Young Royals: Why its makers will never cast ’30-year-old supermodels’ to play teens

Actors from Netflix series Young Royals in a group publicity shot taken in front of some buildings. (Netflix)

Young Royals first came out to rave reviews securing it a second season and huge praise for its LGBTQ+ representation and beyond.

The series, which centres around the relationship between school students Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) and Simon (Omar Rudberg) particularly resonated with young audiences for its depiction of all types of teenagers. 

From different races, body sizes and looks, the show departed from the typical American-style casting of 30-year-olds as teenagers. 

In fact, after the first season aired, Ryding recalled to PinkNews that fans would come up to him on the street and say they “feel seen by the way we portrayed humanity. It’s OK to look different. It’s OK to have acne, it’s OK to have different kinds of body sizes”.

For him, the response has been “very moving” and Young Royals director Rojda Sekersöz and creator Lisa Ambjorn explain the psyche behind the casting decision. 

“We had an age limit for casting,” Sekeröz tells PinkNews, “and when we showed suggestions for the cast sometimes people from outside would say he or she looks too young and he looks too young. 

“We’re so used to these imageries of adults playing young people that we’re all a bit f**ked up.”

Simon with his two friends. (Netflix/Robert Eldrim)

Simon with his two friends. (Netflix/Robert Eldrim)

Ambjorn agrees, adding: “Just from a personal experience, there’s been a lot of great youth dramas made in Sweden for the Swedish audience before, but as a teenager, I never felt like anyone looked like me. 

“Even if they had a problem I could relate to, I would think, ‘Yeah, but you look like a supermodel. So even if you have this problem, things are gonna go pretty alright.’

“I sometimes call it British casting where people actually look like humans that you live next door to. And that makes it much more believable.”

Although the show, set in a boarding school for the elite, features many, many rich people, not all of them are going to look like 30-year-old American supermodels. As they tend to do in other shows. 

As Sekersöz explained: “At the end of the day they are human beings born in different bodies and different genders just like everyone else. So it was important to not go with the first instinct.”

As season two hits Netflix there is still huge amounts to unravel when it comes to Wilhelm and Simon’s love story.

Both cast and crew have also put some thought into the best way to represent the LGBTQ+ community, not wanting to make sexuality the main point of the show. 

Particularly for Ryding, he feels passionately about Wilhelm’s right to not have a label attached, a stance even more pertinent since fellow Netflix star Kit Connor’s (Heartstopper) forced outing. 

Young Royals season one and two are now available to watch on Netflix.