In Conversations With Friends, Hulu’s latest series based on a Sally Rooney book, which is out May 15, Alison Oliver’s character Frances moves quietly through life, surveying every situation and person before making a move. In person—or over Zoom, at least—Oliver jumps right into our conversation with a contagious excitement.
You can’t blame her. This is a breakthrough role for the 24-year-old Cork, Ireland, native, who graduated from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art in Dublin in 2020 and nabbed an audition for Conversations With Friends just a few months later. The series follows Frances (Oliver), a 21-year-old college student navigating relationships, life, and career uncertainty. Oliver stars opposite Sasha Lane as Bobbi, her ex-girlfriend/current best friend. They meet Jemima Kirke’s Melissa, an accomplished writer, and her dreamy husband, Nick (Joe Alwyn), and the foursome quickly become attached at the hip. Complicating matters is a mutual flirtation between Melissa and Bobbi and a secret, passionate affair between Nick and Frances. It’s messy and addicting and the kind of role that has the potential to put Oliver in the same conversation as Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal before her (they starred in Netflix’s previous show based on a Rooney book, the successful Normal People).
Oliver is more than ready, given her nuanced and beautiful performance. As for fame, she’s approaching it with a cautious optimism. “I actually just made an Instagram,” she says proudly. “I don’t have a TikTok or anything, but I’m figuring it out.”
For Glamour’s latest edition of New Here, Oliver opens up about her audition process, her on-set superstitions, and why she loves Frances exactly as she is.
Glamour: What was your audition process like for Conversations With Friends?