Actress Laura Harrier at the Spider-Man: Homecoming photo call in New York.
Credit: Gary Gershoff/WireImage

When we first meet Liz, the object of Peter Parker’s affections in Spider-Man: Homecoming, she appears like every other love interest who has ever graced a “typical” teen film: She’s gorgeous, popular, and completely out of Peter’s league. But Liz, played by talented newcomer Laura Harrier, is immediately more than meets the eye — and it’s about time we started seeing more ladies like Liz up on the big screen.

Harrier recently sat down with HelloGiggles to talk about her *huge* role in the latest Marvel movie, and the importance of depicting strong, intelligent, women on-screen — something Liz, as captain of the Midtown School of Science and Technology Decathlon Team, embodies throughout the film. Having Liz serve as more than the de-facto “love interest” was one of the best aspects used to inverse the stereotypical teen movie model — something Homecoming leans into hard, and then turns on its head.

Because this film often doubles as both a teen movie AND the newest edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s significant time spent exploring Peter’s world as Spider-Man and how he’s navigating high school like every other fifteen-year-old. This allows viewers to actually get to know Peter’s classmates — like Liz, the sardonic Michelle (Zendaya), and the snarky Flash Thompson (Tony Ravolori).

Peter’s evolution as Spider-Man aside, one of the most important takeaways from the film is that each character is unapologetically themself. Harrier told HG that something she hopes that viewers, especially younger women, take away from the film is that being yourself is the best way to navigate life.

We seriously can’t wait to see what Harrier does next, because we promise we’ll be watching! Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 7th!