Category: White Lotus

Los Angeles Times

Yes, Haley Lu Richardson loves that ‘White Lotus’ bucket hat too

After the first few minutes of the second installment of “The White Lotus,” one thing is crystal clear to the HBO series’ many viewers: By the end of the season, someone significant was going to die. Haley Lu Richardson, who plays Portia, the 24-year-old assistant to Jennifer Coolidge’s mega-wealthy Tanya, says she read through each script, braced for the worst, though not really dreading it.

“I wouldn’t have minded because shooting a character’s arc to their demise is kind of fun,” Richardson says. “But it would be sad, because she’s one of the characters where there’s something redeemable about [her], even though there’s these kind of annoying or frustrating things about her. She’s young and she’s trying, and you feel like maybe she’s on the brink of breaking through or something humbling her, whereas a lot of the characters on the show are just so awful, and they’re just going to be like that forever.”

Richardson’s take on Portia was initially limited to what she could glean from scripts for the first two episodes and the vague character description she received when she auditioned for the show. Richardson admits she was actually “bummed” to think that Portia might be the only good and likable character in the season. But the not-so-positive aspects of her “started coming out in the other episodes that just made her less likable, more complex, selfish, stuck, depressed.”

Over its two seasons, “The White Lotus,” created by Mike White, has balanced social commentary with comedy and a dash of deadly surprise. While the fate of Tanya on a boat full of seemingly friendly gay men was arguably the tensest moment of the season, a scene where Portia confronts vacation flame Jack (Leo Woodall), whom Tanya has witnessed having sex with the man Jack claims is his uncle, was a close second.

“So you f— your uncle,” Portia says bluntly before viewers begin to wonder whether her life is in danger as well. “I was proud of Portia at that moment,” Richardson says. “She was trying to save the day.”

Once the season began running, Richardson was inundated with links to memes, videos of friends dancing to the theme song and images of people wearing bucket hats. Sigh, that bucket hat. One of Richardson’s own contributions that, for better or worse, came to define Portia in the cultural zeitgeist.

“Here’s the thing. I made that hat. I crochet,” Richardson says. “I have a crochet side hustle, and I crocheted that hat and I really pushed for it to be Portia’s little vacation hat. And so, you all can thank me for that one.”

Conceived by costume designer Alex Bovaird, Portia’s wardrobe was a blend of thrift store and Instagram and TikTok trends that didn’t always seem to mesh well. It also became something of a poster child for Gen Z fashion. Richardson, who is slightly older than Portia and considers herself maybe 80% Gen Z and 20% millennial, wasn’t expecting to be at the center of a nationwide discourse regarding her character’s outfits. Vogue even asked its readers, “The White Lotus: Are Portia’s Outfits Good or Bad?”

“I wasn’t thinking I need to represent this stereotype of Gen Z,” Richardson says. “But I was definitely thinking of myself, things I felt, what’s on the page, younger people that I know, just empathizing and imagining and pulling from what it’s like growing up, being in your young 20s in 2022. It’s a weird world. She’s definitely a child of that.”

What Richardson took away the most from her experience as part of the HBO phenomenon was the chance to finally work with White. A longtime fan, she’d written White a letter years before the first season of “White Lotus,” hoping to find a way to collaborate with him. Her patience was worth the wait.

“He’s goofy, but in this internal way. He’s very observant, which is why he is such a great writer,” Richardson says. “He cares a lot about what he works on in this show. On the day we wrapped, we had Champagne and cake, and he cried giving a speech to the whole crew saying just how much it means to him. And I felt that the whole way through. He came up with this, wrote all the episodes, directs every episode. You just feel the care and the passion from him.”


Gold Derby Interview

Haley Lu Richardson (‘The White Lotus’) on creator Mike White: ‘I wrote him a love letter, trying to get his attention.’ In the Sicily-set installment, she plays Portia, the assistant to Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) who’s told to “get lost” by Tanya’s husband. Gold Derby editors Rob Licuria and Marcus Dixon host this webchat.

Haley Lu Richardson Just Wants to Dance

Haley Lu Richardson, best known for playing Gen-Z poster child Portia on “The White Lotus” Season 2, has been angling to dance in a musical for at least 12 years. “I’ve been putting this out into the universe since I was 16. That’s my biggest dream, for sure,” Richardson tells us. (She’s currently “talking to people about it.” There are “ideas circulating.”)

That desire isn’t just a throwback to Richardson’s days as a dancer before she transitioned to acting—it’s an extension of how she still approaches performing. “The thing I love about acting the most is the thing I love about dancing the most. It’s this thing that comes from your soul; it’s just such a vulnerable, abandoned thing,” she says. “The first time I really felt like I was acting was actually through dance. Now when I think about: What is my [acting] process? It is such an internal thing. It’s in my body; it’s listening to music.”

On this episode of In the Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast, Richardson discusses what she’s discovered about her acting process, gets candid about viewer reactions to her “White Lotus” character, and reveals which iconic script she passed on.

Even after her many successes, Richardson still struggles with insecurity.

“When people say, ‘Don’t take [rejection] personally,’ that only goes so far. Because, truly, acting is [personal]. It’s your body, it’s your emotions, it’s your voice, it’s your ability, it’s your energy. It’s all of these things. This is something that I’ve gotten over or found peace a little bit more with auditioning. Or even if I just don’t get a job or if it goes to someone else, this is something I found more peace with at this point in my life. So it does get better!

But I feel like the energy of taking it [personally]…has shifted into the work that I do, and the struggles that I experience on set, whether it’s with people I’m trying to collaborate with or just being hard on myself. It’s this thing of: How do I show up to the work that I do when the whole point of the work that I do is being vulnerable, and being ready to give and play with my emotions disguised as this other person’s emotions? How do I show up to that work without—if there’s another external problem on set—letting it just destroy me, because I’m in this extremely vulnerable, exposed emotional space? So that taking it [personally] idea has shape-shifted throughout my career. But it is something that I’m still trying to figure out—how to protect myself while also doing the thing that is needed for me to act.”

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The White Lotus – 2.07 “Arrivederci ” HD Screencaptures

Albie decides to help Lucia. Tanya discovers Quentin’s true motives. Portia gets wary of Jack. Ethan and Cam have a face-off. Valentina gives Mia a chance.

The Late Late Show with James Corden

The White Lotus – 2.06 “Abductions” HD Screencaptures

Ethan grows suspicious of Cam. Tanya gives Portia an opaque warning about Jack. Lucia helps the Di Grassos search for long-lost relatives.

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