Brianne Howey: I love Gilmore Girls!! It’s incredibly flattering. I grew up watching it, and my mom and I compared ourselves to them. But this is not Gilmore Girls. It’s Edgier, it’s darker. The tone is different, the messages are different. I’d say there’s a little Desperate housewives meets Cute little lies.
Toni Gentry: Definitely that. That was it! [Laughs]
Brianne: I Small fires everywhere is a great one that keeps popping up.
What do you remember for the first time when you met?
Brianne: I remember seeing this beautiful, tiny, young woman with beautiful eyebrows. She hugged me and I felt like I was at home. I looked around the room and they were all women. It was our creator Sarah Lampert, show host Debra Fisher, actors, executive producers, directors. I’ve never been to an audition where most of the people in the room were women. It was incredibly empowering and exciting.
Toni: The same. I walked in and was very, very nervous, but Sarah, Deb and [director and executive producer] Anya Adams made it so welcoming. I read with 20 actresses invited to test the role of Georgia, and Brianne was the last. It was that. She came in, turned on that smile – which is part of Georgie’s charm, but also who Brianne is. She is so beautiful and talented and beautiful inside and out. I forgot it was an audition. It’s been that way ever since.
You’re both closer in age to your characters, so what’s your off-screen dynamics?
Toni: Brianne is only eight years older than me. [Laughs] My brother is much older than me. He looks more like the age difference in the state of Georgia to me than Brianne.
Brianne: With siblings I have a bigger age gap than with Tony. I would say it is less a mother / daughter and more friends and sisters.
The show explores micro-aggression in our culture – something like that Tony wrote about it in his life. What do you hope viewers will take away from Ginny and Georgia’s story?
Toni: I think Ginny has such a specific story, but it is in specificity that we find universality. I think that’s why the show will resonate around the world and talk to a lot of people of different backgrounds. Especially for Ginny’s background, it felt so refreshing when I could authentically portray the person I was in a relationship with, in a way I couldn’t necessarily experience as a child. Ginny is going through a lot of identity crises, sexual research, racial research. I think it is really important to normalize these conversations and show complexity, especially in a multiracial family.