Shannon Purser has made a name for herself playing teenage characters who are defiantly themselves. But the actor, who you probably know better as Barb from Stranger Things, tells Jezebel this wasn’t always the case for her when she was younger.

“[I changed] the way that I dressed and acted to get a guy to like me. He was kind of punk rock and cool and in a band,” she says. “I really wanted him to think I was as cool as he was, so I went out and bought Converse and tried to, like, wear black around him.”

Purser says that she hopes her latest role, the title character in Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, released in August, captures that familiar adolescent desire to belong.

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“I wanted to show that fear, you know? That need and that longing to be loved and accepted. Sometimes that fear drives people to make mistakes, but… hopefully grow from them.”

Watch the video above to hear more of her thoughts on the movie, who her favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race queen is, and what she thinks about the patriarchy (spoiler: she hates it!).

Senior Producer: Jennifer Perry, Associate Producer/Editor: Kayra Clouden