Is Winter In ‘AHS: Cult’ Based On A Real Person? Billie Lourd’s Nightmare Nanny Plays On A Popular Thriller Trope
Of all of American Horror Story: Cult's characters, there may be no single person more terrifying than Winter Anderson. Yes, that include the group of murder clowns that kills liberal suburbanites. Easily the most confounding character on AHS: Cult, Winter isn't based on a real person, but is instead a terrifying evolution of one of television's favorite archetypes. Just the most recent in a long line of evil fictional nannies, Winter (Billie Lourd) may also be the most evil nanny ever to grace television.
Spoilers for AHS: Cult Season 1! While other evil nannies have been known to try and steal spouses and poison kid's minds, Winter has taken the art of evil nannying to a new level. Winter's scenes are perfect for any nanny who feels scolded by the parents they works for. Because though you may occasionally feel inept at your job, you'll never be that bad.
Of course, being as bad a nanny as Winter involves time, dedication, resources, and ingenuity. It involves fearlessness. It involves a willingness to go above and beyond to torment the child you are meant to be watching, without worrying what he'll tell his parents. Being a nanny that evil involved a deep knowledge of the worst places on the internet. With the amount of time and resources that Winter puts into being an evil nanny, she'd probably be a great regular nanny.
A simple search on Lifetime.com for "Nanny" brings up a multitude of television films centered around how one's life changes when a child caregiver enters a home. A few of them are about friendly nannies, but more often than not you'll find films like "Nanny Nightmare," "Nanny Seduction," or simply "Evil Nanny." Winter Anderson seems to be a response to this genre of television movie, as if creator Ryan Murphy watched a lot of Lifetime, and said "I can make a worse nanny than that."
Most characters in this trope have simple goals in mind — usually revolving around replacing the mother of the child in some way. The evil nanny either hopes to steal the child, steal the husband, or murder the wife and/or husband. Winter, however, seems to have much more sinister plans. As such, Winter is patiently biding her time, slowly corrupting the child of Ally and Ivy Mayfair-Richards.
Oz Mayfair-Richards could've had a friendly babysitter to play games with him and sing him songs. Instead, Winter takes him onto the dark web and shows him a website that seems to be made up of real footage of people dying. As if that wasn't bad enough, Winter takes Oz across the street to see a watch of hyper-sexual murder clowns stabbing his neighbors to death. Even worse still, Winter tells Oz's parents that the traumatized child was making it all up.
While the events of AHS: Cult are obviously inspired by the reality surrounding the 2016 election, all of the characters we've met so far in the show are purely fictional. Winter herself seemed to be a Hillary supporter, but is now helping her Trump-supporting brother torment a middle-class lesbian couple. As if the Mayfair-Richards family didn't already have to worry about in this new administration, they now need to worry about death clowns and nightmare nannies. Of course, Winter tricks them by pretending to be the pitch-perfect model of a babysitter, having volunteered for Clinton's campaign, and bragging about being retweeted by Lena Dunham. This all begs the questions, why is Winter doing all of this?
Winter is sneaky, charming, and outwardly pleasant. She is also friends with a sex clown murder cult and her brother is the Alt-Right version of The Joker.. She may not be based on a real person, but she's still a reminder that it never hurts to do a background check on the person watching your child.