoria Unfiltered clip, Schafer explains how the interactions we see Jules seeking in the first season are her search for “affirmation and ‘love.'” Schafer goes on to say “…seeing women in her life being treated a certain way by men…I think it goes back to something deep-rooted, like transitioning…”

Hunter Schafer relates sci-fi to being trans

Schafer credits many of her personal experiences as the inspiration for her role as Jules, but a childhood obsession also aligns with her character. In her interview with V Magazine, Schafer explained how vital the science fiction genre is to her. She grew up on comic books and Teen Titans, recalling how she wished she could don superhero armor all the time. When Arca, the musician who was conducting the interview, pointed out how “transness is pretty sci-fi…” Schafer agreed: “Yas. Period! I think that’s why a lot of trans people can tap into a certain aesthetic that has sci-fi elements [so well].” Schafer also expressed an interest in working on a sci-fi related project in the future. She feels like she owes it to her younger self because “…all of [the sci-fi genre] was so important to me.”

What’s next for Jules 

With the second season of Euphoria confirmed, fans are wondering what will happen to Jules. When we last saw her, she had boarded a train to the city without her friend and romantic interest, Rue. Will Jules come back for Rue, or will she chase her dreams of becoming a fashion designer in the city? During her V Magazine interview, Schafer was asked if she imagined anything long-term for her character. She related Jules’ dreams to her own, recalling how she herself “escaped” to New York. Schafer says the similarities between her real-life journey and the path Jules is on “…was [part of the character] before I was even cast, so it was really freaky to see that written into the script.” 

For now, it seems that fans may get to see Jules chasing her dreams in the city. It’s more likely that she’ll return to rekindle the bond she has with Rue, who has become highly dependent on their relationship. After all, it only seems right that the two reunite at some point in season two of Euphoria