The third season of critically-acclaimed anthology series The Girlfriend Experience is officially underway, with British fans able to watch on streaming service Starzplay.

To celebrate the release, we caught up with this season's lead star Julia Goldani Telles, to chat all about what we should expect from this year’s story, as well as the wider narrative of female equality not only in the entertainment industry, but across the world.

Can you please talk to us a little bit about this new season of The Girlfriend Experience and in particular Iris, the character that you play?

This new season of The Girlfriend Experience is about the intersection between human desire and technology.

Iris is a neuroscience student at Harvard who decides to leave her life behind and move to London to work for a startup.

Then she also gets involved in the transactional world of ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ and she realises the two worlds have more in common and can help her in more ways than she even imagined.

Iris and her sister have an extremely close relationship. Can you tell us a little bit about their bond and how the pair are trying to look after their father?

I think that they are really different people and so they complement each other in various ways. I think what’s so beautiful about their relationship is that there’s not a lot of judgement and, Iris feels very, very safe with her sister, but she’s also a very private person and I think it’s very indicative that even with her closest relationship, that I think is with her sister, that she doesn’t really reveal much about herself.

After watching the first episode of the season I would describe Iris as a master of reading human emotion. Do you think that’s a fair analysis?

Yeah, I think she’s pretty good! I don’t know that she’s a master, but she’s definitely trying to achieve something that’s pretty unprecedented in merging the two worlds so, she gets better and better throughout the show.

With TV we can often see stories get convoluted as they are told over numerous seasons, so was The Girlfriend Experience being an anthology series part of the attraction in getting involved with this project?

Yeah, I was such a big fan of the show and I think that an anthology is always exciting - to have different characters exploring a different concept - so yeah of course!

You filmed the series in the midst of the pandemic in London; can you talk to us a little bit about that experience and how different it was being on set during these strange times?

Yeah, I was so grateful to be in a safe environment in the middle of this horrible pandemic. It felt… I think we were all just more conscious of each other’s health and we took it seriously when people said they had headaches, we gave people breaks; I think it really increased the humanity of what it’s normally like being on a set.

I can’t imagine a character like Iris being well-received on television, even 20 years ago. How do you feel the acceptance of confident, young women in shows such as this has changed over time, and how far does it still have to go?

I think what’s really cool about this show is that the audience is treated like the intelligent people that they are. I don’t know if she would’ve been accepted or not 20 years ago, I don’t know the answer to that, but I think that she’s definitely a really unique character and an interesting citizen of the world and, I think that maybe the only reason she wouldn’t have been accepted is because we live in a patriarchal society and, hopefully that’s changing.

Similarly, how do you feel the entertainment industry as a whole is doing in allowing women to be treated and seen as equal to their male counterparts?

I’ve said this before, but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of all of the women’s stories that need to be told. I think that we’re nowhere near equal to men still, but it’s getting better in entertainment and I think that, that’s just a small, privileged reflection of the world. We have a lot of work to do as a world and as a society for equality and, we’re not even close.

You’ve personally worked in film as well as TV; how do the two mediums compare or differ?

I’ve been liking TV a lot because I like the idea of staying with the character for a long period of time, but I think a film set is a really cool way to just, sort of pop into a world for two months and then, go do something else.

They have their pros and cons, but I do really like the structure of TV and feeling like I have a longterm place to go to work in the morning. I really like the structure of that.

Finally, have you got anything else in the pipeline coming up you can share some details about?

Not yet! (laughs)

The Girlfriend Experience Season 3 is available to watch on Starzplay, the streaming service from Starz.

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From the third season of Colony to a new edition of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the month of May has something for everybody…

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