Shannon Purser isn't taking all the Barb mania lying down.
The 19-year-old Atlanta native's breakout role on Netflix's Stranger Things (her first-ever credit) is starting to pay real dividends, not only netting her a recurring part on the CW's live-action Archie Comics series Riverdale but now a small role in the big-screen Melissa McCarthy vehicle Life of the Party, which is being directed by McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone (Tammy). Additionally, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Purser recently spent a week in Hollywood making the rounds, meeting with executives at “ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., TNT/TBS, and Marvel, among others.”
The actress even made her first stop at a “late-night” talk show with a surprise appearance on Netflix's Chelsea, where she brought out a cake to celebrate co-star Gaten Matarazzo's birthday (a little early) and spoke to host Chelsea Handler about the outsized reaction to her Stranger Things character, whose unlikely rise no doubt would not have been possible in the pre-social media age.
It isn't difficult to see why Barb struck such a chord; as has been noted ad nauseam in the wake of the show's success, the character is relatable to anyone who has ever felt like an underdog/dork/outcast/nerd/etc. While the appreciation ultimately feels (to me) a little shallow, particularly in an era when those labels are often worn disingenuously, Purser nevertheless acquits herself very well in what amounts to a mere few minutes of screen time, and she's doing what almost anyone would do in the wake of all the attention: making the absolute most of it. How can you not root for her?