Shannon Purser may never return from the Upside Down on Stranger Things, but she’s still very much a part of the Netflix family. The actress — best known to fans as Barb, or to Riverdale viewers as Ethel — is playing another awkward teen in a new Netflix movie, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, which just dropped its first trailer.
Directed by Ian Samuels, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is a modern-day retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale. Purser plays Sierra, a smart student who “doesn’t obsess over looks,” even with a mean girl named Veronica (Kristine Froseth) roaming the high school halls. When Sierra’s crush, Jamey (Noah Centineo), texts her thinking that he’s messaging Veronica, Sierra lets him believe what he wants.
As Sierra and Jamey start to fall for each other — or, rather, as Jamey starts to fall for the person he thinks is Veronica — Sierra’s lie grows increasingly complicated. Eventually, she decides to bring Veronica in on the scheme, which leads to the two former enemies becoming friends.
Along the way, the girls grapple with the ups and downs of high school and coming of age. At one point in the trailer, Sierra asks through tears, “Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a teenage girl and to look like this?”
Purser herself has struggled with insecurities of her own. “I don’t have a typical body type, and that used to be something that made me feel very alone and weird,” Purser told People magazine last year. However, she said that her time on TV has meant that others don’t feel the same way. “I’ve gotten so many messages from people saying like, ‘It’s so refreshing to see somebody who looks like me on TV,’ and that really means the world to me. I think once I kind of got to a place of self-acceptance, looking past all the insecurities that I have, Ive really grown so much as a person.”
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser also stars RJ Cyler (Power Rangers), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), and Lea Thompson (Switched at Birth). It hits Netflix on September 7.
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(photo via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)