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Victoria Pedretti Facts Fans Might Not Know

Since her 2018 debut as Nell on Mike Flanagan's "The Haunting of Hill House," Victoria Pedretti has become the new face of horror and thrillers. Whether haunting her family on "Hill House," fighting ghosts in Flanagan's "The Haunting of Bly Manor," or falling for a serial killer on "You," Pedretti has quickly proven herself to be a master of darkness and surprise.

Whatever the genre, her characters are never what they seem; they contain depths that aren't so obvious on the surface, while audiences and critics alike seem to be captivated by her ability to move between spaces of lightness and darkness. She brings subtlety and sensitivity to these roles, which helps her characters stand out in genres where you think you know what to expect.

While Pedretti has been making her mark in television, she's been appearing in some — you guessed it — dark movies as well. She was seen in "Shirley," starring Elisabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson (who, coincidentally, was the author of "The Haunting of Hill House"), and also popped up as a member of the Manson family in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," where she rode horses with Leonardo DiCaprio. Pedretti was recently announced as the star of "Lucky," a film based on the memoir by "The Lovely Bones" author Alice Sebold. It's clear that Pedretti will continue to surprise audiences with her complex characters, so here's the untold truth of this actress who's quickly become more than a scream queen.

She's a Philly girl

Pedretti was born in Philadelphia in 1995, where, as she says in an interview with V magazine, she grew up "demanding attention" by singing and dancing. She got more into acting as a teenager and was one of four students in the high school drama club, which she joined after not getting cast in the school musical. Luckily, Pedretti felt like there was something in the drama space for her, so she continued her studies by enrolling in the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon gave her some of the tools that have helped with her success, but Pedretti has talked about how being in the drama school also made her aware of how difficult it would be to support herself financially with acting. She told V magazine that she had "very much prepared myself for years with never having the opportunity to work in my field." This feeling perhaps wasn't helped when some of her acting teachers suggested that she wasn't cut out for acting and should try directing instead. Good thing Pedretti didn't follow that advice. 

She landed The Haunting of Hill House just as her money ran out

Although Pedretti may have been emotionally prepared to spend years trying to get an acting job, it didn't necessarily make the reality of that waiting any easier. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 2017, Pedretti moved to New York and tried to get work as an actor (more on some of those auditions below) but wasn't getting cast yet. As she told Cosmopolitan, Pedretti's post-college money had just run out and she was about to get a day job when she got the call for Mike Flanagan's "The Haunting of Hill House," a Netflix series based on Shirley Jackson's classic 1959 gothic horror novel. The role was for Nell, the youngest member of the Crain family, who struggles to disentangle herself from the horrors and traumas of Hill House that continuously haunt her from childhood through adulthood.

In an interview with Collider's "Ladies Night," Pedretti mentioned that although her role on "The Haunting of Hill House" didn't lead to a sudden outpouring of acting opportunities, showrunner Greg Berlanti decided to cast her on the second season of "You" after catching her on the limited series. Of course, Pedretti's turn in "Hill House" also opened the door for her to star as Dani Clayton in "The Haunting of Bly Manor." It's no wonder she's been dubbed one of the new scream queens.

She studied to play a California socialite in You

Pedretti has become known for her portrayal of Love Quinn, the object of Joe's obsession in Season 2 of "You." Love is a paradox, to say the least, as she proves to be far more than the idea that Joe projects onto her. She's a wealthy California socialite who has basically led a consequence-free life thanks to her family's money, which skews her perception of reality and love. In many ways, Love occupies a totally foreign space from Pedretti, who decided to move to Los Angeles to get into the head of this character.

Pedretti told Cosmopolitan about her experience of moving to the neighborhood of Silver Lake (a hub of hipsters and artists), where she studied socialites like Paris Hilton and dove headfirst into the LA life by casually using words like "yacht" and talking about astrology. In an interview with Variety, Pedretti discussed how it was important to capture Love's California roots as much as her class background, so she also read a lot of Joan Didion and embarked on a foodie tour of LA so she could connect more with Love's skills as a chef. For this Philly native, it was a challenge to understand how Love related to a place like LA, which felt so foreign to Pedretti. Luckily, she did her research to perfectly capture a character who was born and bred in California.

She's drawn to the darkness but still needs the light

If there's one consistency with Pedretti's characters, it's their combination of lightness and darkness (with a significant leaning towards darkness). Pedretti has said that even the things she finds funny are darker, and told InStyle that she's drawn to these more twisted roles. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Pedretti discussed how darker comedies "actually [reflect] the life we're living in and we can laugh and cry from this place of feeling understood and not feeling alone," adding that they reflect life more than sitcoms, which can be a space just for unattainable fantasy.

But filming such heavy stuff can take its toll emotionally, so Pedretti has sought to find lightness on set. She spoke with Oprah Daily about how she deals with difficult scenes, like ones in "You" that involve violence or in "The Haunting of Hill House," when she had to jump off a platform with a noose around her neck. After doing multiple takes of that latter scene, she had to "hug it out afterwards" and "make light of the situation. It's play. We're engaging in pretend." Finding the fun in things sounds like a good approach for these darker situations.

She loves Love (the character)

In a moment of life going full circle, Pedretti went out to audition for the role of Beck in the first season of "You." As she remembered it to Elle Magazine, it was one of her first callbacks and while she didn't get the role, she later watched that season online. Luckily, things worked out as this allowed Pedretti to get the role of Nell in "The Haunting of Hill House" and film that first season before she was eventually cast as Love in the second season of "You."  

Pedretti has been vocal about the fact that she "loves Love wholeheartedly," as stated to the New York Times, which she feels partly because she has to play this character and empathize with her. In an interview with Glamour, Pedretti described Love as "self-possessed, sexually empowered, free-thinking, and brave," and has often noted that Love is acting out of a sense of protectiveness. Granted, Love's protectiveness can get a bit skewed or extreme, but Pedretti makes it work and ring true in the context of "You."

She sees Nell and Love as opposites

By pure coincidence, Pedretti's first two major roles — Nell in "The Haunting of Hill House" and Love in "You" — are both young widows with fraternal twin brothers who are addicts. The similarities stop there though, as Pedretti told the New York Times that "it was really bizarre to be offered the opportunity to explore these similar experiences through a completely different mind." She goes on to discuss how they're both characters dealing with family trauma in very different ways and, particularly as "You" concludes its second season, it becomes clear just how different those ways are.

Both Nell and Love are highly sensitive people who are in tune with others, but the expression of their sensitivity exists on two ends of a spectrum. Nell struggles to move through the world while being hyper-aware of that which is both seen and unseen (or natural and supernatural) while Love's awareness of other people translates into an impulsive, uncontrollable and violent protection. Love will do anything for her family while Nell can't get out of the shadow of hers. Leave it to Pedretti to play each role so differently and yet so perfectly.

Pedretti has a newfound appreciation for horror

After working on "The Haunting" series, Pedretti developed a new appreciation for horror, which she didn't have before as it had long been labeled a genre that's "camp" and "provocative." In an interview with Flaunt Magazine, Pedretti notes how working with Mike Flanagan and the writers of "The Haunting" series turned horror into something that's "complex and has depth."

While "The Haunting of Hill House" focuses on the family and different ways that characters deal with ghosts (literal and not), "The Haunting of Bly Manor" combines horror with the unexpected genre of romance. The season follows the development of Pedretti's Dani Clayton, who starts working as a headmistress at the haunted Bly Manor. While dealing with ghosts and trying to protect her two young charges, Dani also falls for Jamie (Amelia Eve), and the two manage to build a relationship amidst all these ghastly frights. In an interview with Celebrity Nine, Pedretti calls her relationship in "Bly Manor" a "sweetening romance," where Dani and Jamie "tiptoe into each other's lives ... and slowly build trust and understanding." She notes that it's a "healthier relationship that we don't see represented in film and television very much" and certainly it's not one often seen in horror, which may explain Pedretti's new love of the genre.

She fights for women's rights

Pedretti has openly discussed how problematic the character of Joe is in "You," telling Glamour that "the idea that people actually want to be with the psychopath and the murderer is a joke" and adding that as soon as he sees Love as a human rather than an idea, he falls out of love with her. While Love isn't the most supportive of women — see her relationship with Candace (Amber Childers), for one — Pedretti isn't like that off screen. In the same interview, Pedretti notes that women are 50% of the population and yet remain an oppressed majority, which "has only been possible by us working against each other." Ultimately, she believes in sisterhood and that women need to support women to achieve equality.

While some of these issues are explored in "You," Pedretti embodies her belief in women's rights in her own life. Pedretti took part in the short film, "This Is Not A Love Letter," a pro-choice video poem written by Isabel Pask. Pedretti shared the video with Glamour UK in 2020, where she discussed the process of working with other women on Pask's film and her own views about abortion and women's rights. It's clear that the elevation of female voices is something she'll continue to do both in her personal and professional life.

She scared herself while filming The Haunting of Hill House

Even though Pedretti tried to have fun while doing the emotionally and physically grueling work on "The Haunting of Hill House," she also had to tap into something darker to properly scare the other actors. Pedretti spoke with Decider about her process: "It always has to come from somewhere. Like, the idea isn't to scare, ultimately, it's to try to say something, but it just comes out as 'Agh!'"

One of the more memorable scares in "The Haunting of Hill House" is in episode 8, when Nell's rotting body jumps out at her sisters, Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser) and Theo (Kate Siegel), as they're driving. Flanagan told EW that he secretly instructed Pedretti to jump out much earlier than her cue, so Reaser and Siegel's terrified reactions are genuine. Pedretti noted that her scream came out so loud that she actually scared herself, which gives new meaning to her title as a "scream queen."

Pedretti still gets starstruck

Pedretti has built up an impressive resume in just a few years, starring on TV shows like "The Haunting" series and "You" and appearing in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Pedretti plays things cool on screen but off screen, she can still get starstruck.

Pedretti told Flaunt Magazine that she was handed script pages for "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" by Tarantino's casting director, who knocked on her door at 6 a.m. to invite her to read for this mysterious project. Pedretti got the role of Charles Manson follower Lulu and attempted to play it cool when she met Tarantino for the first time, but "failed so miserably." Pedretti went on to have a bit of a surreal experience on "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" as she got to see something shot on actual film for the first time and ride a horse next to Leonardo DiCaprio. She also admitted to Cosmopolitan that she once walked into a wall in a restaurant when she got distracted by Jon Hamm sitting at another table. It all goes to show that stars really are just like us.

She was diagnosed with ADD when she was a kid

Pedretti has become a queer icon thanks to her role as Dani in "The Haunting of Bly Manor," but she's been explicit about wanting to avoid labels for both her characters and herself. She opened up to Glamour UK about her ADD, with which she was diagnosed when she was six. Pedretti was told that because of her ADD, it would be much harder for her to live a healthy lifestyle and she would be more likely to encounter a higher rate of incarceration, medical problems and difficulty with literacy.

Pedretti resisted these implications and said how damaging it was to be labeled that way at a young age because it allowed other people to make assumptions about her. Pedretti found people were quick to tell her about her own brain, particularly when she was in academia, but once she left school and started making a life for herself, she stopped seeing her condition as a deficit and instead now finds it empowering. Pedretti wants to be a voice in the ADD community to help folks with the condition get educated and find tools to live, rather than just be told who they are or get medicated.

She doesn't adhere to 'arbitrary authority'

One aspect that Pedretti shares with her characters is the refusal to play by the rules. In an interview with The Cut, Pedretti refers to these rules as "arbitrary authority," which her artist parents taught her to distrust at a young age. As Pedretti puts it, her parents taught her that "the system is not there to support us, for the most part, and that there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of people and their intentions." In the same interview, Pedretti notes her discomfort with benefiting from capitalism, which doesn't necessarily adhere to her values. But she adds that it's "out of my control" and all she can do is "try to create the world that I prefer to see." 

Pedretti's lessons from her parents can be seen in the way she discusses these systems of power or "arbitrary authorities." When asked about why Joe gets away with so much in "You," she told Glamour that "he's white. He's a man. He's visibly straight. He's able-bodied. He's benefiting from, historically, us as a culture ... in which we see our heroes looking like him and doing questionable things." It's clear that Pedretti's not interested in contributing to that type of power if she can help it.

She drew inspiration from Timothée Chalamet for Bly Manor

Pedretti's Dani Clayton, the protagonist of "The Haunting of Bly Manor," stands out as someone who's equal parts sensitive and strong, who finds the space to fall in love while trying to protect others from a terrifying haunting. At the start of the season, Dani is engaged to Edmund (Roby Attal), and the end of their engagement leads her to take the job at Bly Manor, where she meets the spunky, badass gardener, Jamie (Amelia Eve). Dani's story is less about her coming out than her coming into herself as a woman who defies many of the expectations for her, and this is what allows her to let herself love Jamie.

Pedretti spoke with NBC News about Dani's journey of self-discovery and noted that one influence on her performance was Timothée Chalamet's character, Elio, in Luca Guadagnino's "Call Me By Your Name." Pedretti says she was inspired by Elio's "kind of curiosity," which can be seen in Dani's own openness and willingness to explore that which she knows and especially that which she doesn't as she immerses herself in life at Bly Manor.

She now sees her sensitivity as a strength

Pedretti's characters seem to have shared qualities of sensitivity, even though they use that in different ways. In an interview with StyleLikeU, Pedretti talked about her own sensitivity, which she's learned to accept as a gift instead of a weakness. Pedretti relates an anecdote about going on a rollercoaster and freaking out the whole time until she and her friend got to the front of the line; after the ride, her friend told her that she was terrified too and Pedretti notes how she's always been someone who's let herself express what she was feeling, although others often weren't doing the same. As she puts it: "I feel a lot and sometimes it's horrible, but sometimes it's awesome and it feels good when I can accept it." 

Perhaps some of her work has helped with that acceptance, as she's carried her sensitivity and compassion into the characters of Nell, Dani, and even (or especially), Love. In an interview with the New York Times, Pedretti notes that the "acting muscle is the muscle of empathy," which perhaps explains why characters like Love are able to be embraced by audiences and resonate in spite of some of the terrible things she does.

She values her privacy

Although Pedretti will often open up in interviews, there are some subjects that she won't discuss, particularly those tied to her personal life (check out her interview with Cosmopolitan to see her response on that). This quest for privacy is one she discussed with InStyle, saying that she's not interested in "sharing herself" just because she's famous. Pedretti noted that she doesn't "like how people are trying to piece together a way of knowing me without knowing me as a person," which has happened as a result of her work on "You." Pedretti has gotten a different understanding of the world and how people operate as a result, and it probably doesn't help that the series heavily revolves around online stalking.

In another interview with Byrdie, she describes how staying off social media has been good for her mental health. We may not know what's going on in her life, but she certainly knows what's going on in the world outside, and perhaps that's a lesson for everyone.