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 third season of You is debuting soon. How do you feel?
I’m excited for people to see it and see their responses. It’s the result of many people working in a very focused and controlled way. We worked throughout the pandemic, and it wasn’t easy, but I think we managed to make something that might be better than the previous season, even under the circumstances.
I know you can’t give away any spoilers. But if you had to summarize how we’ll feel after the season, what would you say?
I feel like that depends on the person. Personally, I feel like it should be exhilarating and frustrating. I think it should [bring about] a really good mix of emotions.
You’ve played two dynamic, massively popular characters Nell and Love. I think fans become so attached to these characters that they think they know who you are. What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
One thing that might be surprising is I’m not drawn to frightening content. I love comedy. I also enjoy shows that mix many genres, which I think is emblematic of life. I’ve been watching Reservation Dogs, Ted Lasso, and The Crown. I was going through a hard time, and watching The Crown was so incredible because it was immersive into a world that I had no familiarity with. It’s so well-crafted—you can lose yourself in it.
The roles you’ve taken on have thrust you into global fame. You currently have 1.4 million followers on Instagram but aren’t active and have no posts. Do you find that staying away from social media helps protect your mental health?
Yeah, I think so. I see it as something I struggle to engage with authentically. And therefore, I don’t feel like I need to force it. It works for many people, and they know how to express themselves within that format. I’m more of a one-on-one person. That’s definitely where I feel like I can communicate and have rich interactions with people. I rarely find that any relationships I have are strengthened through social media. And at the same time, I don’t feel like I struggle with being not socially engaged. Even if I’m not on Instagram, I’m still fully aware of what’s going on in the world.
How else do you prioritize mental health and self-care?
My work is really emotional. So, I feel like I’m fucking with my nervous system. I think it’s really important that I meditate and find moments to figure out how to shed my work off of me. I do yoga, for sure. I’m not necessarily working to gain a tremendous amount of muscle. I do yoga because I want to have access to my body for a long time. I’ve also been working on doing different forms of facial massage because I use my face a lot in my work. Doing these habits has a large effect on my mental health. I think working on our minds without working on our bodies is only doing half the work.
You’ve also previously said one similarity between you and Love is your passion for cooking. Over the last year, did you find yourself cooking a bit more?
Yeah, definitely. I forget that cooking is also a form of self-care. I feel like I’m able to access a meditative state when I cook. It’s awesome. I love cooking vegetables. Having the ability to get somebody who hasn’t tried a vegetable before or doesn’t like vegetables to like them is definitely an accomplishment.
Cooking also feels good because it feels like a service as well. I started cooking when I was in middle school, and I would cook for my family. It’s a satisfying thing to cook, offer it to others, and watch them enjoy it.
When it comes to beauty and skincare, what are your top priorities and concerns?
I feel like if you start looking at skincare, you very quickly get inundated with all the options. There are so many people and companies selling skincare products. Each one says that their products and their ingredients are your best option. They’re making ridiculous claims about the effectiveness of those products, and some of them are being sold at ridiculous prices. And a lot of them are being advertised by celebrities who are getting them for free. They might be able to see its effectiveness, but are the value and quality worth it? That’s hard to say unless you have experience using it or understand how ingredients function within skincare.
I am by no means an expert, but I found the more we can be informed about what we’re looking for in skincare products instead of blindly trusting brands or trusting celebrities, then that’s probably going to be the best way we can feel empowered and good about the decisions we make for our skin, wallet, and community.
I tend to go for products with as few ingredients as possible and those that use concentrated ingredients. Throughout my life, I’ve learned different things about skincare, like the most effective forms of vitamin C, different forms of hydration, different types of retinols, and different forms of chemical exfoliants. I don’t necessarily feel like I can promote any specific ingredients or products, but I want people to know they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have a high-quality skincare regimen.
We’ve seen you master the art of playing darker, thrilling characters. What other types of roles would you like to pursue?
Just recently, I was thinking about wanting to do something fantasy-related. I think it would be fun to play something that’s not even human.