IOL EXCLUSIVE: We chat to ‘Stranger Things’ actress Natalia Dyer

Dressed in a white polar neck and black jacket, ‘Stranger Things’ actor Natalia Dyer (22) oozes movie star appeal, but it’s not the kind that shouts “look at me, I’m important”. Quite the contrary. Looking fresh-faced and demure, she greets me with a warm handshake. 

I’ve been invited to Paris as part of Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ press junket as season 3 premiers; just my luck that I’m the last person lined up to interview her today. But her smile is genuine and reaches her eyes and beyond. 

I only have 10 minutes, and am hoping to get a glimpse into Dyer’s life and what drove her to take on the role of Nancy Wheeler, one of the main characters in the sci-fi series.

nancy 3 - IOL EXCLUSIVE: We chat to 'Stranger Things' actress Natalia Dyer
Nancy’s relationship with Jonathan takes on a complicated role in season 3.

When you were cast as Nancy Wheeler a few years ago, did it ever occur to you that ‘Stranger Things’ would go onto to be the cult success that it is?

No, I think it was just really exciting just because it was a very cool project. Reading the script – that was exciting. It was a Netflix production at the time, and Netflix had some good shows. So those things were really exciting. We made it and we were proud of it. But you just never know what people are going to think about the things you make. So it was a bit of a surprise.

nancy main - IOL EXCLUSIVE: We chat to 'Stranger Things' actress Natalia Dyer
Actress Natalia Dyer has played the role of Nancy Wheeler with much gusto.

Nancy, in the first season, starts out as the girl next door, but we’ve seen her proven that is far from the case, given how she is comfortable with the gun, and with not shying away from a fight. Do you think it’s exciting playing a female character that’s both vulnerable and tough?

Yes! I think that is the beauty of women, in general, is having that vulnerability and well as inherent strength. I think it is for many women, and myself, something to find that strength that comes in lots of different ways. I don’t think that it’s something that society just hands to you. I think you have to find it and fight for it. Of course, there are many iterations of that but Nancy is just one version of that kind of character. I’m really happy with what we and the Duffer Brothers have done with this character.

What is next for Nancy?

I know they (Duffer Brothers) are going to do a great job. But the one thing that I’ve been saying for a while is that I just can’t see Nancy going to college, not that there’s anything wrong with college. I just think she’s had so much life experience in a very particular way that I really can’t see her thinking that’s the next step.

nancy 2 - IOL EXCLUSIVE: We chat to 'Stranger Things' actress Natalia Dyer
Dyer at the world premier of ‘Stranger Things 3’ in Paris.

I think the detective mindset is very natural for her, and she’s a truth seeker. But I would also like to see her connect with some of the other characters. For a while, she’s been with Jonathan and a lot of their story has been intertwined, and that’s a great relationship to explore. But I do want to see what happens when you put her with Mike or Max or her mom for a while. Or what’s it like with her and Steve now?

If you could give your character one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never get a perm again!

‘Stranger Things 3′ is currently streaming on Netflix

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