‘Shrill’s Lolly Adefope Reveals How That ‘Shallow’ Performance Happened: ‘I Was Born To Do This’

'Shrill' is back for season 2 and all is right in the TV world. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Lolly Adefope about that 'Shallow' karaoke session in season 2, Fran's family, and more.

Lolly Adefope
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Image Credit: Amanda Jones for HollywoodLife

Shrill season 2 premiered Jan. 24 on Hulu and it’s terrific from start to finish. Annie’s back… Fran’s back… and the BFFs go through more ups and downs over the course of the season. There are many standout moments but there’s one in particular that we can’t get out of our heads: Fran’s A Star Is Born moment. In episode 4, Fran performs a stellar karaoke rendition of “Shallow.”  HollywoodLife sat down with Shrill star Lolly Adefope and had to ask about this epic moment. “That’s my go-to karaoke song in real life,” Lolly told HollywoodLife. “It came about because there’s a show that my friend runs called Amusical, which is comedians singing songs from musicals. So I did that in London and someone put up a video of me singing ‘Shallow’ there. And then Aidy [Bryant] saw it. Fran was already going to be doing karaoke so she, I think half as a joke, wrote in that it would be ‘Shallow.’ They hadn’t quite decided what it would be until then. They assumed they wouldn’t be able to clear ‘Shallow’ and then they came back and they were like, ‘Yeah, we cleared it.’ So they just kept it in.”

Despite this being a Lady Gaga song, Lolly wasn’t too intimidated. “I think because I’d done it before, I was like, ‘Okay, this is my song,’ Lolly continued. “Anything else, I probably would’ve been scared. Any other A Star Is Born song, I wouldn’t have done it. But I was born to do this.”

Season 2 really explores Fran’s family life and why she is the way she is. The character goes on quite the journey in the second season. “She’s had all these relationships in season one and season two forces her to kind of think about what she actually wants and take some time for herself and try and fall in love with herself again so that she can love other people better. She hasn’t been doing that,” Lolly said. Lolly revealed that she had “a bit of input into some of the conversations between her and her mom. I inputted stuff from my life and kind of put a little Nigerian spin on those kinds of interpersonal relationships and interfamilial relationships as well, and as the children of immigrants, how that kind of reflects on your character.”

Lolly finds herself approaching friendships like her character. “I think Fran’s relationship with Ryan is very similar to my relationship with the people that my friends have dated that I don’t approve of,” Lolly told HollywoodLife. “I can’t accept it. I can’t pretend that I like it either. It shows on my face.” Not surprisingly, Lolly doesn’t think Ryan is a good match for Annie. “But I also think that it’s a good experience to have,” she continued. “I think with people like that, it’s so easy to watch Annie on TV and think, ‘Why is she with him? She needs to get rid of him.’ But you have to go through being with those guys to realize why you shouldn’t be with those guys. Otherwise, you’ll be thinking, ‘Maybe I should’ve stuck with that guy.'”

Lolly Adefope
Lolly Adefope stops by HollywoodLife’s New York City portrait studio (Amanda Jones for HollywoodLife)
Lolly Adefope
Lolly Adefope stars as Fran in Hulu’s ‘Shrill.’ (Amanda Jones for HollywoodLife)

Shrill is such a bright spot in the TV landscape. The show is a game-changer when it comes to body positivity and Lolly is thankful to be a part of the movement. “It’s a privilege to be part of it,” she said. “I think it’s a thing that a lot of, not just TV, but maybe brands are kind of co-opting at the moment for their own gain because it’s like an in-thing to do at the moment. But that’s why it’s so important that Shrill does it so well. With a real heart to it, which partly comes from Lindy West’s book. It all comes from a very real place and input from all of the writers. They all had their stories that are told in the show. I think Aidy’s aim and everyone else’s aim on the team was always to keep it as realistic as possible, and not just tell the same stories of fat women that we see all the time, which is that they are sad about themselves and they want to change themselves and that their fatness is the only thing about them. I think the show keeps it real by showing that these people are multifaceted and it’s more of the world reminding them that they’re fat and that they need to change rather than them actually thinking that about themselves.”

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