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  • Vingt Sept

Sebastian Croft on Heartstopper, fashion and the future


Film

“I just love playing and dressing up in clothes. It's a part of the job I hadn’t realised existed as much, but recently I’ve been getting to put on really nice clothes that I’d never normally buy and play around in them.” Sebastian states excitedly, fresh from his photoshoot at the extravagant Great Northern Hotel in St Pancras. Dressed head-to-toe in a variety of vibrant and colourful garments, Sebastian speaks passionately about his sense of style and the importance fashion has on his own identity. “I feel very strongly about what I wear just because it affects my mood so much. It’s part of expressing who you are and such an important part of acting and with finding a character.”


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For Sebastian, acting and performing isn’t just a career choice, but rather something completely embedded into his character. “As soon as I found out what an actor was, I knew I wanted to do that. Honestly, even way before that, I just loved entertaining people. I used to do magic tricks, dress up as a magician and if you came over to my house when I was seven, I would’ve pulled you into the living room, sat you down and performed a show until you left.” The young actor has come a long way since his days as an aspirational sorcerer and showman, having put in a series of impressive performances in global hit TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful and DC’s Doom Patrol to name just a few. The latest addition to his impressive arsenal of critically-acclaimed TV shows, is Netflix release Heartstopper, an adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel series of the same name.


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“I found out about Heartstopper when I heard about the first audition. I’m super dyslexic, but went and got the book and knew there was no way I was going to finish it, but within a couple of hours I had finished the first book. On the same day I went back and bought the second and third (editions). It’s very rare that I’d had a really strong connection with the original text and knew I had to be a part of it. It felt so different, so honest and really liberating knowing that Heartstopper existed in the world. This is the kind of stuff I want to be a part of and I wish I had it when I was at school.”


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Faithfully adapted to the screen by Oseman themselves, the series is an unabashedly loud and proud LGBTQ+ love story, which feels entirely unique and celebratory, whilst also feeling utterly refreshing and courageous. In a world where big studios still shy away from accurately representing queer relationships on screen, Heartstopper is undoubtedly going to be a thunderous and ostentatious wake-up call for other shows to follow suit. “I think Heartstopper is the right way to go forward with representation because it doesn’t feel like representation. It doesn’t feel like ‘The LGBT Show’, it just feels like young people falling in love and it’s honest, truthful and reflects the world we live in today. That reflection is that queer people exist of all ages and it doesn’t have to be about HIV or oversexualised, it’s just young, excited, happy people falling in love.”


Cardigan Moschino

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Croft portrays the deeply insecure Ben Hope, who will no doubt be a controversial figure in the show. “With Ben, none of his actions are loving. He’s abusive but he doesn’t necessarily understand that. Having just come out of school myself, there’s so many people who are horrible and say nasty things. There was one person in particular who was saying nasty things but in his eyes it was coming from a place of insecurity and that’s Ben to me. When I was exploring the character and with the sexual assault scene, I was speaking to a therapist and he said often people who have no value have no values, and that perfectly summed up Ben to me.” Speaking of the tribulations and challenges that came with getting into character, Croft speaks openly about his passionate disdain for his onscreen counterpart. “It was definitely challenging getting into character, the hardest thing was that I really hate Ben. He goes against a lot of what I stand for and for a show that’s so celebratory, it’s weird playing a character who’s hateful and oppressive in that.”


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The first season of the show is a combination of the first two novels, and with volumes three and four already published, and book five on the way, there’s more than enough material to allow for future seasons to follow. However, for Croft, Ben Hope doesn’t feature beyond the first instalment, leaving his return for future series a bit of a mystery. “I felt like with Ben, there was so much to explore with what he represented and I don’t think we really scratched the surface with what there is to see. I view Ben as very jealous of Charlie and resentful that he’s able to be happy.” Optimistic of a return for Ben, Croft teases the possibility of what direction the show may choose to take if a second season was to be confirmed. “It’s terrifying confronting your own sexuality and a lot of people struggle with it. I think Ben makes many bad choices because of that. I’d love to see what would happen if Ben explored his own sexuality and whether he’d become more comfortable with it. We’ll have to wait and see…”


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Jumper Connolly Trousers Moschino Bracelet Peyote Bird Santa Fe at Mr Porter

As we enthusiastically march closer and closer towards the release of Heartstopper, Croft reveals what he anticipates the lasting impact of the show will be. “I know lots of people who are still at school where Heartstopper is a beacon of hope that I wish I had at school. I remember Sex Education being so important, especially when it featured gay characters because it created a conversation around school that had never been a conversation before. I hope Heartstopper has the same effect and opens up those conversations.”


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With the show already receiving early rave reviews, a second season is inevitable. With Croft about to be launched into the limelight even further, he generously shares his hopes and ambitions about what he’d like to achieve in his career as he moves forward. “There are many things I want to achieve and certain stories I want to tell, but it’s very much a project-by-project thing. I guess my biggest, is to constantly be challenged and always play new and different characters, but in terms of an even bigger aim, I always want to tell stories that are important, that will mean something to people.” Reflecting on the first chapter of 2022, Croft is incredibly grateful about his successes so far, and visibly enthusiastic about what’s yet to come. “It’s going crazier and better than I ever thought it would be. It’s just a very exciting time because I have no idea what the next month is going to look like, I have a lot of projects coming in that are very exciting!”


Heartstopper is out now on Netflix




Photographer Wanda Martin using Nanlite

Editor & Fashion Jheanelle Feanny

Fashion Assistance Paula Salinas

Grooming by Nicola Harrowell at Premier Hair & Makeup

Video by Ronan O’Loughlin

Words by Joshua Evans

Location and special thanks to Great Northern Hotel London