8:00pm PT by Paige Phelan
'UnREAL' Actress on Faith's Shocking Reveal: "It's an Important Story to Tell"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Monday's episode of UnREAL, "Truth."]
Talk about a leap of Faith.
Monday’s episode of Lifetime's UnREAL dropped yet another bombshell — contestant and devoutly religious 27-year-old virgin Faith (Breeda Wool) realized that she is a lesbian and proceeded, with the help of little pushes from Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Adam (Freddie Stroma), to come out of the closet. (If only to be immediately shoved back in.)
“I feel like it’s the only story in the series that is like, ‘Oh dang, this is actually a positive thing,’ " Wool tells The Hollywood Reporter of her character’s profound realization at the show’s midpoint. “We see some really cutthroat, self-serving behavior [on the show], and in [this] storyline, people really step up for [Faith]."
Monday's episode of the reality-skewering series followed Faith back to her country roots when Adam and the Everlasting crew visited her home. She was invited to cash in her v-card with the dashing British suitor; however, plans quickly changed when Rachel saw how close Faith is with her childhood best friend — and how uncomfortable she is with Adam’s affection. Rachel decided to ask the million-dollar question: is Faith in love with Amy?
“[Faith] comes from a [community with a] very rigid and simplistic view of the Bible. The Bible is very complex, multi-tiered...[but this church] picks and chooses the things that make them uncomfortable as a society and then exaggerates and highlights them to say who’s going to hell and who isn’t,” says Wool of her character’s struggle to accept her truth in the face of her religious upbringing.
She continued, “It’s a tough position to be in, believing that you’ll be cast out by God, especially in this story, where I don’t have parents. God is the person that I talk to. When I come out and I say that I love Amy, it’s this moment where I’m free from that judgment of that parent, and it rocks!”
Of course, Faith’s self-awakening was not without its own small sense of tragedy. Finally accepting who she is, Faith was going to tell her entire community the truth, but up on that stage, she was paralyzed by the potential damage and was bailed out by Adam, who effectively kept her on Everlasting and in the closet.
“[UnREAL co-creators] Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Marti Noxon decided to present a reality that was true to where [Faith is] from, which is that I can’t be who I am and I can’t express myself without extreme negative consequences for both me and Amy,” says Wool. “If I had just come out and everyone had accepted me and I was brave — it’s just not that simple. As Faith, I still am my grandmother’s granddaughter. I still believe in God. The actualization about loving Amy does not tear away my entire history, but coming out of the closet would.”
It’s a particularly heartbreaking ending, especially since the two are so integral and loved in their community. “In the depths of [Faith’s] soul, it’s like, how could they not want Amy and me to be together? We’re the perfect couple, but it all becomes about sin," she says.
The twist in Faith’s sexuality was not a complete surprise to Wool, who had her inklings after filming the show’s original pilot. Faith was “a firefighter and much more masculine. There were a lot of red flags for someone who clearly was being shoved into a certain place of conformity based on [her] religion,” she says. However, it wasn’t until a night over cocktails when Shapiro finally revealed Faith’s arc through the fifth episode showcase.
“I lived in New York for 10 years, and I live in Los Angeles and…when you live on the coast and you live in metropolitan areas, you get confused and think that things like extreme bigotry toward gay people is non-existent. I never see it in my daily life,” says Wool, who notes that due to censorship, some countries will not show her character as gay. (THR coincidentally caught up with the actress just hours after the Supreme Court declared in favor of marriage equality.)
Wool says documentaries such as The L-Word: Mississippi were illuminating in her research. “It was an important reminder to me that in Mississippi [for example] — not anymore, baby! — it's not just marriage inequality," she says. "You’re talking about people boycotting people’s businesses, getting kicked out of your community.… There’s a lot of people over the last, 60, 70 years who have been fighting the good fight.”
As a result, Wool says she felt a “profound mission” to tell Faith’s story truthfully, pointing to such LGBT-positive representations in shows like Transparent and Orange Is the New Black as series on the forefront of showing real “people we know.” Wool hopes that Faith's narrative will add to that dialogue. “Having a feeling that you are going to be outcast by your community, ostracized by your church, your family, your lineage, your God…and having to hide all the time, it’s an important story to tell," she says.
Wool is also quick to point out the irony of the realization coming during a TV show so based on heteronormative love stories. However, she hopes that the changing pictures of love and marriage, inside and outside the show, will to help society move forward. “As a people we’re moving toward a picture of marriage that is so much more about love than it is about this [antiquated] 1800s union of property," says Wool. "Marriage is becoming something that seems really worthwhile.”
Of course, some places still have quite a ways to go. So can Faith truly ever go home again, or is she doomed to live a lie for the rest of her life? Wool is unsure what that future might hold for her character.
However, for the time being, Faith is remaining with Everlasting and, according to Wool, might even been keen on winning it. “Don’t you think that would be the best possible outcome? [He’s] like a beard; Adam genuinely likes me…and it doesn’t feel like Adam is trying to get married anytime soon,” she says with a laugh, adding empathically, “I am clearly the best option for him, and I should totally win this thing.”
UnREAL airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.
Thoughts on Faith’s coming out? Did it finally feel like a light moment in the dark drama? Sound off in the comments below.