Some background: #WLYG is a hashtag used by an online scouting account @WeLoveYourGenes – an Instagram account of modelling agency juggernaut IMG. The year was 2015 and Diana Silvers – the first of six children in a very musical family – was not seeking model representation but somehow swept across the Instagram feeds of scouters. She was contacted, signed and it changed her entire life forever. “It just goes to show the power of social media, because whoever that person was who tagged one of my random photos, look where my life has gone because of that. To that person I want to be like, ‘I love you; you’re my best friend’. It’s crazy,” Silvers told Refinery 29.
Fast-forward to 2019 and 21-year-old Silvers is the token mean girl in Booksmart; a coming-of-age, unassuming comedy from first-time director Olivia Wilde. Pegged as changing the teenage rom-com formula as we know it, Silvers plays the scene-stealing Hope, a “cool girl” who is romantically into Amy (Kaitlyn Dever). Likening her character to Timonthée Chalamet’s Kyle in Lady Bird, Silvers told ELLE “there’s something about [Hope] that you’re attracted to, but can’t explain it.”
“I was not like that in high school, Silvers continued. “No one was attracted to me, and everyone had a reason for it…. Being 1 of 6 made me a weirdo in school,” says the actress, who plays the cello. “We were like the von Trapps, and our house was like the Hunger Games. Anytime my mom would get a good sugary cereal, I’d hide a bag from my three older brothers, who’d eat everything.”
Silvers – who is currently enrolled at New York University but has taken a leave of absence while this whole acting thing takes off – is also the star Ma, a horror film starring Octavia Spencer and produced by the same company as Get Out. In this movie – in Australian cinemas on August 22 – Silvers plays Ohio teenager Maggie who asks Spencer’s character Sue Ann to buy her friends some alcohol. Sue Ann does and offers her basement as a safe place for the teens to drink. On one condition: They call her Ma. But when her hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, Maggie’s nightmare is realised.
Of working with Wilde on Booksmart, Silvers says: “She’s worked with some of the greatest directors, like [Martin] Scorsese in Vinyl, and she passed it all on to us. She’s like a mama bear, but also a magical, ethereal angel.”
Booksmart – endorsed by Taylor Swift – is in Australian cinemas on July 11.