The Society's Natasha Liu Bordizzo Has the Best Fashion Mantra

If Netflix truly is a breeding ground for Hollywood’s next generation of superstars (see: Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things, Katherine Langford of 13 Reasons Why, and Lana Condor of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), then all eyes should be on the streamer’s buzzy original series The Society. With nary an adult in sight (except for a few moments in the first episode), The Society puts all its chips on an ensemble cast of young, beautiful, and talented up-and-comers. A bet that has clearly paid off, as the show just announced a second season.

One such newcomer is Natasha Liu Bordizzo. In the role of Helena, the Australian actress is one of the show’s standouts, prompting an immediate search of her IMDb page and a deep dive of her Instagram. What we found is a star on the rise with a serious eye for fashion, solidifying a spot on our ones-to-watch list. So after bingeing the show—a must-watch, if you ask me—I eagerly jumped on the phone with the 24-year-old to talk about breaking out in the U.S., attending one of the biggest fashion shows of the year, and reawakening her inner "weirdo" all in the name of style. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.


(Image credit: Isabel Durant for Rare Bird)

Have you always loved fashion?

I do. It’s funny because I am having this mini-revolution with myself where the older I got… I think you get older and sort of lose your childhood in a way, like you get more minimalist, chic, and that’s great. That’s still a vibe I’m down for, but I’ve recently tried to reawaken my inner child and my inner weirdo. I went through so many phases as a teenager, like punk, and I was a bit gothic at one point, and then super feminine and bohemian, and then back again. And I’m like, why can’t I still do that? Why can’t I still go through phases? I don’t think it’s immature at all; it’s just fun. I have been re-tapping into a lot of hobbies I used to have as a kid, and dressing differently is one of those things. I’m back into prints. I’m back into color. I’m like, fuck it—it’s so much more fun to play again. That’s what fashion is. You have a change internally, with your mood or how you feel about yourself or life or whatever, and then you can dress differently. It’s a manifestation of that. So I’ve always enjoyed it in that sense.

What is the outfit you own that you feel most authentic/comfortable/yourself in?

Probably ripped jeans, boots, some graphic tee, a crossbody bag, and a beanie. And giant frizzy hair.

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What’s your favorite thing you’ve worn on a red carpet so far?

Oh, that’s tough. I actually don’t know, because honestly, it’s like piece by piece, and I pick it right before the event, depending on the mood I’m in. We have the premiere next week for the show, and we’re talking about styling, and honestly, I’m just in a mood right now where I’ve been on a road trip, I just got back from Shanghai, I’ve been all over the place… Let’s just do something crazy. I want to wear something straight-up weird. Why not? If I feel good in it, then yeah, that’s what it’s about.

You recently attended your first Chanel show. Tell me about that experience and your relationship with the brand?

I think it’s always the initial part of learning about the history and the foundation of these brands that is so amazing because they are so much more than just brands. They have huge histories. They have mantras and certain belief systems of who they want to work with and why. And so these are all just in my mind as my career progresses, like who aligns with you most on many levels. But Chanel is amazing, and that was an incredible show because Karl had just passed away, and it was a really special moment for me to have witnessed everyone in that family celebrating his life together in Paris. These are the kind of moments you can’t repeat. They are once-in-a-lifetime. So that was special.

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You are from Sydney but now live in Los Angeles. How would you say the fashion is different between the two cities? How would you say it’s similar?

Similar would definitely be relaxed. The climate and the beach being nearby just affects everyone I think. But different? Sydney can be pretty dismal for fashion, depending on what area you are in. Everyone is very practical there. There is a focus on wholesomeness I think in Sydney because everyone is so nature-driven. Everyone loves natural fabrics. You’ll find a lot of linen and a lot of silk and cotton. I’m into that too. I love good fabrics. And I think Los Angeles is more statement graphics and prints and crazy colors because you have to somehow stand out in a city where everyone is trying to stand out.

The Society is not your average teen drama. These kids deal with some pretty heavy stuff. What were your initial thoughts upon reading the script?

I think it’s very thought-provoking, like what would you do if you were put in this situation? Would you become the authority? Would you rebel? Would you be pro-gun or anti-gun? Would you lose your shit, or would you be the same person in the new world as you were in the old world? These are all things that when I first read the bible for the whole thing I immediately was like, what are the trajectories of these characters going to be? Because eventually everyone is just going to lose their minds, and the darkest elements of your soul will be brought to the surface. And it comments on what millennials would do with a new world, and that’s something I think everyone thinks about. It’s a dream because there is so much to talk about. And there is a relatable character for everyone I think. There is enough teen drama in it that I think it really appeals to the younger demographic, but then with so much overarching metaphorical, dark, thematic double meaning that it is still deep enough that an older demographic will also really enjoy it.

How do you think you would handle this kind of situation?

I think I would stay super low-key and out of the way. Kind of like Gideon’s character. I would take photos, observe, figure out how we got there. I used to study law. My whole background before acting was completely academics, so the old me, which is the me I’m referring to because we’re talking about teenagers here, definitely would stay on the DL and organize and be logistical about things. Kind of like Allie meets Becca.

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Do you relate to your character, Helena, at all?

To be honest with you, I doubted my ability to even play her in the beginning. When I got to the audition, I read for a few of the female roles, and they really liked me for Helena, and I was like, I don’t have a religious bone in my body. Her role is the moral compass; she is the faith leader. You have to have a certain truth and authority to how you hold those types of scenes where you are a faith leader, and I was like, I don’t know if I can do this. I really don’t know if I can believably communicate something that I don’t understand or really believe in. And also on top of that, I’m super anti-gun. I grew up in Australia where guns are illegal, as they should be, and we have very low gun violence. It’s one of those things that scares me the most about moving to America, how crazy the climate is here with that [issue]. And [Helena] is pro-gun. So there are so many things that we are different on. I guess the reasons the producers and the team wanted me is because I had to fight to find a real person out of all of this, you know, with someone I had very little in common with. I guess that brought it to a believable place because she is unexpected and she’s realistic and relatable even though she is very different from a lot of the viewers of the show. I just hope I brought something unexpected and true. I did a lot of research on the bible and everything so that I understood the references I was making, which helped me bring something believable.


(Image credit: Isabel Durant for Rare Bird)

It’s a brilliant young cast. What are some of your fondest memories from set?

Oh my god, it was havoc. You know, I never really went to college because I did eight months with my law degree and then quit to do acting, so this was my college experience. It was like 12 people 20 to 26 years old, living in small-town Massachusetts with not much else to do. We seriously hung out morning till night every single day for four months. It was probably the most fun four months of my life. Just the fact that I was in the trenches with a bunch of up-and-coming actors and we all learned from each other’s methods. It’s such an ensemble. We would go karaoke, we would go apple picking, everything that was traditional Massachusetts. We would drive to Kathryn [Newton’s] farm because she literally rented an Airbnb, and it was this ridiculous farm property in the middle of nowhere that we would lose reception to on the way. And we would have bonfire nights at Alex and Toby’s place (they play Harry and Campbell). They had a great house, and the neighbors would call the police and tell us to be quiet. It was great. It was college. It was so much fun.

Sounds amazing!

It was such an important time for me because I was working a lot between Australia and Asia and Los Angeles, and I couldn’t focus on one place. And I didn’t really know if I could have a future in Hollywood because I’m mixed Asian. Obviously, Asian Americans are having a moment right now, which is great, but that was not happening when I started acting four years ago. I don’t want to be in a game where I’m immediately disadvantaged. It’s the law student in me, where I want to know that if I put work in, I’m going to get results. I don’t want to be a short basketballer, disadvantaged from the beginning, you know? So I was like, I don’t really know if I can commit to America. I might as well go back to Asia where I book great films and stuff all the time. So doing the show was a huge trajectory change for me—a huge fork in the road where I was like no, I really am going to commit to America because I can actually have a career here. I mean, if Netflix thinks I can, that’s a pretty good sign. So it really made me believe that I could have a full-on career and future here, and that’s really, really great.

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Okay, lastly, what fashion item are you eyeing for summer?

Probably a giant dress, like a full-length dress that is just a crazy color, and I can put a crossbody bag over it and walk around. I will look like a walking crayon.

Shop Natasha's Go-To Summer Look

Next: Don’t miss our interview with Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.

Executive Director, Entertainment

Jessica Baker is Who What Wear’s Executive Director, Entertainment, where she ideates, books, writes, and edits celebrity and entertainment features.