[O]n a weekly basis, Billie Lourd evades murderers for a living. Fictional, of course, but even so you may expect this actress’ fears to be in the realm of masked maniacs, axe-wielding psychopaths or even really sharp knives. But when asked what scares her, Billie’s answer is a much more pragmatic one. “Parking lots,” she deadpans over the phone in LA. “I don’t trust them; how do they hold all those cars up? And I’m the same with really tall hotels – don’t trust them at all.”
Billie’s droll sense of humour is one of the first things that strikes you about her, though given her acting dynasty family tree, it is, she says, one of the last things that people expect. Born in the early 90s to Hollywood agent heavyweight Bryan Lourd and actress Carrie Fisher (yes, the original Princess Leia) – herself the daughter of 50s screen legend Debbie Reynolds – the 24-year-old actress has been dodging misconceptions for most of her life. “People meet me and are surprised when I’m normal and I’m like, ‘yes it’s true I actually am a real human, separate from my parents, shocker,’” she says, with a laugh. “I don’t know what they expect to get!”
But she needn’t worry. This aforementioned sardonic wit is what’s helping Billie carve out a career without any leg-ups from her relatives. Following a chance meeting with television auteur Ryan Murphy at a party (“he maybe had too much wine, I told really inappropriate stories, he laughed”) she was cast in Murphy’s genre-bending Scream Queens, a slasher-comedy series that’s part Scream, part Clueless and completely addictive.
In its debut season, in which a murderer disguised as a red devil stalks a college campus, the series – which stars original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as the university dean – became one of social media’s most hyped shows, with Fox announcing that it was the network’s number one new show for the 18-34 age bracket. Billie plays Chanel No. 3, an emotionless bisexual sorority girl whose biological father is Charles Manson. Even her costume, which every week featured a different pair of fluffy earmuffs (Chanel No.3 has a fear of having her ears chopped off) spawned dozens of memes. And with season two on the horizon, it looks like Billie’s just getting started.