UnREAL's Breeda Wool on Christianity, Reality Television, and Lesbian Fans

Breeda Wool

In case you're not familiar, the ladies love Breeda Wool. She quickly became a fan favorite on UnREAL, a Lifetime series about the making of a reality dating show a la The Bachelor. After a few episodes, Wool’s southern Christian girl next door character, Faith, was revealed as a lesbian.

Now Lifetime has treated us to a web series about Faith and her journey from Mississippi to Los Angeles. The Faith Diaries continutes her story as she embraces a life without fear. With hilarious mishaps, the heartwarming 10-episode series gives Faith the happy ending she deserves.

For Wool, playing a lesbian is nothing new. In 2010, she starred in AWOL, a short film in which Wool’s character finds herself the object of a young woman’s affection as she comes of age. Recently, Wool starred in a feature-length adaptation of AWOL with Lola Kirke, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

We recently spoke with Wool about Mississippi lesbians, Christianity, and starting an LGBT dialogue:

Out: UnREAL is a pretty popular show. What has the response been like for you?

Breeda Wool: It’s been really fun. It’s the first time in my career I’ve had people come up to me on the street, and I think they’re so loving and happy to see me which I think is a great testament to that particular role. I always worry about that day when I’ll play a horrible murderous villain, and people on the street will have a little different reaction to me. (Laughs).

How did you research for your character on UnREAL?

When I was up in Vancouver, we found a whole bunch of YouTube videos. I did a lot of my own research. There’s a really cool documentary called L Word Mississippi. It’s not a lot of fun stories. It was a lot of people having to go against the grain of basically every fiber of their community. I think in my personal life – my parents were academics, I lived in New York City, I lived in LA – I think that LGBT issues were very different for me.

UnREAL

Freddie Stroma as Adam Cromwell and Breeda Wool as Faith in UnREAL (Photo Courtesy of Lifetime)

After playing a lesbian character from Mississippi, what was it like seeing the news about the recent religious freedom bill passed there?

I don’t know. I just did this movie, AWOL at Tribeca, and there’s this topic in that film about access to dialogue. And something that I learned from L Word Mississippi, there’s this idea that if you’re going to talk about LGBT issues, you have to have this rhetoric and this dialogue and this education. And I feel like this legislation being passed in places like Mississippi, there is a deficiency of dialogue. Conversations and people getting out there and the support from the entertainment business hopefully will have some reverberation. Maybe people in Mississippi will watch UnREAL, and that’s all I can do is to tell stories so that people become exposed. Because I feel like exposure is a way to create change.

I loved the way your character found an accepting community in The Faith Diaries. What is it like being able to tell a story that shows inclusion in both sexuality and religion?

I think a large part of the south, not just in Mississippi, is very influenced by people’s Christian beliefs. And to be able to tell a story about one person’s relationship to God and their relationship to love and discovering that those two things are not at odds, that love is something beautiful in the eyes of God and not something that is condemned in your heart, is a revelation. And that’s what The Faith Diaries is about. It’s a story about the love someone has for God and the love they have for a human being and how those things are not at odds.

Faith is a naïve young woman coming into her own. Was it fun playing a character like that?

Yea, I think that a fish-out-of-water story is always a great story. I definitely in my personal life feel like a fish out of water a lot. I probably deal with it a little differently. It’s interesting that the concept of naivety is the idea that any circumstance can be hopeful. So I feel like in the circumstance of my story as Faith, my naivety lends itself to a much better outcome, that I remain hopeful. In the moment where Amy cheats on me, there’s a little bit of a fall from grace there, certainly. But there are themes of forgiveness and this idea that no matter what happens, you’re gonna come back to center and come back to God and hopefully forgive and love.

awol

Breeda Wool as Rayna, Bill Sage as Roy, and Sadie Butler as Sadie in AWOL (Photo by Gal Deren)

You played a lesbian in UnREAL, AWOL, and now The Faith Diaries. Have you gotten a lot of feedback from a lesbian fan base?

Yea, man! That’s like my home base right now. My career has been a lot of lesbian roles, but it’s also been working with a lot of women, a lot of lesbian women, who are either former lesbians or have a more fluid sexuality, and women who have gone out and kind of forged their own creative life, their own sexual lives. So that’s sort of the crowd that I’ve professionally been running in which is a super badass radical point of view that I’m really glad I’m a part of.

You recently starred in AWOL which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and you were also in the short-film version which it was based on. What was it like being a part of that project from the beginning and seeing it all come together?

Making indie movies is definitely an uphill climb for sure. AWOL was produced by women, the short was shot by women, directed, written by women. There was a very collaborative hard push of (the producers) who did an extraordinary job of getting that movie made.  The relief of showing it at Tribeca was extraordinary, to have that positive feedback and to feel like we made this really cool movie about love in this economically depressed place where people have very little opportunity. The character of Joey played by Lola Kirke is also very similar to Faith in that these aren’t people coming from places where there’s a dialogue about being gay. There isn’t a language and a community to discuss. There isn’t a path that’s carved out for them. So the stories are gay stories but that’s only one part of the story. It’s more about someone who’s carving out their own path and being a pioneer in their community which are stories that people love. They’re fundamental underdog stories.

UnREAL is about a Bachelor style show called Everlasting. Do you have any guilty pleasure reality shows like that?

I always tell people that the one dating reality show that I used to watch was Flavor of Love. But I also watch some Project Runway, which is incredible. I’ve been watching a lot of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay. I love that dude. He’s such a weirdo.

Watch the first episode of The Faith Diaries below:

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