School is almost out, and soon "Booksmart" will be in theaters. Leading up to the comedy’s May 24 release, Teen Vogue has an exclusive first look at some photos from the film, paired with interviews with the movie’s stars.
In the world of Booksmart, Hope, played by Diana Silvers, is the coolest girl in school. She's not necessarily the most popular, but she's effortlessly, endlessly cool. The kind of girl who lounges at a desk with her feet up, who casually model-walks through the halls, who isn't afraid to call 'em like she sees 'em.
In real life, 21-year-old Diana says with a laugh, "I'm not a cool girl. I wish I was." Plus, she adds, Hope is more than what she seems in her first scenes of the Olivia Wilde-directed Booksmart, when she makes a snarky joke about best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) playing teacher's pet. "When you go see the movie, you're like, 'Wow, what a b*tch...' But then you're like, 'Hope's not a b*tch, though, she's really not,'" Diana tells Teen Vogue. "Like everyone in high school, like everyone in life, we all have this outer layer we put up to protect ourselves."
Booksmart follows Molly and Amy as they try to make up for time spent studying rigorously and patronizing their peers for not being as smart as they are after realizing that practically everyone at their high school got into a top-tier university. The pair go on a partying rampage, chasing love and freedom during their last night before high school graduation. At one party, Amy finds a wild-card romantic interest in Hope, and the two try to have sex in a bathroom — "try" being the operative word.
We won't spoil the scene, but trust that it encompasses all of the awkwardness and secret fears of many first time sexual experiences. It's a scene that Diana is grateful to have been part of bringing to life. "I think [this] is going to go down as a very iconic scene," she says. "The first time you hook up with anyone, it doesn't matter who you are or what your preference is, it's going to be f*cking awkward. You're not going to look perfect and sexy, and there's not going to be cute oils."
She continues, "It's awkward to take off someone's clothes, to figure out their body, figure out what they like and what they don't like. It's also very fun. I really hope that someone [watching] is like, 'Oh, my God, OK, I'm not doing anything wrong. This is how it is.'"
Booksmart isn't the only high-profile movie that relative newcomer Diana is starring in this year. She's also acting alongside Octavia Spencer in the upcoming horror flick Ma, where she plays a partying teen who, with her friends, finds herself in a precarious situation with Octavia's Sue Ann. That role, Diana says, turned out to be an escape into another world just when she needed it.
After moving to New York from Ojai, California, to attend New York University, Diana began working as a model to pay for school and auditioned for acting roles in her free time. She eventually appeared in editorials in Vogue, Vogue Taiwan, Marie Claire, and more, and walked for Stella McCartney. But in December 2017, during her junior year of college, Diana received word that her family's home had burned down during the Thomas wildfire. She left school immediately for California, and it was there that she received a callback for Ma.
"It was really weird. It was a blessing though," she says. "When something tragic happens, all we want to do is escape it. Acting has always been kind of a twisted way of escaping my own problems and my own reality. I got to be in someone else's world, living someone else's life. It was nice, for two months I just got to not think about all the stuff that was happening back home."
That role also set in motion a new phase of Diana's acting career: Octavia became a mentor for her on set, and even connected Diana with her agent at WME. ("Octavia Spencer is, I think, one of the coolest people you will ever meet," she says. "I am eternally, eternally grateful for her.") In addition to Ma, she'll appear in the assassin thriller Eve, starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.
For now, though, she's balancing the financial perks of modeling with her goal to have fashion as a complement to her acting focus. What Diana has learned from her budding career, her time in college, and her experience with the themes in Booksmart is that "you have to do what makes you happy." At NYU, Diana switched from an acting major to history, before leaving school altogether. In Booksmart, Hope starts out one way before discovering she's allowed to be more.
"There's no right or wrong way to have sex with a person, to study, to party," Diana says. "There's no right or wrong way to do anything, there's just your way, and what you're comfortable with and what makes you feel good about yourself. If you realize you studied the wrong thing, or you're unhappy [with what you're doing], life is really long. You do you. It's never too late to be brand-new."
And yes, Diana realizes she just quoted a Taylor Swift lyric (from "Innocent," on 2010's Speak Now, just FYI). She's a self-proclaimed "diehard Swiftie" and admits she used to put on her tour DVDs and "cry in awe at Taylor Swift and her majestic beauty." She also has plenty of thoughts about Taylor's new era, which kicked off recently with the single "ME!".
"I just want soft banjo, OK?" Diana says. "That's all I want, like a nice, soft banjo and good lyrical composition. We need, like, another Speak Now or another "All Too Well." She adds, "Stop thinking about drama and just make your music. Because we love you so much, we just want you to be happy."
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Billie Lourd Wishes She’d Had a Movie Like Booksmart When She Was in High School
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue