Meet Chloe East

Shane McCauley
Molly Dickson
Donna Salek

For a debut actor, scoring a lead role in a show by none other than television heavyweight HBO is no easy feat; Chloe East, however, has done exactly that. Genera+tion, a drama following the complex ups and downs of high schoolers navigating sexuality, friendships, love and family from within their conserative town, perfectly treads the line between playful and dark. The show has won the admiration of Gen Z-ers for its honest, funny and at times utterly heartbreaking storytelling and its captivating cast. East plays Naomi: a sharp-tongued, feisty character who, the actress admits, is totally different from herself, but a joy to play. As season one comes to an end, there’s a feeling that Naomi, and the rest of the young cast, have become utterly familiar. At times we become frustrated at them, enamoured by them, and ultimately, we care about what will happen to them – the signs of a truly gripping show.

DS: Hi Chloe! I hope you’re well – how have things been for you over the past year?
CE: It’s been an incredibly wild year! Filming the show during this time has been an overwhelming process but ultimately, I am so grateful to be healthy, happy and working. 
DS: How did you first get into acting?
CE: I started dancing when I was 2.5 years old and never really stopped. I started performing on stage and growing up doing shows like The Nutcracker, which led me into small neighborhood plays, then eventually auditioning for commercials when I was 11.
DS: What drew you to a show like Generation?
CE: The writing is just too good. Zelda, one of our showrunners, created the show when she was 17 years old. When I first read the material, I was completely blown away by how truthful the language was. 
DS: How was the audition process for the show?
CE: Very short, actually. I did a self-tape for the role and sent it out to casting the next day. Pretty soon after I was in the room for a director session and a little while later I received a call that I got the role while I was in line at Taco Bell!
DS: Your character, Naomi, is incredibly strong-willed, how was it stepping into her shoes? Do you share any similarities with her at all?
CE: Oh gosh, Naomi is SO fun to play. While our personalities couldn’t be more different, I did grow up in Orange County, as Naomi did. But truthfully, every other aspect of our lives couldn’t be more different. She is raunchy, crass, obsessed with her appearance, has the entire Brandy Melville wardrobe, and has a great sense of humor. She lets me take my guard down and is totally uninhibited.
DS: Generation spans topics of sexuality, family, identity, sex – to name a few – what do you think will be the viewer’s main take away after watching?
CE: I think Generation will hit every person differently. It explores what it’s like to be young and lost within your identity. Growing up is confusing and awkward, and truly all you want is to be loved. I think our show emotes all of those feelings while still being truthful in the hilarity of being a teenager.
DS: The show cast is incredibly talented – what was the dynamic like when you were filming?
CE: It should be illegal how much fun we had while shooting the show. Zelda coincidentally lives very close to me in Los Angeles, and before the quarantine, we spent a lot of time seeing old films at the New Beverly Cinema and talking in diners at 2am. Not to mention, every cast member I have a scene with is so special and unique and I’m so grateful to have created such close bonds with them. And don’t get me started with my girl Nathanya Alexander… we have each other CRACKING UP between takes. 
DS: What do you hope teens and young adults will learn from watching the show?
CE: I hope people will come to know and understand that they are not alone in their feelings. There’s always someone out there that can relate to your feelings, whether that be of loneliness or confusion or frustration. Whatever it may be, you are loved, you are accepted, you are unique, and perfectly imperfect.
DS: Finally, what are your ambitions and where do you hope to see your career go over the coming years?
CE: Oh gosh. I’m looking forward to working on more projects with people I love. I love film, and can see myself making movies with my 16mm camera. I also would like to continue exploring my love for cooking and see where that takes me outside my kitchen, as all the appliances are expensive!
Photographer: Shane McCauley
Styling: Molly Dickson
Hair: Bobby Eliot
Make-up: Jenna Kristina
Words: Donna Salek