Fall's TV schedule presents the ultimate dilemma: With so many new shows on the lineup and limited space on your DVR, how does a busy girl choose what to watch? Sure, strong storylines are always essential, and who doesn't love a picturesque setting? But what really draws us in is a fresh-faced leading lady. As such, we scoured the silver screen scene for this month's Girl on the Rise portfolio, presented by ALDO.
The five girls on our must-watch list all have one thing in common: They play strong, independent women. Whether it's defying the odds as the first female to play in Major League Baseball, fighting for equality as a working woman in the 1960s, encouraging healthy female bonds, or residing in a theme park as a supernatural being with her own agenda, these budding actresses are providing positive messages for their audiences.
When Kylie Bunbury arrived on set for her Who What Wear shoot in a sleek black bomber jacket, skinny jeans, and boots, we knew she was a girl after our own hearts. Never mind the fact that in her first starring role, she’s playing another incredibly exciting female character from Fox this season (see also Emma Roberts's Chanel Oberlin on Scream Queens and Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon on Empire). She’s also got the cool-girl persona to back it up. The role is Ginny Baker, and the show is Fox’s highly anticipated fiction series Pitch, about the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. It only takes a few minutes to see Bunbury’s rise to stardom will be as fast as her curve ball. Here, we talk to television’s next big thing about landing the gig of a lifetime.
On the subject of whether or not Pitch will pave the way for real-life female players in the league, Bunbury is optimistic. “I think that this will open people’s minds. I think that also what we’re seeing with Mo’ne Davis, the Little League Baseball player who is incredible, that it’s very possible it will happen in the future,” she says. “I learned how to pitch in two and a half months, so if a young girl starts young, I think the capability is there. I think we will see it sooner than we expect.”
Strong determination is a major link between Bunbury and her character. Like Baker, she is moving a step higher in her career, not to mention the physically demanding training Bunbury underwent in order to prepare for the role—she had never played baseball before production began. “What I was attracted to about my character was how fearless and brave she was. And the other thing that I loved was that she’s not a superhuman. She’s just a regular girl who has a lot of focus,” Bunbury says. “She has a gift and a talent, and she knows that she needs to work hard.”
Hard work is a concept Bunbury is all too familiar with these days. In addition to a grueling production schedule, she had a small window of time before filming the pilot to learn how to pitch. “I was training three to four days a week working on my pitching, and then I was also boxing three days a week. I needed to get my arm strength up for velocity and whatnot,” she tells us. Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad. “I swear by boxing—it changed me. I haven’t been in the boxing ring for a while because we’re shooting. So I’m throwing during my lunches, trying to get some workouts in.”
When she’s not in uniform, Bunbury prefers to keep her look laid-back. “I would say it’s relaxed boyfriend chic, but I also love to show my sultry, sophisticated side as well,” she tells us of her personal style. “I’m all about comfort—jeans and a tee with some fresh kicks, and I’m set.” Well, you can’t argue with that.
We’re fans of any series that promotes female empowerment, and Bunbury’s breakout role seems primed for the task. Be sure to keep an eye out for the up-and-comer as the fall season picks up steam, and catch Pitch Thursday nights after Rosewood on Fox.
Photographer: Paley Fairman; Hairstylist: Christian Marc; Makeup Artist: Carola Gonzalez; Stylist: Sarah Schussheim; Manicurist: Erica Cruz.
Where to Watch Her: Westworld, HBO, Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT
Armenian-American actress Angela Sarafyan is no stranger to an alternate universe. She broke onto the scene in the fourth Twilight installment, Breaking Dawn Part 2, but the society created by HBO's Westworld has her dealing with a whole different beast: balancing the nature of humanlike vs. robotic qualities.
In Her Dreams: “I’ve never played a role similar to Clementine. I had to go outside of my own comfort zone in terms of looking at who this feminine creature really was. There’s so much grace and beauty in her, and I really went about this by literally looking at the script and letting myself dream about it. I’d go and have a dream and ask myself, Okay, how does that connect? Then I would go back and read another bit, and it literally became a molding of myself into this character, rather than just going on set and saying a bunch of lines."
Technologically Speaking: “I think technology is exciting. I am using my cell phone to talk to you right this minute, and I have everything in this phone, from all the books I read and my music library to all the pictures I’ve ever taken, and it’s just in my palm. I’m so curious, excited, and a little scared of what’s to come.”
Proud as a Peacock: “Nothing pre-existed; they built [my costume] on my body—the entire thing from head to toe. The main outfit is my favorite. It’s so much like a peacock, they would say, because they wanted Maeve [played by Thandie Newton] and Clementine to be like these beautiful flowers that once they walk in, the whole place shifts onto them.”
Mother Knows Best: “My mom loves fashion, and so I used to be her little doll. I played classical piano and danced ballet and would have these couture outfits inspired by Chanel or Dior, so I’m very much attracted to the same style now. But if you were to see me on a daily basis, I’ll have a vintage dress on and my hair is a mess.”
Photo: Caitlin Cronenberg/Trunk Archive
Name: Genevieve Angelson
Where to Watch Her: Good Girls Revolt, Amazon, Friday, October 28
As if her fiery-red mane and magnetic personality were not enough of an attention grabber, Genevieve Angelson will be stealing the spotlight this October as Patti Robinson in Amazon’s buzzworthy series Good Girls Revolt.The story centers around young women fighting for equal rights in a 1960s newsroom.
Good-Girl Revolts: “I’ve never had the opportunity to play this person. I grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. On the outside, I would fall into the category of Type A, straight-edge, shiny, well-behaved upper-class girl. To be able to play the sex-having, drug-doing, messy, free-loving one that doesn’t have to be pretty or get it right but can be muddy and colorful and sloppy and funny, is my purpose in having this job.”
Getting Political: “People say oh, it’s such great timing with the show coming out at the same time Hilary Clinton is the first female candidate for a major party for the presidential election. That’s not a coincidence; that’s not just good timing. It’s happening because this is what’s happening. These are the issues we are having right now in the United States. Why do we pay for tampons and sanitary pads when this is a human female function? Why are we still taxed for the fact that we have a period? These are all things that are coming up now because these are the injustices that are happening and it’s time. We can’t stand it anymore.”
On-Set Romance: “I had romantic relationships—not with the male characters on the show but with the clothing. Honestly, it became a liability for the show because I would try things on and I would go to the costume designer and say, ‘I’m taking this home, right? This is coming with me.’ And then we’d have an argument and she’d say, ‘No!’ And then I’d say, ‘But why do you hate me and want to hurt my feelings all the time by not letting me have the things that mean the most to me? These are my boyfriends, and you are denying me my true heart’s love.’”
Retro Vibes: “I am a little bit of Stevie Nicks, a little bit of Julie Christie. I would like to have a splash of Versace and also a splash of Pocahontas.”
Photo: Ramona Rosales
Name: Lili Reinhart
Where to Watch Her: Riverdale,The CW, February 2017
You'll have to wait a few more months to catch Lili Reinhart in The CW's buzzy new series Riverdale—the network's live-action take on the beloved Archie Comics series—but we can assure you it's worth the wait. Reinhart plays Betty Cooper, arguably one of the most famous high school blondes, but don’t expect a rivalry between her and Veronica Lodge. This fresh take on the story promotes positivity in female friendships.
Independent Woman: “I think people will appreciate the fact that we’re making her [Betty] more of a modern-day human being. She’s not just falling into Archie’s arms every time he wants to be with her over Veronica.”
Solidarity of Sisterhood: “[Betty and Veronica] are the famous frenemies, but in our show, we’re focusing more on the friendship between them, because these girls’ lives don’t revolve around men and around Archie. These girls are going to be friends at the end of the day; that’s what’s important to us.”
Throwback Thursday: “The fashion definitely represents all different eras in a sense. Veronica wears very shapely, slimming clothes that would be from the ’40s, and Betty wears a lot of light, breezy fabrics. A lot of florals and cottons to go along with her personality.”
Grandma Chic: “Honestly, I’m quite modest in my clothing. It’s funny, I sent a picture to my mom a couple of months ago asking her what she thinks of my outfit and she said, ‘You know what, you’re 19, you’re young. You don’t need to dress like a grandmother all the time!’”
Photo: Ramona Rosales
Name: Camila Mendes
Where to Watch Her: Riverdale,The CW, February 2017
Of course you can't have Betty without Veronica, which brings us to our next breakout beauty: Camila Mendes. Acting has always been on this Miami native’s agenda; she excelled in performing arts in high school and college before landing the role of our favorite brunette vixen in the CW series Riverdale.
The New Girl: “She’s kind of fearless and very positive about getting to know this new world that she’s now a part of. I think the fact that she’s the new girl, she comes from this famous, wealthy family and is forced to move to Riverdale and start a new life, it kind of adds this boldness to her character.”
Setting the Scene: “The tone is dark and moody, but that being said, [Riverdale] has a lot of fun moments inside of it. Between each dramatic scene, there’s always a very whimsical feel. The director uses a lot of slow-motion. It seems almost dreamlike, so I think that with all the retro-pop music, it’s a really fun show.”
Narrowing It Down: “I just read this book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and there’s this whole section about fashion that’s just about minimalism. [It’s] not necessarily throwing away and getting rid of everything, but just holding on to each article of clothing and deciding what it is that really makes you happy, making sure it sparks joy every time you’re touching it or looking at it.”
Style File: “My style inspiration is definitely Camille Rowe. She’s got that L.A. retro beachiness, and then she has an air of French effortless chic as well.”
Photo: Sarah Dunn
Which of these shows are you most excited to watch this fall?