Odessa Young interview: Young women are set up for failure by society
Young and true: Odessa Young says new film Assassination Nation portrays modern teenagers as they really are ( AAP/PA Images )
“In the world we live in now, you can’t win as a young woman,” declares actress Odessa Young. The 20-year-old is explaining why her latest film, Sundance hit Assassination Nation — a sort of woke Mean Girls-cum-horror film-cum-allegory for the social media age — resonates with her and her peers.
Young women have been “set up for failure” by society’s double standards, she says. “The most typical example is the Madonna and the whore complex. Of, ‘Well, if I’m a virgin then I’m a prude, but if I feel myself, I’m badass, then I’m a slut and a whore.’ So that’s the simplest way of explaining it, there’s no way to win.”
From Freud to flat whites, no topic feels too big or too small for the bright and down-to-earth Young. When we meet, on a stormy day in New York at a basement coffee shop near Times Square, her demeanour is so unstarry that I almost miss her casually scrolling her phone at a nearby table.
Such anonymity, however, is unlikely to last long. In addition to Assassination Nation, she has recently made her professional theatre debut off-Broadway (or “Broadway-adjacent”, as she jokingly refers to it) in Days of Rage by Steven Levenson, the Tony Award-winning writer of Dear Evan Hansen. This year she is also in A Million Little Pieces, a film based on James Frey’s controversial book directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Oh, and she’s also just finished filming Shirley, starring Elisabeth Moss as horror writer Shirley Jackson, in Upstate New York.