We have all heard the story of teen dramas before. There’s the popular girl who yearns for something more, the jock who bullies everyone else because of his own insecurities, and the obvious outcasts. But HBO’s Euphoria trades all most of the usual tropes for more realistic teen angst and the Euphoria cast took on some pretty heavy roles. The show tells the story of a group of high schoolers kids' struggles with drug addiction, sex, gender identity, and anxiety in a more realistic high school setting than you might have seen on One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Creek back in the day.
Zendaya leads the case as Rue, a 17-year-old recovering drug addict trying to find her place in the world, Hunter Schafer, a transgender woman, plays Jules, a trans girl who is also the new kid on the block. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the Euphoria characters are concerned. Most of the characters are meant to mirror real life struggles that teenagers are going through rather than some of the same standard issues you see in most teen dramas.
Much of the core cast is made up of younger actors portraying teenagers going through very real problems, so these roles were pretty big tasks for them to take on. Luckily, they all seem up for the challenge and judging by their varied experiences, the Euphoria cast can likely handle it.
Zendaya plays one of the leads on Euphoria as Rue, a teenage addict struggling with recovery in high school. In real life, Zendaya is probably most well known as the title character on the Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover and as Michelle in the newest Spider-Man franchise.
Hunter Schafer plays Jules, who is a trans girl struggling to find her own place in the world. In real life, Schafer is a model and activist for other trans individuals. And in high school, she became the youngest plaintiff in the North Carolina Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which is also known as the "bathroom bill."
Jacon Elordi plays Nate, who uses his place as an aggressive high school athlete to hide his sexual insecurities. Elordi last played Noah in The Kissing Booth and this is a far cry from the Australian actor’s most notable role so far.
Algee Smith plays Chris, another athlete on Euphoria who has his own issues with getting used to life in college. Smith is probably best known for his roles in Detroit and, more recently, The Hate U Give.
Sydney Sweeney plays Cassie, who is a student with a somewhat promiscuous sexual past. In real life, Sweeney has previously taken on other important but difficult roles as Eden on The Handmaid's Tale and as Alice in the HBO limited series Sharp Objects.
Alexa Demie plays Maddy, Nate’s sometimes girlfriend. Outside of the show, her acting career is just a few years old, but she did have a multi-episode arc on Ray Donovan. She was also in the 2018 movie Mid90s.
Maude Apatow plays Lexi, Rue's friend and Cassie's little sister. You might recognize her as Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann’s daughter, but she has also made a name for herself thanks to her roles in Girls and Assassination Nation.
Barbie Ferreira plays Kat, who is another teenager exploring her sexuality on Euphoria. Although her character deals with body image issues, in real life, Ferreira has frequently spoken out about body positivity as a model and actress.
So far, it’s hard to say if Euphoria will get a second season or not. But the show already has a talented young cast at its helm and that’s usually half the battle for the success of a new show.