'Firefly Lane' Star Jenna Rosenow Is Ready for More Female-Led Projects in Hollywood
"I just hope that we are moving in a direction where that becomes the norm."
While Jenna Rosenow may play a bit of a mean girl on Netflix's Firefly Lane, she's anything but in real life. The Aussie actress, who relocated to Los Angeles just in time for the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, stars on the show as the blunt and hard-nosed magazine editor Kimber, alongside leads Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl. Aside from getting to play such a complicated character, Rosenow tells HelloGiggles that what she really loved about this job was all the women she was surrounded by.
"Sarah and Katie, they were leading the show and they're both incredible," Rosenow says. "I think they're both really talented, strong women on screen and off screen."
The two actors, who played best friends Kate and Tully, were far from the only strong women on the set of Firefly Lane. The show, which landed on Netflix at the beginning of February, hasn't yet been picked up for a second season, but its streaming numbers are already through the roof, pointing to an almost-certain renewal for this group of women. Not only did Rosenow have an abundance of female costars, but many of the crew were women as well.
"Our showrunner was female. Our main executive producer was female. We had a couple of female directors that were amazing. Getting that opportunity was really great. And I just hope that we are moving in a direction where that becomes the norm," Rosenow says.
The result was a show that felt like it was actually created for female viewers about real women. It was a story about Tully feeling powerful in her sexuality for herself and no one else and a story about Kate feeling lost after so many years of playing the role of mom but nothing else. The women behind this project created something that felt relatable to female viewers.
Though female-forward shows and movies are still not the majority of what's being made, Netflix has been rolling out more and more female-friendly projects. The recent Netflix Original show Ginny & Georgia has multiple female stars and was created by Sarah Lampert. Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever has a home on the streamer, and Amy Poehler's recent film Moxie sits firmly in Netflix's collection of female-friendly viewing.
Prior to making the move to Hollywood, Rosenow starred in Neighbours, a popular soap opera in Australia, where she experienced the disproportionate gender ratio firsthand. "Every week we had a new director. And yet in the rotation out of about probably like 15, 16 different directors, I think they only had one female."
Rosenow is hopeful, though, that the tides are turning: "I think there's been really good signs of change."
Rosenow's Kimber on Firefly Lane is a somewhat insufferable magazine editor and Kate's (Chalke) much younger boss. It's one of those characters you love to hate. She's gorgeous, she's in a position of power, and she blows everything up with her editorial takedown of Tully (Heigl). Long story short, Kimber—unbeknownst to Tully's best friend Kate—writes a feature story on talk show host and supremely popular media star Tully to poke holes in her glowing career and make her out to be a bad guy (which she's not). In Kimber's desperate search for her big break, she sets aside the fact that Tully doesn't deserve the takedown and instead focuses on her own personal gain.
"I guess it's easy for characters like her to become very one-dimensional," Rosenow says. "I find the interesting thing is finding why people who are like that, are like that. Why does she act like that? What happened to her to make her like this? And to find parts of her that are more human and humanize her, because no one is just good or bad. I think everyone has aspects of both."
"And so that's why she was super interesting for me, trying to find those different shades of her and make her dynamic," she continues.
If this sounds at all familiar, it should; Firefly Lane was filmed in 2019, long before the recent resurgence of calling out past problematic interviews of female celebrities, but the book the show was based on was published in 2008—right in the midst of when many of those questionable interviews were airing on TV. The Netflix story takes place in the early 2000s, and Kimber's storyline fits right into what was happening with the media, something Rosenow didn't realize until the show started streaming.
"We had no idea that this was going to be happening and yet this fits so well with that," she explains.
But while Kimber may be "willing to do whatever it takes to get that story and to get a story that's going to put her on the map," as Rosenow explains, the actress isn't out to take down other women. She's actually spent the past year in lockdown, passing the time knitting, baking, and watching TV (like so many of us, she says she's probably watched "all of Netflix" at this point).
She's also been working hard in the kitchen. "I got into honing my cooking skills a lot," the star says. "I was making a lot of homemade pastas and I've actually just purchased a KitchenAid recently, so I'm going to get back into doing the pasta thing, which is fun."
While Rosenow has been content at home learning how to cook new dishes, she's itching to get back to work. She's currently waiting for her most recent project, YA mystery series One of Us Is Lying, to resume filming. The cast shot the pilot back in 2019, and it was announced in August 2020 that Peacock picked up the show, based on the book of the same name, but they're all still waiting for what's next because of COVID.
"I remember reading the synopsis for [One of Us Is Lying], and I was like, 'Oh, this sounds exciting,'" Rosenow says, adding that it has "cool vibes."
It may be a waiting game for One of Us Is Lying at this point, but in the meantime, you can check out Rosenow in Firefly Lane, currently streaming on Netflix.