Since 2015, viewers have fallen in love with the star-studded cast of females on the New York City–set dramedy Younger—Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff play leading roles—but particularly with 33-year-old Molly Bernard, who plays the outgoing Lauren Heller on screen.
In the first seconds speaking with Bernard about the final season of Younger, premiering today on Paramount+, it’s clear both women share the same refreshing, larger-than-life personality. Ahead, the actress and activist opens up about saying goodbye, what she’s learned from her character and what’s next on the docket.
How did filming this final season of Younger differ from the previous six?
“Oh, from top to bottom. We love our show and we were slated to start filming in March of 2020, which obviously wasn’t possible. So this season really was a labor of love and we shot it during the pandemic and it was different in every way. Full PPE, COVID tested every day basically, it was a wild ride. But it’s funny, I think this season brought us a lot closer together and it was definitely an unforgettable one.
The logistics of this season were kind of nuts, but the season is so, so good. I just finished watching the season and you have no idea it was shot in the middle of the pandemic, we are so proud of it.”
On the show, you play the super outgoing social-media-guru Lauren Heller. Are there any parallels between your character and Molly Bernard?
“Initially, I would say no because she is so confident and she so unabashedly and unconditionally loves herself, which is something that took me a long time to come around to. I signed on for the role seven years ago when I was in my early twenties and now I’m in my early thirties, so I’ve learned a lot from her. Now, I feel like we’re closer than ever. But I’m definitely more neurotic than she is, [laughs] totally more anxious, but the person who taught me about self-love the most is Lauren, so bless her.”
Give me a glimpse into Lauren’s hair and makeup trailer. Were there favorite products on set, or any beauty tips you learned over the seasons?
“Oh yeah. For our long, long days of shooting, one of our secrets was spraying a rosewater toner on our face throughout the day because being under the lights and caking on powder can get a little messy. Thank goodness our hair and makeup team is so talented because they make us look good when the days are 16 hours long.
Another secret from the early seasons is that I would wear this light purple, almost violet Marc Jacobs blush and for some reason it was just my color. It was a little secret between me and my makeup artist, it was like my little purple blush.
My favorite on-set mascara is by ILIA. It happens to be a clean beauty line but it does not flake off. You can wear that all day, under any circumstances, and it’s not coming off.”
You shared that you got your brows microbladed on Instagram recently. What was that experience like?
“It was actually so freeing and really exciting. I’ve always been insecure about the shape of my brows and my wish in life is to have a no-makeup look, but I always need a little brow gel and a little bit of mascara. I’m so happy. It’s so silly to get a face tattoo [laughs] but the eyebrows just change the game.”
Tell me a little bit about MILKWATER and why it’s so important to you.
“Milkwater is this film that I made years ago before the pandemic, it’s very near and dear to my heart. I loved it so much that I came on as a producer after we filmed it. It’s a story about a late-twenties woman who is totally flailing and is totally lost and ends up becoming a surrogate for a stranger she meets at a bar. The movie is about whether she can respect the boundaries of everyone in her life. It’s kind of her coming-of-age and really finding herself. When I first got the script I was very afraid of it because she’s a mess. But the film came out so, so beautifully and I can’t wait for the world to see it.”
What’s something you hope viewers away from the film?
“I hope that they take away the importance of making your own family, and how in the queer community, families are not—no pun indented—as straightforward, and family-making isn’t as straightforward. I’m on the precipice of beginning to try to start a family, and my partner—she’s a woman—and I are going to have to do it in a very nontraditional, non-straightforward way. So this film really celebrates that and tells that story of how difficult it is for queer families to even begin.”