The third season of “You” takes Joe Goldberg to Madre Linda, California, where he’s introduced to a new cast of suburban characters.
One of the new additions is Sherry Conrad (Shalita Grant), a “locally famous mom-fluencer” who’s married to wealthy entrepreneur Cary (Travis Van Winkle).
“I would describe her as the queen of Madre Linda,” Grant told TODAY. “She has a stunning husband and perfectly imperfect children. And you know, she really does run Madre Linda, and the deeper and deeper the audience gets into the inner sanctum of Madre Linda, you get an idea of what that hold is that Sherry has on the community.”
“The thing that was so juicy about Sherry is that she weaponizes her femininity in a really calculated way,” Grant added. “There's a lot of gaslighting, a lot of manipulation, a lot of cattiness, and she really plays into that, the politics of pretty. Now the challenge, when I talked to the showrunner and got the arc of my character, I realized that there was going to be some crying.”
While Grant, 33, is a graduate of the Juilliard School and a Tony nominee, she admitted, “The one thing that I couldn't do was cry on cue.” But given the show’s enormous popularity, she was determined to get it right.
“I went back and I was like, ‘Got to do some, you know, script analysis, break down the scene, get deeper into the character and beyond, like, the physical and the fun, like really get to the heart and the soul of the character,'” she said.
“And so I'm proud to say that I did that role, and that that role made me a stronger actress.”
Grant also weighed in on why “You” has kept viewers hooked since it premiered in 2018, saying it’s the show’s ability to make “the abject relatable.”
“There's something so gross that we all identify with Joe and we want him to, like, win,” she said. “It's so terrible. You know, it's so much a part of our culture, you know, these stories of homicides and stalking and things. So I think that we're a little desensitized to it, but again, it's just thrilling to identify with a bad guy.”
Grant had nothing but praise for Penn Badgley, who stars as the series’ homicidal heartthrob.
“Especially when the going gets tough, it's really important to have, you know, actors that have a lot of experience and are really committed to a kind of leadership and I do have to say of Penn, you know, Penn is really a dream,” she said. “You know, the serial killer that he plays — I don't think the show would be as successful if he was, like, a creep, if he was really a jerk.”
Grant reflected on Joe’s evolution throughout the series’ three seasons.
“We see him in season one in sort of the immaturity of his obsessions. And by the time you get to the end of season two, you know, he's met Love and he has a love child growing,” she said. “So what is it like when a stalker serial killer becomes a father and a husband and he's married to a woman who's just as complicated, for lack of a better word?”
“Season three is really a maturity thing and you get to see their mature but immature relationship against Sherry and Cary, who have a longer relationship and a stronger bond in their marriage,” she added. “So, you're watching these two couples and they're facing a lot of the same things; you know, Sherry and Cary have twins. So you get to see a couple that's been through it and a couple that’s starting their trajectory, but with a twist, a killer twist.”
Grant said she’s looking forward to seeing how fans respond to the new episodes, which hit Netflix on Oct. 15.
“I've never been on a show with as much viewership as ‘You,’” she said. “I'm really pumped to log in to Twitter Oct. 16, the morning after the drop, and go in with something crunchy and read all the comments. That's honestly, for me, that's what I'm looking forward to, the reactions to it all.”