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08/01/2017 10:08 am ET

Billie Lourd Opens Up About Pressure To Uphold Carrie Fisher's Legacy

"Now I get to be just Billie.”

More than six months have passed since the loss of Hollywood icons Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but through daughter and granddaughter Billie Lourd, their legacy lives on. 

Losing two family members in the span of days is nothing short of tragic, but Lourd has proudly taken up the family mantle, appearing at a “Star Wars” festival in April and starring in the forthcoming season of “American Horror Story.” 

In her first cover story since Fisher’s and Reynolds’ deaths, Lourd sat down with actress Sarah Paulson for a wide-ranging interview in Town & Country about what her life looks like during this period of transition.

“I’ve always kind of lived in their shadows, and now is the first time in my life when I get to own my life and stand on my own,” Lourd said. “I love being my mother’s daughter, and it’s something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie.” 

“It’s a lot of pressure, because she had such an incredible legacy,” she added, “and now I have to uphold that and make it evolve in my own way.”

Town & Country's September cover.
Victor Demarchelier
Town & Country's September cover.

Apart from a series regular gig on Fox’s “Scream Queens” and a bit part in the new “Star Wars” films, the 25-year-old is relatively new to the world of acting, if you don’t count her unorthodox upbringing surrounded by screen legends. 

“My mom actually pointed me toward it,” Lourd said of her start in the business. “The first thing I did was ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ J.J. Abrams called and said they couldn’t find anybody for this one part and would I come in and read for it. I didn’t get the part, but I got another extra part with three lines. The thing is, I was bizarrely comfortable on set. My mother would pull me aside and be like, ‘It’s weird that you’re so comfortable here. This is the most uncomfortable environment in the world. If you’re comfortable here, you should do this.’”

Days before her death, Lourd revealed Reynolds was still encouraging her to “put an act together” and hone her craft. 

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Billie Lourd at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Billie Lourd at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Lourd has also internalized lessons from both her mother’s and grandmother’s time in the spotlight, learning from both their triumphs and mistakes.

Fisher was famously candid about her personal struggles and family life, mining them for material in five books and a one-woman show, whereas Lourd wants to keep things more private. 

“From my mom, maybe living too out in the open,” she said. It’s good to a certain extent. It’s good to be authentic, to help other people, but if it’s not helping other people, then don’t do it. There were a couple incidents I wish she could have kept to herself. But, you know, that was the beauty of her.”

But through it all, Lourd has committed to “find the funny” ― a mantra of her mother’s that’s guided her through these past few months. 

“If life’s not funny, then it’s just true — and that would be unacceptable. Even when she died, that was what got me through that whole thing. When Debbie died the next day, I could just picture her saying, ‘Well, she’s upstaging me once again, of course — she had to.’”

To read Lourd’s full interview, head over to Town & Country

Billie Lourd in <a href="http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a10363337/billie-lourd-interview-on-carrie
Victor Demarchelier
Billie Lourd in Town & Country.
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Through The Years
CONVERSATIONS