There’s no one quite like Georgia Miller. Brianne Howey will be the first to tell you that. The actress stars as Georgia in Netflix’s new hit series Ginny & Georgia. Georgia seeks a normal life with her two kids, Ginny and Austin, in the idyllic small town of Westbury, Massachusetts. Georgia makes quite the impression from the get-go and goes to great lengths to protect herself and her kids. However, the secrets Georgia keeps threaten to ruin everything she’s built.
Brianne spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about Georgia’s incredible arc over the course of season one. While Georgia’s one step ahead of everyone else, even she didn’t foresee her own daughter taking off on a motorcycle with Austin after learning dark aspects of her mom’s past. Brianne also discussed Georgia’s relationship with Paul, what’s going on with Joe, and the “most diabolical” thing Georgia’s done.
Georgia has obviously had to fight and adapt to survive her whole life, and she’s filled with so many secrets. Do you think Georgia is capable of being honest with anyone, even herself?
Brianne Howey: That is a really good question. I think Georgia is holding on so tight to this sort of house of cards that she begins to believe it herself. I think in order for her to sell this facade, she truly has to believe it wholeheartedly. So I don’t know that she can be completely honest with herself.
Clearly, Ginny is turning into a version of Georgia. Do you think Georgia is ready to face herself or at least a version of herself in her daughter?
Brianne Howey: I think Ginny turning into Georgia is the most terrifying thing in the world for Georgia. That’s why in the pilot, when she sees her on the motorcycle, Georgia completely loses it, and Ginny can’t wrap her head around why. But I think when Georgia sees bits and pieces of herself in Ginny, it’s terrifying and her motivation throughout the whole season is to make sure that’s exactly what doesn’t happen.
I love how Ginny and Georgia are brutally honest with each other. In the finale, Georgia says Ginny can’t be trusted and she doesn’t know who she is anymore. Do you think Georgia really doesn’t trust her own daughter?
Brianne Howey: I think Georgia is just hurt. I think people hurt people. Georgia wasn’t afforded a lot of the opportunities to have healthier coping mechanisms that a lot of us get to have. Georgia didn’t get to go to therapy or have any of these healthier tools. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what she is imparting on Ginny. But I don’t think Georgia means that. I think she’s trying to have this wake-up call for Ginny that Ginny doesn’t really want to see right now.
Ginny pulled a Georgia at the end. She takes Austin and leaves town. How do you think Georgia is going to react to that?
Brianne Howey: She’s going to be devastated. I think this is the worst-case scenario. I don’t even think Georgia fathomed that this was a possibility.
I think Georgia has been going full steam ahead, and Ginny is sort of her blind spot. She’s one step ahead of everyone else except her own daughter.
Brianne Howey: Exactly. I think Ginny is someone she never had to worry about until the show starts. It’s the first time we really see the tension between them. It’s a double-edged sword because Georgia wants all of these opportunities for Ginny so Ginny doesn’t turn into her. But it comes at a price because then Ginny does become more independent. She does find her voice. She does have plenty of issues with Georgia, and that’s really new for Georgia because up until then Ginny wasn’t as independent.
Georgia did a number of very clever things to protect herself and her kids. I think the most shocking one was the finale when she uses Kenny’s ashes as gunpowder for the fireworks…
Brianne Howey: It’s the most diabolical thing Georgia does. I absolutely love her, and I love it.
With a smile on her face, too.
Brianne Howey: She’s smiling the whole season! She’s just plastered on this smile, and she is just selling the idea of her entire life.
Do you think Georgia has gone as far as she could go to protect herself and her kids? I think Kenny’s ashes and the fireworks were next-level.
Brianne Howey: Yeah, I don’t know what else she could have possibly done. She’s playing a game of chess with people who don’t know that they’re playing a game. So Georgia has set all of these key things in motion. She’s four or five steps ahead of everybody else. I’m sure she has more up her sleeve.
On another note, there were a number of amazing romantic interests for Georgia, but she does end up getting engaged to Mayor Paul. We’ve seen her with Zion and know how she feels about that. With Paul, do you think that love there is true? Or do you think he may be the guy that she wishes she could love completely?
Brianne Howey: I think with Paul, it’s definitely the idea of him. I think he is the picture-perfect idea of who she thought she would end up with when she was watching rom-coms growing up. I think he checks every box. What I do love about their relationship, and by the end, I do think Paul really does — not entirely because nobody does — but he does see her for who she is a little bit in the sense that she’s power-hungry. So is he and I love that. He lays it all out there. I don’t know that Georgia has ever been seen in that light, so I think she really does love that about Paul, but it’s safe to say I think it’s more of the idea of him.
With Zion, it’s clear that there is a lot of love and history there, but I feel like Georgia is sort of always kept him at arm’s length. Do you think there’s a part of Georgia that can’t open her heart completely to Zion because she associates him too much with her painful past?
Brianne Howey: With Zion, I think something Sarah [Lampert], the creator, told me right when we started was they’re two ships passing in the night. Georgia and Zion are true high school sweethearts and definitely soulmates in a way because they share Ginny. She’s the most special thing in both of their worlds. But I think it’s one of those things when you connect with someone so young, it’s hard in the long run because you both grow and change so much. I think they’re not the same people anymore they fell in love with 15 years ago.
And then there’s Joe, who Georgia met years ago. I was waiting for the moment he puts everything together.
Brianne Howey: I don’t know that she’s ready for Joe to really figure it all out. She’s juggling so many things at the moment that I don’t know that she can fully throw Joe in there. But Joe sort of represents her past and her future in a way, which I think is really beautiful.
He is the one that mentions Wellsbury, and she winds up moving there years later.
Brianne Howey: He’s like the last person to meet her as Mary, but he doesn’t know it. That’s sort of right when she changes her identity.
Do you think Georgia knows Joe is that young guy from years ago?
Brianne Howey: I think she knows. I think she’s definitely messing with him. When they first meet in the pilot and he brings her coffee, she calls him Joe because she knows he’s Joe. But she knows he’s going to assume it’s because of his name tag.
Georgia very rarely gets scared, but she seemed terrified when she finds out Ginny sent Austin’s letters to his dad. What can you say about Austin’s dad? He seems like another shadow looming over her.
Brianne Howey: One hundred percent. I think, as all of the characters are in Ginny & Georgia, he is a larger-than-life human being who definitely has some power to shake up everyone’s lives.
Georgia’s gone to such great lengths for her kids, and you can’t fault her for that. But she has made some questionable decisions. As someone who has embodied this character, do you think that Georgia should have to atone for anything she’s done? Do you think the karmic weights of the world may not shift in her favor eventually?
Brianne Howey: I think a lot of the actions Georgia takes are out of desperation because she doesn’t have any help. Georgia sort of fell through the cracks of society. There was no one there to protect her, no one there to take care of her, no one there to help her make any better decisions. I think her lack of respect for the system is because she doesn’t feel like the system respected her or really took care of her at all. Unfortunately, when people run out of options and they don’t have enough resources, they resort to taking some really, really desperate actions. I think that’s all Georgia is really thinking about and just protecting her kids.
Georgia also has a very thick southern accent. I’m from North Carolina so I recognize that voice. How did you prepare for that? It’s such a tough thing to nail, and you absolutely nailed it.
Brianne Howey: We had a dialect coach, and he was awesome. He was on set for the first couple of episodes. I think what I was so pleasantly surprised by is Georgia sort of uses the accent to her advantage. She weaponizes anything and everything to her advantage but that sort of helped me lean into it a little bit and realize that it’s such a big part of her with the code-switching, and she uses it to get what she wants from certain people. Or leaning into it when she had a couple of glasses of wine, or she’s really mad. I sort of just had fun with it really.