Star of the summer! Chiara Aurelia made waves when her new Freeform TV show, Cruel Summer, premiered on Tuesday, April 20.
In the series, which is produced by Jessica Biel, 18-year-old Aurelia stars as Jeanette Turner. Over the course of three summers, Jeanette goes from being a dork to taking on the part of the most popular girl in town before she’s eventually shunned for her potential role in the disappearance of the town’s former it-girl, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt).
“It’s a huge, twisty, adventurous ride,” the New Mexico native told Entertainment Weekly on Monday, April 19. “You can’t really expect anything. There is a whole slew of twists and turns, and that’s the joy of it. There are more mysteries than you might expect, more characters involved than you might see at first, and every detail is like a bunch of breadcrumbs that will lead you to the truth.”
Aurelia started acting at age 4 when she began studying method acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. In 2014, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her on-screen career, starring in a couple of short films before landing a reoccurring role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. That same year, she landed the part of young mean girl Addison on Pretty Little Liars — a career move that perhaps paved the way for Cruel Summer.
“No one is just one thing. There’s always a lot more going on,” Aurelia told Teen Vogue on Tuesday about the two shows’ similar themes. “[Pretty Little Liars] was maybe the biggest thing that could’ve ever happened in my whole life ever.”
Even though Cruel Summer takes place in the ‘90s and features some dark plot points, the teen thinks that its subject matter is still relatable today.
“There’s still an element of this that is relatable to teens everywhere,” Aurelia told EW. “The gossip mills, feeling like you’re on the outside, feeling like you’re not cool enough or you’re too dorky or you’re too awkward, or you’re popular but people are still questioning you, and feeling like there’s always people who aren’t going to like you.”
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