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Nathanya Alexander: New 'Genera+ion' episodes reveal vulnerable side

Nathanya Alexander plays Arianna on Genera+ion. Photo courtesy of HBO Max
Nathanya Alexander plays Arianna on "Genera+ion." Photo courtesy of HBO Max

LOS ANGELES, June 24 (UPI) -- Nathanya Alexander, who plays Arianna on the HBO Max teen drama Genera+ion, said upcoming episodes peel back the surface of her character.

"We get to take a deeper look into Arianna's life, and we get to see her more vulnerable side," Alexander told UPI in a recent phone interview.

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Arianna is part of a group of high-schoolers in modern-day Orange County, Calif. She has two fathers and in Thursday's episode forms a coven with her friends Naomi (Chloe East) and Delilah (Lukita Maxwell).

"She's constantly surrounded by her dads, and I think she definitely craves female energy," Alexander said.

Genera+ion premiered March 11 on HBO Max. In Part 1 of the series, Arianna helped Delilah deliver a baby in a mall bathroom and cautioned Chester (Justice Smith) about his activity on a gay dating app.

"You're definitely going to get a real answer from her if you need advice," Alexander said of Arianna. "She's very trustworthy within her friend group, and people go to her for advice, for sure."

By the April 1 episode, Arianna had broken up with Naomi's brother Nathan (Uly Schlesinger), who had come out as bisexual. Arianna made out with Nathan and Chester simultaneously in the first half of the season.

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Arianna broke up with Nathan because she felt he was more interested in Chester than in her. As Genera+ion returned last week, Alexander said Ariana is over both of them.

"It was definitely something that hurt her," Alexander said. "One thing about Arianna is she's always going to move on."

Thursday's episode also shows Arianna's issues with her fathers, as they buy her the wrong tampons from the supermarket.

"It's probably something Ariana has been telling her dads constantly not to get," Alexander said. "I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that, and maybe a lot of people will learn."

Genera+ion is the creation of 19-year-old Zelda Barnz and her father, Daniel. Alexander said she's learning about Zelda Barnz's generation, but was very different as a teenager herself.

"I was very career-driven," the 23-year-old said. "Everything in my life was about acting."

Alexander was born and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. She said she was much more reserved than Ariana is, but that Ariana's outspokenness is rubbing off on her.

"Maybe I do need to be a bit more outspoken and [have] a little less filter," Alexander said.

To identify more with Arianna, Alexander said she wrote journals beyond the information Barnz's scripts gave her. She said she also created music playlists to get into character, and Queen represented Arianna to her.

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"Their music has all kinds of instruments, and Arianna has a whole bunch of personalities in one," Alexander said.

Alexander said she decided that Arianna is a stand-up comedian and aspiring actor. The actress said she wrote some of Arianna's comedy act, and also wrote letters to Arianna's biological mother.

"That helped me tap into her vulnerability," Alexander said of the letters. "I wanted to humanize her, so what is something she thinks about that people would normally not be able to see?"

Alexander began singing and dancing in her church at age 11. She began acting in community theater with Moving Mountains in Brooklyn.

After studying acting at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, Alexander's first professional role was the movie Ocean's 8. She played a hacker on Nine Ball (Rihanna's) computer team, who helps Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) hack the Met Gala.

"I definitely felt supported on the set because everyone there knew what they were doing," Alexander said. "I honestly felt safe with everyone."

New episodes of Genera+ion premiere Thursdays on HBO Max.



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