PHOTOS: Lissa Chandler
TALENT: Megan Stott
STYLING: Madison Guest
MAKEUP AND HAIR: Vanessa Moates
WORDS: Thilda Riou
PRODUCER: Jasmine Perrier
This feature is taken from Grumpy Magazine’s ISSUE NO.16, available in August 2020
In anticipation of the 72nd Emmys, we caught up with Little Fires Everywhere‘s breakout star Megan Stott who delivered an outstanding performance for her first-ever role on television, opposite acting powerhouses Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
I want to do something that has depth and emotion to it
“I had done a couple of pilots before, but I never had a long-term experience. The first time I was on set, I was surprised by how big the cast was,” the 17-year-old actress lets us know from her room in Arkansas. “Being able to be with my idols for my first job is something that I never thought would ever happen.” Fast backward to her childhood, Megan’s passion for acting began as she remembers setting up theatre performances with her brothers and cousins when she was only 3 years old. “We had this book and it had all these plays in it, so we decided that we would dress up and I would try and memorize these scripts.” Although she explored different artistic venues while growing up, like dancing, cheerleading and gymnastics, her original spark for acting was the right call. From then on, it was the start of a successful journey, which led her to the groundbreaking role of Izzy on drama web television miniseries Little Fires Everywhere, based on the novel by Celeste Ng.
A lot of teenagers feel like it’s their fault that they aren’t what society thinks is perfect. You have to be careful and kind. In the end, that shapes how they think of themselves
When Megan first heard about the book’s adaptation and Reese Witherspoon’s involvement in the project, she didn’t think twice and immediately bought the book. “I thought Izzy was complicated and different, and someone I couldn’t relate a bunch to. I was a little weary at first, but the more auditions I had and the more I got to meet everyone, it all fell into place.” As the actress dedicated herself to a specific method to get into Izzy’s mind, she paid extra attention to the thoughts and feelings that her character expressed in the novel. “Once I started to get to know her better, I would listen to Alanis Morissette, My Chemical Romance and Billie Eilish. I also did journaling, which was probably the most in-depth thing that I would do to explore her emotions a little more and keep track of everything that was happening.” Described by Megan as “the black sheep of the Richardson family,” Izzy is a bright and passionate young girl, coming to terms with her own sexuality while dealing with bullying. “She is the one who nobody talks to and who gets her feelings hurt the most. She just wants her family to love her and accept her for who she is. And that’s why she’s so drawn to Mia (Kerry Washington). Nobody had called her an artist before.” Alike her character, Megan has a knack for music, an artistic background which allowed her to fully get into Izzy’s mindset. “I’ve played violin for a couple years when I was little. I played a lot of instruments like piano, flute, guitar, ukulele, so I understand where she’s coming from in her musical aspect, and how she releases her emotions into the violin.”
Portraying a 90s queer teen while being born in the 2000s, Megan was driven by the challenge of doing her character justice. “I was lucky enough to have so many people around me who have experienced that through their lives. Liz [Tigelaar, one of the executive producers] was a tremendous help because I was able to ask her so many questions,” she states. “I think back then, a lot of people were more closed off and the social injustices that were going on were a lot crueler than they are today. Now we have such a community where we’re able to have educated conversations. And people are being accepted as who they really are. Everybody should be loved no matter what.” Another of Izzy’s hardships concerns her relationship with her mother Elena (Reese Witherspoon), because of the impossible expectations she requires her daughter to meet. “Elena believes that Izzy needs to be perfect and that she can’t be different,” Megan says, before addressing the issue in its globality. “I think that both sides have to be open-minded. I feel like a lot of the time, it’s a huge communication problem. If you’re willing to talk to your parents, talk to them. Do what your heart tells you to do. Don’t be afraid, because a lot of the time they do care about you and they do want to accept you. […] I cried through the entire episode 8. I realized that it was this moment where Izzy can’t handle that burning because she just needs to get out,” Megan shares about the show’s intense finale, where we can see the Richardson’s house burning to ashes. “I just feel like it’s such a beautiful and sad moment between the family. There is so much symbolism on familyhood and motherhood.”