Nathanya Alexander on How ‘Genera+ion’ Speaks to Gen Z

The NOC is celebrating Pride month as loud as we can, and as part of that celebration, I got to sit down (virtually of course) with Nathanya Alexander, one of the stars of Genera+ion! Nathanya plays Arianna, the bold and perhaps a little too honest member of the gang. 

Naomi asks Delilah and Arianna to meet after school; They notice something. (Warrick Page/HBO)

Created by Zelda and Daniel Barnz, Genera+ion follows a group of LGBTQ+ teens navigating the most influential time of their lives. The series is currently getting its due recognition thanks to HBO Max’s “Shine On” spotlight event, which gives viewers a large library of LGBTQ+ stories to choose from for their viewing enjoyment! 

Keep reading below for the exchange between Nathanya and me about Arianna, the first half of the season, and what we can expect when it returns.

NOC: So the first part of season 1 finally resolved the baby subplot! Can you tell us a little about filming that whole sequence and what it was like for you?

ALEXANDER: It was great filming it, especially with Chloe (Naomi) and Lukita (Delilah). Those baby sequences really connected us because we had to sort of be there for each other through it all. There were hilarious moments, like the scene where I slip, but it was also really serious and it really brought us together as a cast.

Arianna runs through the mall with the kiddie pool. (Warrick Page/HBO)

Arianna absolutely stole the show when we first introduced to her, but we didn’t get much about her backstory until this last episode. Can curious viewers expect to learn more about Arianna going into the second half of the season?

Absolutely! We definitely get to take a deeper look at Arianna’s life during part 2. We get to see a more vulnerable side of her as well.

So, *that* moment between Arianna, Nathan and Chester isn’t really a secret anymore! What’s Arianna going to do following the kids reveal?

[laughs] Well, that would be a spoiler. So you’re gonna have to wait and see!

So Genera+ion is a show that really honestly captures that millennial-Gen Z lifestyle and the ups and downs of high school. What’s an aspect of the show that really spoke to you while filming?

Well I think our show is told completely through the lens of Gen Z, so [Zelda Barnz] wanted to tell a story that reflected the teenagers and experiences in her life. Plus we have a predominately LGBTQ+ writers room, which is also great because it allows us to have an authentic and judgement free portrayal of adolescence. Our writers are always drawing from their own experiences growing up, and that’s something everyone in the cast is able to connect with. Everyone’s always saying how they have a Chester in their life or an Arianna or a Nathan, so all of the characters I think are easy to connect with honestly.

Oh absolutely. Every time I watch the show, I think about texting my sister and telling her how much Arianna reminds me of her sometimes *laughs*

[laughs] It’s funny because when I got the role I was shocked because she and I are like two different people. But it was cool to really be able to get into her mind because she is a high schooler with like, zero filter. But at the same time, her life is really complex. I really wanted to humanize her and so I spent a lot of time journaling and just trying to connect with her.

If you had to choose, which character would you see yourself getting along with the most?

Absolutely Chester! He is such a vibe. The outfits and how he speaks his mind and how he’s just unapologetically him. We would definitely be besties! 

The gang turn over the baby to the fireman. (Warrick Page/HBO)

What’s your favorite show to watch right now? Besides Genera+ion, of course.

Right now I’m watching The Bachelorette. I’m obsessed with reality TV, so it’s one of my guilty pleasures [laughs]. I’ve also been watching In Treatment on HBO Max and it’s so amazing and inspiring.

Can you tell us any funny or interesting stories from working on set? 

Oh man so many [laughs]. The cast is amazing and we got along so well immediately! We worked on the show for many months during a pandemic too, so we kind of became a family. We have this running joke of like Chloe eating all the prop food on set, and we’re always breaking into like dance and song numbers. Lukita sings all the time on set and we always catch her breaking out into song! 

So Arianna is a bit of an eccentric character to say the least. But like everybody, there are obviously layers to who she is. What’s a layer you hope gets explored in a future storyline? Similarly, is there anything you hope people take away from Arianna’s experience in the show?

I think that she is a very complex character. Even though she comes across like she has it all together, she doesn’t, and I think that’s something everyone can connect with. We don’t have to be perfect as human beings. We all have faults and layers. It’s okay to not be perfect and to be vulnerable.

Finally, is there any moment in the upcoming second half of the season that you can’t wait for people to see?

Part 2 is going to be a heartbreaker [laughs]. It’s messy and dramatic and just for that I’m so excited for people to see what goes down!

Watch Arianna stir up drama every week alongside the Genera+ion gang when the show returns to HBO Max on June 17!