How Old Is The 'Euphoria' Cast In Real Life? The Actors' Ages Aren't What You Might Expect

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HBO's Euphoria depicts the lives of teens in some very adult situations. Given that the eight-episode series shows high schoolers navigating a "minefield" of drugs, sex, identity, and trauma, fans have naturally wondered how old the Euphoria cast is in real life. As it turns out, all of the actors have passed graduation age themselves, ultimately giving them a more mature perspective on the gritty subject matter.

"It definitely doesn’t shy away from anything, that’s for sure," Zendaya, who plays lead Rue Bennett, recently told Entertainment Weekly. She added to the magazine: "We just want it to be a reflection in a beautiful way of storytelling that allows people to think and connect and feel however they choose to feel about it. ... I think we tap on things and discuss things that are tough, but again, it’s storytelling. It allows the audience to see things how they choose to."

The good news for those who became obsessed with the show: Euphoria was renewed for Season 2. The bad news? The coming-of-age narrative can only last so long. "[The characters] are in high school, so there are only so many seasons it can go," HBO president Casey Bloys told TVLine. "There's a time limit. ... I don't think you want 30 year olds playing [high school students]."

Luckily, none of Euphoria's leads are close to the big 3-0 just yet, but here are how the actor's real-life ages compare to that of the characters they play on screen.

Zendaya (Rue Bennett)

HBO

At 17 years old, Rue's life "changes dramatically" when she meets her love interest Jules. For 22-year-old Zendaya, taking the role of "a drug addict fresh from rehab, who’s struggling to make sense of her future" was similarly uncharted territory for the actor. As Zendaya told EW, "For me, for such a long time I felt stagnant in my career because I have been doing the same thing since I was 13 years old. ... You gotta go to the next grade. You gotta graduate."

Hunter Schafer (Jules Vaughn)

Eddy Chen/HBO

Born in 1999, Schafer drew from her own experiences as a trans woman to play the newcomer, who, like everyone else is searching for her place in the world. "Jules had a similar storyline to my life, at least as far as transition timelines — not what happens within Euphoria," she told W magazine. Euphoria was the trans activist's very first acting role.

Jacob Elordi (Nate Jacobs)

Eddy Chen/HBO

The 22-year-old actor revealed that jock Nate is "so different to who I am as a person" — and that goes well beyond their about five-year age difference. "I had to kind of readjust and make myself into a blank canvas, I suppose, coming into playing the character." Although Nate seemed to be a textbook case of toxic masculinity, viewers definitely saw more levels to his character by season's end, as some of Nate's secrets are also revealed.

Sydney Sweeney (Cassie Howard)

Eddy Chen/HBO

"I saw a lost character," Sweeney, 21, told Bustle of "chameleon-like" Cassie, whose nude photos went viral on the show. "It’s so hard when you’re a teenage girl growing up in a world where everybody’s telling you you’re a slut. Are you supposed to pretend to be somebody who everyone wants to imagine you as? Or, do you find your own way through all of this craziness?"

Barbie Ferreira (Kat Hernandez)

Eddy Chen/HBO

Ferreira, who's 22 years old in real life, saw similarities between herself and Kat. "She's exploring herself and what it means to be a girl who doesn't fit in the same boxes as the people around her," the actor told Vogue of her body-conscious teen character, who reclaims her sexual power. "I based it on how I was at 16."

Maude Apatow (Lexi Howard)

Eddy Chen/HBO

Apatow brought her 21 years of experience to the role of Cassie’s younger sister and Rue’s "level-headed childhood friend" — and applauded writer-director Sam Levinson's accuracy. "It's weird because Sam is an older man and he writes teenage girls very well," she told W. "It's kind of the best writing for teenagers that I've ever seen. He really has nailed it."

Alexa Demie (Maddy Perez)

Playing Nate’s on-and off-again girlfriend did require the 24-year-old actor to, of course, look back a to her late teen years a bit. In an interview with V Magazine in Nov. 2018, Demie described Maddy as "the female Patrick Bateman, minus the killing." (Bateman, of course, is the well-groomed serial killer Christian Bale portrayed in American Psycho.)

Algee Smith (Chris McKay)

Eddy Chen/HBO

As a college freshman struggling with life post-graduation, Smith is the only main Euphoria actor whose character is not still in high school. Even so, at 24 years old, Smith played the football star a few years later than a fresh-out-of-high-school college student.

Storm Reid (Gia Bennett)

Eddy Chen/HBO

Reid, who plays Rue's little sister Gia, may be 16 in real life, but she's wise beyond her years. "We're really touching on tough topics that teenagers are going through right now and scenarios that are happening," she recently told Bustle. "I know that some shows talk about certain situations and leave it at that. But we're going to the tenth degree and showing what actually happens."

There's no denying how real Euphoria gets — in terms of everything except the ages of the actors who play the characters, of course.