V Girls: Josephine Langford

V Girls: Josephine Langford

Following in her sister’s footsteps, This fresh-faced aussie fronts the next water-cooler ya smash.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, This fresh-faced aussie fronts the next water-cooler ya smash.

Photography: Daria Kobyashi Ritch

Styling: Sean Knight

Text: Maxwell Williams

This feature appears in the pages of V118, our Spring Summer 2019 issue, on newsstands soon!

After is one of those phenomena that the Internet spawns but cannot contain. According to Wattpad, the fanfic site where author Anna Todd first published the serialized novel, After has garnered over 1 billion reads since 2014, and it was optioned as a film before Todd had even nailed her book deal. Josephine Langford landed her starring role in the forthcoming adaption in a similarly whirlwind fashion; until about 10 days before production began, the part of Tessa, a straight-A student who falls for bad boy Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) was to be played by someone else, with Langford set to play a more supporting character. But a scheduling conflict caused a rapid reshuffle: “It was a bit hectic because I only had [a few] days to prep,” she says. “But I also didn’t have time to worry too much or freak out,” says the Perth-born 21-year-old. 

  Given the book’s envelope-pushing themes of sexual discovery, finding the spark with Fiennes Tiffin (whose character is a brooding, tattoed lothario based on One Direction’s Harry Styles) might seem a daunting order. But Langford says that was the easy part. “I think chemistry is just about two people being comfortable with one another,” she says. “I was so lucky that Hero is so sweet, and we were just so comfortable with one another—especially with something like this, where there are so many intimidating scenes. [But] that just wasn’t an issue with us.”

JOSEPHINE WEARS TOP AND PANTS LOUIS VUITTON

While the fans may ultimately be the judge of Langford and Fiennes Tiffin’s onscreen chemistry, the film’s appeal to both rabid 1D fandom and 50 Shades-adjacent thirst have fueled big projections. Langford may know more about impending fame than most, given that her older sister Katherine plays Hannah Baker on the Netflix blockbuster 13 Reasons Why. But Josephine is quick to differentiate between their paths. “I was flying back and forth between Perth and L.A. for six months to test for a whole bunch of different projects,” she says. “[I had] a lot of near misses, including with After, because I was recast a week before filming. I think if my first big [role] had been a Netflix show with a lot of hype, then we would’ve had more to share. But I didn’t have time to hear advice, nor did she have time to give it.” 

For now, Langford is preparing for two top-secret roles, and says she’s in the market for more idiosyncratic material. “There were all these little things that drew me to the After script, like the fact that [Tessa] cheats on her boyfriend,” says Langford. “I loved seeing a lead female character who isn’t perfect, and isn’t demonized for it.”

So is she ready for the after-After attention? “No,” Langford says matter-of-factly. But she has no plans on letting the uptick in scrutiny become a limiting factor. “I’ve been told by a lot of people, ‘Enjoy [it] now, because come April, you might not have as much freedom.’ But honestly, I have no idea what it’s going to look like. How can you prepare for something when you don’t know what it’s going to be?”

Credits: HAIR MAKIKO NARA, AGENT KIM WILSON (WALTER SCHUPFER MANAGEMENT), MAKEUP TSIBORAH LIEBMAN

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