Sweet Vicious: The Show Creating A Dialogue Around Sexual Assault

26 Jan 2017

14-year-old Madyson Arscott interviews Taylor Dearden about her role on MTV’s Sweet Vicious

As a teenage girl living in the digital age, it is important to me that I see diversity and broad representation in the media I consume. In my last blog for DtL I talked about why representation in the media is vital to kids of my generation, and in this blog I am going to give an example of one such show that in my opinion, has got it so right.

Sweet Vicious, MTV’S “new show about college-aged vigilantes serving up justice” has broken with convention, ditched traditional and archaic gender stereotypes and is creating a dialogue around an incredibly important issue that society tends to overlook: sexual assault.

The show is centred around two empowered female leads who are taking the issue of sexual assault without justice on their college campus into their own hands. Jules, played by Eliza Bennet, is a sorority member and a survivor herself, who was leading a solo vigilante life until the green haired, computer-hacking Ophelia (Played by Taylor Dearden) happens across her.

I had the privilege of asking Taylor Dearden a few questions about the show and her role in it:

Madyson: What’s it been like channeling your inner vigilante?

Taylor: Ridiculous amounts of fun, bruising and sweat. Lol. I’m very athletic but theatre made me very sedentary so it was amazing feeling like myself again and failing miserably in training.

“Media tends to exploit rape and use it for shock value”

 

Madyson: What were some challenges that came with developing your character? Do you have anything in common with her?

Taylor: Layering is probably the hardest thing about acting. I tried to make Ophelia multi-dimensional, whilst still keeping it all a mystery because she would NEVER show her emotions. So that was fun/difficult. I definitely relate to that, I mean I’m an actor! We hide and present different things to different people all the time!

 

Madyson: Do you think Ophelia has found a sense of belonging in her friendship with Jules? Does she feel like she’s finally a part of something?

Taylor: Absolutely. This is the first time that she feels free in a sense. Harris is her ride or die, but she doesn’t want to burden anyone with her troubles so even he has no idea. Ophelia knows about Jules’ trauma and because of that knowledge she feels safe with her.

“It’s a brutal and violent crime that too many people think of as sex, and so education is paramount in combating it”

 

Madyson: What initiatives do you think young women/men should take to combat sexual assault?

Taylor: Speaking up is key. Not letting this awful thing be a solitary burden. It’s impossibly hard to ask for help but there are so many people out there who are ready and willing to share some of that weight. It’s a brutal and violent crime that too many people think of as sex, and so education is paramount in combating it.

Madyson:  Sweet Vicious is taking on new themes/ideas that the TV world has never seen before, what does it feel like to be a part of a show that has such an amazing message?

Taylor: It’s truly a blessing! Media tends to exploit rape and use it for shock value. To be a part of a revolution against that is everything. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is a mad genius, and perfectly depicts what needs to be depicted. She created a fantasy world of revenge for survivors to cathartically watch whilst educating the masses – and all the while being entertaining as hell?! What more could a person ask for?!

 

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