‘The White Lotus’: Brittany O’Grady on the Moment Paula and Olivia’s Friendship Starts to Fall Apart

There are plenty of interesting character interactions within HBO’s The White Lotus. However, fans are particularly interested in the dynamic between best friends, Paula and Olivia. While the pair seemed as thick as thieves in the series premiere, fans are heading into the season finale wondering how they can even stand to even be around each other. But how did these wildly different characters even bond in the first place? And when did their relationship really hit the point of no return? Brittany O’Grady, who stars opposite Sydney Sweeney, offered some fascinating insights for curious fans.

Brittany O'Grady at The White Lotus premiere
‘The White Lotus’ cast member Brittany O’Grady | Amy Sussman/WireImage

O’Grady, of course, plays Paula in The White Lotus. While she remains something of a mystery in the first few episodes, fans are really getting to know her more in the latter half of the miniseries. But the more we learn about Paula the less we understand about why she and Olivia are friends. Between Olivia going after every guy Paula is interested in and Paula convincing her romantic interest, Kai, to steal from Olivia’s family, the pair seem more like frenemies than anything else.

‘The White Lotus’ cast member, Brittany O’Grady gets candid about Paula and Olivia

Despite their drastic differences in wealth, upbringing, and privilege, O’Grady actually cites Paula and Olivia’s similarities as the driving force behind their friendship. The Epic actor shared that the pair were bonded by their shared experiences. “I think Olivia and Paula have this certain [connection] from living in college together, taking the same classes, and being taught the same things,” The White Lotus star shared with NYLON.

According to O’Grady, it’s not that Paula was blind to Olivia’s shortcomings and how deeply flawed her family is, but their vacation to The White Lotus really puts things into perspective for Paula. This is especially true after Olivia intentionally makes a move on Kai (after promising that she’d never repeat her past behavior) and Paula realizes that Olivia is willing to do whatever it takes to always have more than her. While Paula may have been able to ignore some of Olivia’s behavior in the past so that she too could experience luxury and privilege, she eventually comes to realize that dealing with Olivia and her family isn’t worth it.

O’Grady pinpoints where Olivia and Paula’s relationship starts to fall apart

“In the world of the vacation, I think she was just excited to go to a really nice place with her friend and benefit from it, but now she’s starting to realize it’s not worth it,” The White Lotus star shared about her character. “It’s not worth the nice pool or the free food or the luxurious hotel. It just doesn’t align with her purpose and how she views the world. I think that’s where their relationship actually starts to crumble. The reality starts to come to the surface, and unfolds in such a dynamic way.”


Filming ‘The White Lotus’ Was Like a ‘Very Tropical Version of ‘The Shining’

Another moment that O’Grady pinpoints as the true beginning of Olivia and Paula’s friendship deteriorating is when they lose all of their drugs. The White Lotus cast member shared that being able to be high together actually fueled a lot of their affection for each other and once that was gone, their friendship truly started heading south. “They came to Hawaii to trip and to have a good time,” the actor shared. “That was their connection. Actually, maybe the drugs being lost was the start of their relationship being ruined because they didn’t have drugs to enjoy each other.”

Will Paula and Olivia both survive ‘The White Lotus’ finale?

We’re sure fans of The White Lotus can’t wait to see where Paula and Olivia go from here, or even if they both survive their tumultuous trip to Hawaii. The season finale of the miniseries premieres on HBO on Sunday, August 15.