POPULAR GIRL: LILIA BUCKINGHAM
Aug 11, 2020
Not many teens can say that they’ve written a book with the iconic Sara Shepard, but then again, not many teens are Lilia Buckingham. From her upcoming book release titled ‘Influence’ to starring in the Brat TV series ‘Crown Lake’ to her full time job as an influencer, it’s a wonder Lilia Buckingham is still going.
Transcending what it means to simply “influence”, Lilia has dedicated her time to educating her fans on the dangers of social media and the benefits from unplugging as well as on her work with Positively Social, an anti-bullying organization.
In anticipation her new book, we caught up with Lilia to talk about her Brat TV characters, what it was like working with Sara Shepard, and some misconceptions she’s tired of hearing about her generation.
1. Across Brat TV you play Autumn Miller, but recently you’ve dawned a new character in Heather Masterson in Crown Lake. What can you tell us about her?
I love playing Heather. She’s mysterious, complicated and it’s great to be able to see what I can do when it’s only my voice. I actually helped to create Crown Lake, so I am an executive producer on it and it has been really interesting to learn all of the things that go on before you even start day one of shooting. I love learning and pushing myself so trying something new is always an adventure.
2. Speaking of Crown Lake, you recently wrote a book with Sara Shepard who is the writer for the show and the infamous ‘Pretty Little Liars’ series. How did this book come about and what can you tell us about it?
I’m a big reader and Sara has always been an idol of mine. I had always been interested in writing and had an idea for a mystery set in the influencer world. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Sara and she loved the idea so we created and wrote it together. Sara is truly incredible and I have learned so much working on the book with her. We would cut whole pages or parts and write and rewrite and I realized that even if you are a bestselling author you have to edit your work!
The book is a mystery set in the influencer world and told from 4 different characters perspectives. It was meant to come out this June, but we all agreed there were so many other things happening in the world that needed attention that we should postpone the launch until January of 2021. It’s exciting and scary to wait to see how people react to it.
3. Brat is definitely all about Gen Z. Being in the generation, what are some misconceptions you often hear about your generation?
It’s really frustrating when older generations think that all we care about are making TikToks or have no attention span or all we care about is our image. I am really proud of our generation and what we stand for. We are genuinely more open in our beliefs, we stand up for what we believe in, we aren’t afraid to change the status quo. We aren’t perfect but, I really think our generation is going to make positive change happen.
4. Similarly to your character on the show, you are openly bisexual. What does it mean to you to be that voice for a lot of other people struggling with their identities?
I am really grateful to have a platform that lets me talk to a lot of people. I really try to show who I am, the good and the bad, the confident and insecure. I know what it’s like to struggle as a young person, about my sexuality and a lot of other things. My life isn’t perfect. No one’s is. And social media can really skew how we see things. So if I can help other people going through the same issues it means everything to me. I want to help challenge existing stereotypes and I want to make people think about and have a conversation about their beliefs. It may sound silly but if I can help one person who is struggling and lose 100,000 followers who don’t share my beliefs, i’ll be happy.
5. Across the platform, your character is obsessed with photography. Aside from acting, what else are you passionate about?
I love creating and I love doing that in lots of ways. Right now I am writing screenplays, making short films, directing and of course acting. I’m also passionate about standing up for people who are marginalized or oppressed. I have lived a very privileged life and I want to use what I have to help others if I can. But I’m also a teenager and I am passionate about my friends and also love to bake!
6. Many people may not know that you actually do some work behind the camera as well scoring a producing credit on Crown Lake. Is producing something you want to continue with and how did you get started in it?
YESSSSSSS!!! I want to direct, write, produce, act, and always keep learning and trying to create stories that touch people in a meaningful way.
7. What were you doing prior to this interview?
I was actually in a USC summer class for filmmaking! It’s 4 hours twice a week. I’ve learned a ton and have made 2 short films and will be making one more (OR BOATING WITH JILL?)
8. How much of an influence is social media on your day-to-day life and how do you use social media?
Honestly, I try my best to stay off of it throughout the day. During quarantine, I’ve definitely disconnected a lot more which has been lovely. I love getting to see what my friends are up to, and of course interacting with the incredible fandom!
9. What is the hardest acting scene you have done so far in your career and why?
That’s a tough question! It’s hard because some of my hardest acting work has been in self tapes, but of course no one besides the casting director gets to see those! In ‘Dirt’ though, I had a scene where I was yelling and crying at my on screen father, and it was definitely pretty tough. I loved how it turned out though.
10. Who do you feel has taught you the most in your career?
So many people! But I did have a dance teacher who I grew up with named Kyrra, and she truly shaped me into the hard worked I am today. She taught with such love and kindness, and made me want to work just as hard as she did.
11. Is there a role or dream that you’re currently chasing?
I’ve always dreamed of doing an indie film! Acting that is super down to earth and real is my favorite kind of acting, and an indie would give me that opportunity.
12. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
The hard things about social media is you feel like people DO know a lot about you! I’m genuinely terrified of bees. When my brother was about 10 and I was 8 we were hiking and he stepped on a nest of yellow jackets and got 17 stings. I think I was more traumatized than he was! Watching him in so much pain was awful so it’s kind of an irrational but very real fear I have!
13. What is a question you wish you got asked more?
I love that you asked me about being openly bi-sexual. So many people dance around it or don’t want to address it. The only way we can begin to destigmatize things is to talk about them. While I hope some day it’s not that “interesting” that I am bi-sexual, until then I am happy to talk about it!
14. What does popular mean to you?
To me, popular means something that a lot of people like. I think in its best sense, popular is a positive; but so often people think of mean girls or excluding people. So to me if you or something you are involved in is “popular” you have a responsibility to show the good side of popularity, not the exclusive side to it.
15. Do you have any future plans or upcoming projects?
Definitely, though some of it is a secret! (sorry!) I’ve been working super hard on my film classes and have learned how to edit, film, and direct, so I can’t wait to make more movies with my wonderful and talented friends!