In 2018, Love, Simon became an instant favorite as one of the first feel-good coming-out story of an LGBTQ teen. Now, Hulu's follow-up series, Love, Victor, expands on the movie's themes of teendom and self-discovery, with a goal of speaking to a wider range of viewers through diverse storylines and characters. The importance of the show isn't lost on its cast. For Rachel Hilson, who stars as Mia in Love, Victor, this is a big deal.
Warning: some spoilers for Love, Victor ahead. Love, Victor centers around (you guessed it) Victor, a 16-year-old trying to figure out who he is while navigating life at a new school. Victor comes from a working-class, strict, Catholic, Latinx household, where the topic of sexuality is taboo. That makes the questions he has about his sexual identity even more confusing.
Hilson says that aspect separates Love, Victor from Love, Simon. While Simon knows he's gay at the start of the film (but is closeted), in the Hulu spinoff, Victor is unsure about his orientation. "We see the exploration process more — of like, really just trying to find yourself and find what you like," Hilson tells Elite Daily. "I don't think you've really seen [that] a whole lot in TV or film in general.
As Victor's love interest for a large part of the season, Hilson's character Mia plays a big role in Victor's self-discovery journey. But Mia doesn't exist solely to help out the main character. She's a popular girl who deals with her own struggles outside her relationship with Victor, and there's something very empowering about that.
"[Love, Victor] shows that there are popular Black kids. I think that's an interesting point of view that we just haven't seen represented a whole lot," she says, adding: "[Black characters are] not just the best friend; we're not just like the devices. I think that's a good thing for audiences everywhere to see: brown and colorful faces represented in different ways."
Hilson credits this focus on representation to Love, Victor's creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. The duo not only wrote Love, Simon, but are also the executive producers and co-showrunners on This Is Us, on which Hilson portrays the teenage version of Beth. "They are just so good at exploring different people's experiences," she says.
With Love, Victor's release date landing in the middle of Pride Month, as well as a revolutionary time in the Black Lives Matter movement, Hilson feels the series fits well into conversations surrounding the current climate. "Anytime you're talking about human rights, you're talking about all humans, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender. You can't be for one and not be for all," she says.
As for the message she hopes fans take home from Love, Victor, it's all about being true to yourself. "You don't need a label. You can be as many things as you want at one time," she says. "I want people to see that you never have to be a stereotype, and you're not. Everyone's just unique, and I think [Love, Victor] got that right."
Love, Victor is on Hulu now.