Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, and Meghann Fahy have been doing press for The Bold Type all day. They’ve been up since about 6 a.m., starting with glam — full hair, makeup, and wardrobe — before moving through a repetitive series of press, sitting in traffic, more press, and more traffic.
Finally, they’ve made their way back to Freeform’s Burbank office, where they are scheduled to live-tweet the Season 3 premiere episode. Independently, the three women beeline for the rosé before cozying up side-by-side on the same couch — a visual that would look natural to anyone who has seen even one episode of The Bold Type — for their last chat of the day with MTV News.
“The experience of the show’s so exciting, but it can be such a whirlwind,” Fahy says, feeling the literal eleventh hour and turning to her castmates. “It’s nice to just look at your face or your face and be like, ‘Oh, we’re just doing stupid stuff together.’”
It’s the same kind of groundedness that the trio seeks from one another on their show, playing Scarlet magazine’s resident fashion closet dwellers, writer Jane (Stevens), social media director Kat (Dee), and fashion assistant Sutton (Fahy). The three best friends have run up against issues familiar to our generation — wealth inequality and privilege, gun control debates, women’s health and insurance gaps, #MeToo, and more — all while seeing each other through every milestone and lesson they’ve come against in their 20s, from various rounds of heartbreak to financial struggles and career questions.
At the core of it all is honest, loving female friendship. “It’s something that was engraved on a plaque somewhere or sewn into a pillow, but your girlfriends really are the soulmates that see you through every experience in your life,” Dee says. “We’re taught through movies and media a lot of the time to look for your Prince Charming ... but really, your friends are the ones who stick with you through all of it.”
Fahy gets emotional calling out the beauty of having people who know you before, during, and after any major event, prompting a group hug on the couch. “It’s the best thing ever to know you’re not actually alone because you have people who know you,” she says.
“We’re holding onto each other for dear life,” Dee laughs. “Like, as this world is spinning out, we’re like, ‘Whoa! This is crazy! Are you experiencing this too?’”
These hold-on-or-be-flung relationships are especially important to have in the age of social media, when everyone is curating what Stevens calls a “fake highlight reel” of their lives. “I try to be as genuine as I can, but obviously if I’m having a really bad day, I’m not always gonna get on social media and talk about it,” Dee admits.
“Or on days that you feel really shitty, you post a photo of when you looked better a few days before,” Stevens suggests.
“That just depresses me, honestly,” Dee replies.
“Listen,” Fahy chimes in. “I think everyone’s guilty of it to a certain extent and there’s nothing wrong with that. It can be toxic, but I also think that it can be a really lovely medium too. It’s just knowing the difference and knowing how to protect yourself when you’re not feeling good and how to, you know, pull back and shut it off.”
“And when to be open,” Dee offers — the very realization that her character came to at the end of the season premiere. Having avoided social media in the aftermath of her breakup with Adena, Kat was feeling pressure at work to reconnect with her digital persona. Realizing her attempts to make her life seem picture-perfect were falling flat, she decided to do something different: One night, she stripped herself of her makeup and, standing at her bathroom sink, posted a video talking about her heartache.
It was a powerful scene, and one that Dee fought to make happen in this intimate way. “Part of what the show is is that it’s glamorous and it’s fashion, but I kind of wanted to be like, ‘OK, here are my freckles and my acne scars and my shiny skin,’” she explains. “What the character was saying to me was so… I felt it. I felt like it was profound to me and I didn’t want to be saying that in a full face of makeup at a Betty Who concert.”
The truth is, confronting our vulnerabilities is an important part of young adulthood, and life in general. Having an honest dialogue within ourselves helps us to learn about our limits, our values, our wants, and, eventually, it can lead to some really wonderful places.
“I take comfort in knowing that nothing is permanent,” Fahy says. “Depending on how you look at it, that can be a really scary thing, but if you look at it in terms of like, my suffering is impermanent; my sadness is impermanent. My happiness might also be impermanent, but things are constantly changing and evolving.”
Dee adds, “The Big Bang is happening right now … Everything is still moving and changing all of the time, and I think we look at our 20s and say, ‘Oh, it’s this time of all this crazy stuff happening,’ but really that continues to happen until you’re not here anymore.”
“There’s this unrealistic expectation that people put on people in their 20s to have it figured out,” Stevens says, reflecting that everyone’s path is different. “Even if you make a misstep, that leads to growth,” she adds. “You learn, ‘OK, well, what happened to lead me here? Cool, alright. Plot twist — let’s go to the next thing.’”
And for the times when it’s hard to push forward, that’s what friends are for. And the rosé doesn’t hurt (in moderation). As Stevens cooed earlier during their group hug, “Drink your wine. Wine will make it better.”
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.