Genevieve Buechner on “UnREAL” and her experience as a bisexual actress

You may know actress Genevieve Buechner for her recurring role in the first two seasons of Lifetime’s critically acclaimed series “UnREAL” which released its third season in February. Buechner plays the role of Madison in the show, and while her character is not a member of the lesbian and bisexual community, Buechner herself is.

I recently spoke with the emerging young star to discuss her experience as a bisexual actor, the stigma surrounding bisexuality and what she hopes writers consider when creating minority roles.

photo by Matthew Burditt I know that that there is a stigma around lesbianism, but do you feel there is also a stigma around bisexuality in the acting world?

Genevieve Buechner: I feel like there is a stigma around it everywhere. I still have people who think I’m not being truthful when I say I’m queer, which I’ve always found very odd. Why would I lie about something that makes me a part of a community that is fighting to be accepted? I think I just don’t fit the mold of what they expect a queer woman to be. Most of the people I work with on sets are very supportive. There are so many people who work in the industry who are a part of the LGBTQ+ as well.

AE: At AfterEllen we often lament the lack of lesbian TV characters. Have you noticed there are more or fewer roles these days for female bisexual characters?

GB: I feel like I’ve had way more auditions and read more scripts recently that include characters from the LGBTQ+ community, which is wonderful, but I also feel we are still under or misrepresented the majority of the time. I’m looking forward to the days when a character can just be who they are in terms of their sexuality without having that being the sole focus of their story. My sexuality isn’t the only interesting thing about me. Everyone I know has bigger stories than who they are attracted to, and I’m hoping to see more roles where that is reflected. In no way does this mean I never want to see a movie or a story about the struggles, I’d just like it if it were also more normalized.

photo by Matthew Burditt

AE: Has being bisexual informed your acting in some way?

GB: I suppose in a way it has because it is a part of who I am. There is a part of me in all the work I do. When I’ve been cast as a queer girl it has helped for sure! I don’t feel awkward having a female love interest. I have, unfortunately, absolutely seen people struggle with portraying someone with a different sexuality than their own. Which I have always found baffling. If you can pretend to be a completely different person, why draw the line at who they are attracted to?

AE: Do you think writers handle female bisexual characters in a way that is truly representative?

GB: I think that entirely depends on the writer. Some writers have nailed it with well-rounded characters who have arcs and motives that do represent how it can feel to be bi. Personally, if I ever write a script and there is a character that is a minority in some way, I would ask someone for pointers. If it’s not something I have experienced myself, I would ask for advice from someone who has. I’d so much rather have an accurate representation and ask for help, than to try to do it without an understanding and just going with my own assumptions.

photo by Matthew Burditt

AE: Do you have advice for young women who are just discovering their sexuality and in particular for women who feel attracted to both sexes?

GB: There are so many variables, everyone’s situation is totally different! I suppose the most important thing to remember in my opinion is that you don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You don’t have to come out to everybody. If you feel most safe and comfortable keeping it to yourself in a healthy way, that’s fine. If I tell someone I’m queer, it’s because I’ve chosen to share that with them, not because they deserve to know. Nobody deserves to know, unless I’ve decided they do. I think that’s really important to remember. Also, ISN’T IT GREAT? SO MANY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE!

AE: Are you currently filming anything? 

GB: I’m not filming anything right now, but we have already finished filming season four of UnReal, so that is something to look forward to! We actually filmed season three and four in the same year. Stay tuned for the air date! Cross my fingers I’ll be back on set soon! It’s my favourite place to be. (Second favourite is cozy in bed with a book.)

AE: Aside from Madison on UnReal, What is your dream role?

GB: I would love to work on more sci-fi and fantasy or do a period piece. I haven’t done sci-fi in quite a while and I’ve always found it super fun. I’ve never done a fantasy or period piece, and I’d love to try it. The wardrobe and whole vibe seems like it would be a blast. It always looks so beautiful. I’m just a huge nerd… I grew up watching/reading sci-fi and fantasy so it’s close to my heart. It always will be. One day I’ll check fantasy and period piece off my bucket list!

All three seasons of “UnReal” are streaming on HULU.