Barb no more: Shannon Purser takes on first lead role in Netflix's 'Sierra Burgess Is a Loser'

Written by on September 12, 2018

Netflix/Aaron Epstein(NEW YORK) — Sierra Burgess Is a Loser marks the first-ever lead role for Shannon Purser, who rose to TV icon status via her short-lived fan favorite role as Barb on Stranger Things. The Netflix teen rom-com, which debuted on Friday, proves that while Barb is dead and gone, 21-year-old Purser is here to stay.

The film, a twist on Cyrano de Bergerac, follows band geek Sierra as she falls into a flirty text romance with a sensitive jock who thinks he’s texting the school’s pretty, popular girl.

Here’s what you need to know about Purser’s starring role:

1. She shared her first on-screen kiss with Noah Centineo, the Mark Ruffalo lookalike who plays Jamey in Sierra Burgess and also played Peter Kavinsky in Netflix’s other teen hit, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Jealous?

2. Purser also sings for the first time on screen in this film. She performed the track “Sunflower,” which was co-written by pop star Troye Sivan. She’s since started writing some music of her own.

3. Sierra Burgess is plus-size and confident. “Usually when there’s like a larger or plus-size character, they’re very sad and unhappy with their lives,” Purser says. “And Sierra is, at least in the beginning, self-confident and she knows who she is and isn’t threatened by the bullies.

4. Yes, Sierra catfishes Jamey, and yes, that’s bad. But Purser was OK with playing a flawed character and exploring whether she could “grow and see the error of [her] ways and become better.” 

5. (SPOILER ALERT) There might be a sequel to Sierra Burgess. At least, Purser is hoping there will be one, to explore Sierra and Jamey’s long-distance relationship.

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