Hilary Duff & Sutton Foster Tell Us What Really Happens On The Younger Set

Photo: Courtesy of TV Land.
When I first started watching TV Land's Younger last summer, it was because I needed a quick, light show to binge-watch. I didn't have high expectations for this story about Liza, a 40-something woman posing as a 20-something in order to make it in the publishing industry. To be honest, the New York City setting and costumes by Patricia Field immediately sounded like a cheap modern day attempt at a Sex and the City follow-up, the kind of show I needed to watch to turn my brain off. And yet, Younger has managed to capture both me and millions of other viewers with its quick writing, dry humor, and alluring on-screen chemistry — long enough to bring us to season 3, which premieres tonight. The first episode centers on a tried-and-true TV trope that the show's creators have somehow managed to make fresh: Liza is in a love triangle with her sexy older boss, Charles, who asks her to come to dinner. If she shows up, that means she's interested; if she doesn't, he'll act like their kiss at the end of last season never happened. Coincidentally, her young hot boyfriend Josh asks her to hang out that same night. What will Liza do?! I won't spoil the episode by giving you the answer here, but what I will give you: The awesome chat I had recently with the show's stars, Sutton Foster, who plays Liza, and Hilary Duff, the work-wife-BFF to Foster's Liza — who's still in the dark about Liza's real age. Here, the duo talks their real life work relationship, Younger's importance for women, and whether they're rooting for Josh or Charles. (I'm unabashedly #TeamJosh over here.)

Season 1 was all about Liza's big age secret, and I was surprised the show managed to keep that suspense going in season 2. How is this third, new season different?

Sutton Foster: "You know, the first season, we didn’t know what we had. Then I feel like the second season, we had a little more confidence. This season, we’ve hit a groove. The writing is more confident, and they’ve created these great relationships between all the characters, so there’s more at stake. Now there’s this undercurrent like, ‘There’s impending doom!' Oh yea, and there’s a lot more sex. Everyone’s having sex this season." Younger was definitely a sleeper hit. What do you think it was about this show that made viewers fall in love?
Hilary Duff:
"Relatability. I think a lot of the characters are just very relatable because, regardless of everything going on, we all have fun. Then there’s obviously the fashion element. It's kind of like a fantasy for people, but not so untouchable that it can't be real."

“It definitely has like elements of soap opera at times, you know? But I do feel like it’s rooted in a sense where the relationships are real and authentic. There are the lies, of course, but the essence of everything is real friendships." HD: “Girl power! Like girls empowering each other; the women on this show have each other’s backs. And not in like a sugary way, but in a very real way.” That leads to my next question. Obviously Younger is a lighthearted comedy, but in a time where Hollywood is fighting for more multilayered portrayals of women on the small and big screens, do you guys feel that Younger is important?
SF: “Definitely. I love being able to be in a show where it is about powerful, strong working women with many scenes that pass the Bechdel test, where there are often lots of women sitting around not talking about guys. But at the same time, yes there are romantic relationships in the show — we've got two guys in our cast, and they are not bad looking — but this is primarily a show about women being in the workplace and making names for themselves.” HD: “We also shoot on the same stage as Girls, so it’s nice when you think about it. There's a lot of female energy around, and women that are kind of taking charge of the TV world, you know?”
Photo: Courtesy of TV Land.
On screen you two play best friends; what's your relationship like in real life?
SF: “It's something we've never even really talked about. I don’t even want to talk about it! We've got that elusive thing called chemistry and I think that's why our on-screen relationship works so well." HD: “We have a big respect for one other and we kind of know what the other one needs at the time. Like if one person walks in in a huff, we’re just like ‘What do you need, what can we do?' But we don’t really hang out too much outside of work because when we are working, we are together all day, 'till 3 in the morning. So when we're not filming we're like, ‘See ya, bye!’" SF: “But then we’ll have group texts in our phone where you like check in with each other on hiatus.”

What would viewers be surprised to know about what goes on behind the scenes of the show?
HD: “Sutton crochets, and I knit.” SF: “In my dressing room, it's like a yarn explosion right now because I’m trying to finish this blanket that I started on season 2. It might take until season 4, but I try to always have some other project going on because we do spend a lot of time there." HD: “We also love to talk about food, Sutton and I both cook. And we break out into song and dance a lot and get songs stuck in each other's heads!"

It's like a fantasy for people, but not so untouchable that it can't be real.

Hilary Duff

So since this is a show about pretending to be younger, I have to ask: What's the one piece of advice you would each give to your younger selves, 10 years ago?
HD: “I would say don’t put so much pressure on yourself to have it all figured out right now. I had a little bit of a different upbringing. I worked so much and I was so stressed that I felt like I had to have it all together and all figured out, but I had so much time for that, and still have so much time for that! I would also say be bold. Because your 20s is your time to be bold and set that tone for your life, you know?”

“I think I would tell myself that you don’t have to make things harder than they are. I struggled a lot with anxiety in my life, I still do, but in my 30s I would make things even harder than they already were. You don’t have to like, add stuff on top of it to make it even more stressful. So I would also probably tell myself to start meditating. Just to calm down a little bit!”

I think all of us could benefit from calming down just a little bit, right? So I'm sorry, but I can't resist. My last question for you guys is: Are you #TeamJosh, or #TeamCharles?
SF: “That’s impossible. I can’t choose because I’m team both!”

“I have a choice and not everyone on the show is very keen about it! I love Peter [Hermann, who plays Charles] more than anything in life, but I’m kind of team Josh. I just feel like Liza is living this new bold life and she probably has a lot of things buried that he brings out in her that are really fun. But he loves her, too! He’s a good guy, even though he’s young. Charles is more like 'We're going to go to like, fancy dinners and balls.'” SF: “I know! But that’s good too. Why can’t Liza have both?” HD: “She can’t! That's not the way life works. If she tried to have both, she'd be lying to herself. I think she has a big enough lie on her hands already!” Season 3 of Younger premieres September 28 on TV Land at 10 p.m. EST.

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