ELLE – Major spoilers for You season 3 ahead.
What happens when two murderers get married, have a baby, and start a new life in the suburbs? The third season of You on Netflix offers an answer beyond our imaginations, with couples’ therapy and dead bodies; snooty neighbors and a secret glass cage; changing diapers and hiding evidence. Happily ever after it is not.
Victoria Pedretti, who stars as Love Quinn opposite Penn Badgley’s Joe Goldberg, knows to expect the unexpected at this point. “I feel like I really don’t attach myself to thinking that I can predict what’s going to happen,” she tells ELLE.com, “And I kind of anticipate and expect to be surprised with the way in which things go down.”
As viewers, we can’t say we were as prepared. (Caution: spoilers!) We’re effectively shocked when Love kills her neighbor, Natalie (Michaela McManus), for seducing her husband; when she starts hooking up with college-aged Theo (Dylan Arnold); or when Joe starts a romance with the librarian, Marienne (Tati Gabrielle). Surprise is the secret weapon of You, a drama that thrives on plot twists and suspenseful reveals. And it’s interwoven with real-life problems, like Love figuring out how to be a first-time mom, grieving her twin brother, and trying to keep her marriage alive. At the end of season 3 comes the biggest shocker yet, when Love, upon discovering Joe’s infidelity, injects him with a poison meant to paralyze him. But in the end, he survives and kills her instead—faking his own death and burning their house down. Once again, he walks free.
The ending may be a gut punch to fans who fell in love with Pedretti’s Love, a California chef with a girl-next-door vibe and a dark, murderous history that could rival Joe’s. The goodbye was emotional for Pedretti, too. “I did start crying as me [as a person], very sad for what the character had to go through,” she says.
But, sitting in a white T-shirt in her L.A. home during our Zoom call, Pedretti is ready for what’s next. She’s has already carved a career outside of You, starring in Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, and landing the lead role in the upcoming adaptation of the novel Lucky by Alice Sebold (author of The Lovely Bones). Country queen Kacey Musgraves even tapped her for a Mean Girls-esque cameo in her visual album star-crossed, along with Drag Race’s Symone and rapper Princess Nokia. “Kacey reached out to me and I literally threw my phone across the room,” she gushes.
Beyond that, Pedretti hints at more projects in the works, including directing and “experimenting with film as a medium, from different angles beyond acting.” And in her downtime, the music lover has buzzy albums on rotation from artists like Baby Keem, Snoh Aalegra, Tyler, the Creator, and Musgraves, of course (“Breadwinner” is a favorite).
“I’m very excited for what the future holds,” a confident Pedretti says. So are we.
What was your first impression of the season 3 script?
I don’t feel like I have extremely strong opinions, I just have to take on the character and what they’re going through. I definitely found it interesting to explore what it is to be a young, first-time mother, entering into that role as a person in the world. And that’s kind of how the story starts off. So contemplating that, especially since that isn’t my own lived experience. I think there’s something really tragic about the ending and also beautiful and also a bit of a warning towards the importance of being authentic for yourself and not forgetting yourself fighting for yourself and your desires.
BYRDIE – If you’ve spent the last year watching basically every show Netflix has to offer (raises hand), Victoria Pedretti’s face has likely graced your television screen quite a few times. Many of us became familiar with the 26 year-old through her roles as Nell and Dani in the anthology series The Haunting. But, Pedretti is most known for her thrilling performance as Love Quinn in the second season of the psychological drama You.
Recapping all of the nail-biting chaos that ensued across the show’s two seasons would require hours (yes, there’s that much to unpack). But if you’ve yet to watch, here’s the TLDR version: You follows serial killer and stalker Joe Goldberg. In season two, he’s relocated to Los Angeles (under the alias Will Bettelheim) to get away from his murder-filled past in New York and meets Pedretti’s Love. The confident, aspiring chef soon falls for him, but their love story is far from a lighthearted fairytale. Love also carries some shady secrets with her—she’s killed someone before, too. Throughout the season, we witness the complicated progression of their relationship and the murderous acts both parties engage in. The intense season concludes with the news that Love is pregnant with Joe’s child, and the couple flocks to the suburbs to lead a “normal” life.
After bubbling over with suspense for two years about what’s next for Love and Joe, we’ll finally have answers on October 15. And in true You fashion, Pedretti says we can expect season three to be as exhilarating and frustrating as the rest. Ahead, the actress opens up about the hit Netflix show, cooking as a form of self-care, and her philosophy on skincare.
When did your passion for acting begin?
I grew up in the arts. I had the opportunity to be deeply affected by a lot of film, television, and theater. I was just a huge fan of these things, but I never imagined I could ever be in them. I kind of pursued the musicals and stuff in middle school and high school. I was definitely a theater kid. But one time in high school, I did not get into the musical and ended up having to do the play. And though it felt like a failure at the time, I was able to find my greatest passion [through the play].
You initially auditioned for the role of Beck during your senior year of college. How did the role of Love Quinn end up coming back around?
I auditioned for Beck during my first time in LA while I was showcasing with my university. I got pretty far in the audition process. It was the furthest I had ever gotten in an audition process. But I didn’t really think about it after that. Then, the show came out on Lifetime. I heard some buzz from people who enjoyed the show. By that time, The Haunting of Hillhouse had come out. I was reached out to by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble about You because of the work they saw me do on Hillhouse. I haven’t even talked to them about whether or not they remember me auditioning for Beck, to be honest. But we started having conversations about the show. I was able to meet with Penn Badgley, and the rest is history.
What was your first impression of Love?
I thought she was a cool girl and so confident. I think the first scene I read was the scene where [Love and Joe] meet in a grocery store. I just imagined the women I knew who were like Love—girls who were so effortless and came off so secure, whether or not they were. There was a presentation of this immense amount of security that puts others at ease immediately, but it is also something that some people might find intimidating.
THE CUT – “God, all this stuff is starting to sound like I think I know something about psychology,” says Victoria Pedretti. She’s video-chatting from Los Angeles on what’s most likely a phone, based on the tenuous video quality. As her device is connecting to the call, her Zoom profile picture, which is a bygone headshot, occupies the square. “I think it’s funny that the picture is from when I was like 18,” she says with a laugh, just as her present-day form fills the screen.
It’s early October, about a week out from the third-season premiere of her megahit series You, which is ostensibly what we’re here to talk about. But the discussion winds, touching on matters from Instagram culture to the general dread of being alive these days, and after about 45 minutes, one thing becomes clear: Pedretti does know something about psychology, most of all her own.
“I’m a human being; therefore, I’m a hypocrite. So I’m not gonna sit here and, like, preach communist values when I know that I live in a capitalist society that I’m unfairly benefiting from,” she says. “There are so many things that are out of my control, and it makes me really uncomfortable that that’s the reality I live in. But I’m gonna take it a day at a time to try to create the world that I prefer to see.”
It’s statements such as the above that make something else clear in speaking with Pedretti: She is vastly different from the ill-fated women she’s now known for playing. She’s an actor, so that makes sense, but as Nell on The Haunting of Hill House, as Dani on its follow-up Bly Manor, and now, as the murderess Love (her You character’s actual name) on the Netflix psycho-thriller, it seems her trademark has become portrayals of women who are in many ways defined by their trauma.
Pedretti has some too, of course. But the difference is that she works through it both in and outside of her job, not letting it become a driving force in her life. “Personally, I get some enjoyment from addressing my own trauma,” she says, exuding a sunniness her characters wouldn’t be caught dead with. “I think it can be truly enjoyable having the opportunity to explore humanity and these people and to think about why they do the things they do and how they’ve become the people they are. That’s part of the spiritual element of what we do as actors. For me, it’s deeply spiritual.”
An overarching quality she does share with the women she embodies, however, is an unwillingness to play by long-written rules or adhere to what she calls “arbitrary authority.” She was raised in Pennsylvania by artist parents, who “definitely taught me that the system is not there to support us, for the most part, and that there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of people and their intentions,” she says. Even in school, she couldn’t understand why she was being told to blindly accept what her teachers said: “It’s like, unless you show me that you know more than me, I’m not just gonna listen to you.”
Victoria is featured on the digital cover of EUPHORIA. Magazine. You can read her interview below and check out the photos in the gallery! There are some mild spoilers in the interview.
EUPHORIA – Love Quinn is one of those characters that you find yourself rooting for even though they really don’t deserve your allegiance. In Netflix’s You, which premieres its third season today, Love, played by Victoria Pedretti, steps to the forefront of the show as a multilayered person who, at her core, just wants her picture-perfect life. It’s the way she goes about it, though, that shows just how deeply flawed she is. Pedretti makes absolutely no excuses for her, however. “She’s a crazy murderous person,” she says quite simply.
Love was introduced in season two of You, which meant Pedretti had all of season one to familiarize herself with the show before signing on. She watched Penn Badgley’s character, Joe Goldberg, display all his psychopathic tendencies before falling in love with Love in the second season. But little did Joe know, Love was his actual match in the world of obsessive murderers. The end of season two found them stuck together as Love reveals she’s pregnant with their baby. Going into season three, though, their relationship immediately shows its cracks as these two try to navigate being parents … and murderers … and, well, crazy people. For Pedretti, though, playing a psychopath was a challenge she was not only ready for, but actually quite excited to get into.
“I think it’s very easy to embrace the idea of a psychopath,” she shares. “I think it’s just immensely selfish. I think we enjoy watching Joe and Love, because at any given moment, we can think that murdering a person who’s causing us problems would be the solution. But we can all pat ourselves on the back, because the majority of us are still gritting our teeth and dealing with the discomfort and challenges of relating to other people – without murdering people. We should all feel really good about ourselves for that.”
The interesting aspect of Love’s character is that she’s just as unhinged as Joe – she kills out of obsession and jealousy – but Joe can’t see her as anything other than crazy, something he doesn’t think of himself as. It brings up an interesting conversation of women being labeled as crazy for doing something a man would also do, like displaying jealousy or exacting revenge for cheating. I bring this up to Pedretti, wondering if it was something she put thought into as she was taking Love off the ledge and into madness. It seemed to me as a viewer that Joe constantly calling Love crazy made her, in turn, feel and act more crazy. To Pedretti, though, Love being labeled as crazy by Joe is fair, because she truly is. What it shows, though, is how out of bounds Joe himself is.
“I don’t think that she shouldn’t be called crazy and murderous just because she’s a woman,” Pedretti says. “I think it just means that Joe maybe should be acknowledged more for his behavior. I definitely appreciated that when I was listening to the trailer, Joe calls her a monster. And I was like, ‘It is so interesting how he doesn’t see it at all.’” She adds that she agrees with my assessment of the imbalance between men’s and women’s roles in something like cheating or murder, saying it is “so representative of our society” for the woman to be labeled as crazy when the man isn’t to the same extreme. “I appreciate and respect it,” she adds with a slight chuckle.
Pedretti sinks her teeth into a new community in the third season of the show – created by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble and loosely based on the book series by Caroline Kepnes – in sleepy Madre Linda, California. It’s an affluent neighborhood that Love should fit into, based on her hoity-toity upbringing, but it takes some time for her to find her footing. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies (and commits murder) and even finds herself smack in the middle of a timely conversation about anti-vax parents. When her baby, Henry, gets the measles, she soon finds out that it was because one of the sets of parents in the neighborhood doesn’t believe in vaccinations, leading to their own kids getting sick and spreading the virus. It’s a storyline that deviates from the book but feels incredibly relevant to the current COVID-19 conversation happening around the world. Combine this with a throwaway reference Joe makes to the coronavirus, and the show solidifies itself as one of the only current ones to even acknowledge the realities of what’s happening right now.
Victoria has done a new interview and photoshoot for The Laterals. You can check out the beautiful photos in the gallery and read the interview below. There are spoilers for the new season so be sure not to read until you’ve watched the new season.
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2021 > Session 01 | The Laterals
THE LATERALS – [SPOILERS AHEAD]
‘It’s just so fun to delve into the hypocrisy of these two people. When they’re fighting and pointing fingers at each other, I think the comedy is so thick. I’m really excited for people to see it,’ says actress Victoria Pedretti. She is reprising her role as the ever-complex and the ever-cold-blooded Love Quinn, who has moved to the very suburban and Stepford-Esque Madre Linda community in the long-awaited new season of Netflix hit series YOU.
Victoria, who’s also known for her brilliantly chilling performances in The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, laughs when I say that there’s no pressure to remember our conversation last year. To my surprise, she does. ‘We spoke on Zoom, and we were also able to see each other the last time we talked!’ she proclaims just before I admit that I was the person that spoiled the ending of Nicole Kidman’s movie The Others. ‘I still need to watch it, and yes, don’t spoil the ending now,’ she laughs warmly on the phone.
This room-filling laughter is not one of those emotional traits that is common to the fan-beloved character that she was buzzing to play once again. Nonetheless, bringing Love Quinn back to life was a truly fulfilling moment in her very bright career. No surprise, as Victoria’s truly giving an emotionally charged performance, brilliantly conveying the emotional range of the complex, deeply troubled and murderous character.
‘Love has certainly transformed substantially,’ says Pedretti pensively during our conversation, adding that she loved being a part of the incredibly talented team that created the show where new obsessions lie ahead and more blood will be shed. About that. Fair warning to you, our dear readers. Spoilers lie ahead, so read our chitter-chatter with caution.
I’ve just realized that there’s a question that I’ve never asked anyone but always wanted to. How do you feel before going into interviews? Does it feel similar to an audition?
It’s much worse because nobody is giving you any lines. Part of what I like about my job. (laughing)
Sometimes interviews are just so spontaneous. In that respect, it’s like an audition. There’s a magic to it. Somebody could ask me a question one day, and it could spark something that some people might think is interesting, and then somebody could ask the same question the next day, and I would have nothing interesting to offer. That in itself is already interesting.
Since we spoke this time last year, we’ve all been through more or less tumultuous experiences. I don’t know about yourself, but I think that all my anxieties and insecurities got out and made me realize that I wasn’t taking enough good care of myself, which immensely affected my well-being. When was the last time you had some quality me-time?
I have to do that pretty regularly. On a small scale. I often feel that I need to take a step back and this happens to most people with ADD. I have a limited attention span and there’s no point in continuing to push it when it’s out. Oh my god. When I think about being a child and sitting in front of a computer while kind of bullying myself into keep going… Even though I didn’t have it in me. I think it’s much more useful, for people with minds like mine, to take a step away, busy themselves with something else so that they can come back with more energy. It’s really essential for me to be productive at all, to begin with. (laughing)
Hello Victoria fans! The official trailer for Season 3 of You has been released. You can watch it below! The new season releases on October 15 on Netflix.
Captures of Victoria as Dani Clayton in The Haunting of Bly Manor have been added to the image gallery as well as additional stills and posters from the series! Please be aware if you have not seen the complete series, captures do contain spoilers!
The gallery has been updated with the first still of Victoria as Dani from The Haunting of Bly Manor due later this fall (unless that changes of course!) as well as the teaser poster for the show.
Captures of Victoria’s very short appearance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have been added to the image gallery. If I somehow missed her in a scene, please point it out to me so that I can add to the captures.
I have added captures of Victoria starring opposite of Dylan O’Brien in Apple TV’s Amazing Stories to our image gallery. Enjoy!