The Snapchat original series Everything's Fine follows a college junior named Gemma who is working on making it big in the music industry. However, her world turns upside down when she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and must learn to navigate life while managing her mental health condition.
Check out our Q&A below. (Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
'Everything's Fine' star Dylan Gelula talks telling Gemma's story: "She is a full person, not a diagnosis."
Distractify: Your character, Gemma, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is learning to cope with her new reality. What sort of stigmas surrounding mental health did you want to break while telling Gemma’s story?
Dylan Gelula: I didn’t really come to Gemma with any kind of agenda. She is a full person, not a diagnosis, so I think it would be a mistake to start off thinking, 'I want to address such and such aspects of society at large,' etc. I think that was everyone’s approach to it. And then, of course, by recognizing that people struggling with mental health disorders are full people with flaws and strengths, you do end up breaking stigmas.
What research did you do to prepare for the role of Gemma?
DG: The show’s creator, Hannah Klein, was amazing about this. I had all the music that Gemma would listen to in a playlist on Spotify, lookbooks, notes from Hannah here and there ahead of time. Because of COVID we couldn’t have any rehearsal time, which is why things like that, or wardrobe fittings, were more crucial than ever in terms of gathering materials together to make a character.
How did your views on mental health or bipolar disorder change after playing Gemma?
DG: Gemma’s more energetic, manic moments were specifically difficult emotionally and very physically draining. Living in that state all the time, with no control over its end, is not easy and deserves our deepest sympathies!
What role do you think social media plays in a person’s mental health? And, how do you view social media?
DG: Social media plays a negative role in my own life! I think it has worsened my ability to concentrate. It makes me feel less than — less cool than everyone else, less attractive, less social. It’s designed to do that to us. I have no plans to stop using it. But I know a lot of people, especially in the last year and a half, depend on the tools it provides to connect to people they never could have otherwise. I use it that way too! Nothing is all bad or all good.
While on set, did you and the rest of the cast and the executive producers openly talk about mental health?
DG: Yes! As I mentioned before, Hannah was super open about her own experiences and which inspired what aspect of the story we were telling.
Overall, what do you hope viewers take away after watching this series?
DG: That everybody feels like a mess, everyone is trying their best, and that everything is fine!
You can now watch all 10 episodes of Everything's Fine on Snapchat’s Discover.