In this interview, Shannon Purser discusses her choice to come out as bis*xual last year.
The 21-year-old actress who plays Sierra Burgess in the upcoming Netflix film Sierra Burgess Is a Loser told PEOPLE at the film’s premiere in Hollywood on Thursday, “I would love for us to get to a point in society where it doesn’t matter what your s*xuality is, but right now there is a lot of turmoil around that issue, a lot of controversies where there shouldn’t be.”
Even though she continued by saying that she doesn’t “consider myself the perfect role model,” she nonetheless tries to inspire young people and be a role model.
“I just always think about what would I have needed as a kid, what would have meant a lot to me?” she continued. “If somebody can see me and feel less alone and more understood, than that’s it.”
The actress also expressed how much it meant to her when fans wrote to her to thank her for giving them the confidence, to be honest about their s*xuality.
“That’s what matters most to me,” she remarked. “That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.”
Purser wrote an emotional letter explaining her s*xuality in response to criticism she received for a now-deleted Tweet sent to Archie fans who were “shipping” the show’s two lead females, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, who shared a kiss in an earlier episode.
“I don’t normally do this, but I figure now is as good a time as any to get personal. I’ve only just recently come out as bis*xual to my family and friends,” the actress, who has also been featured on Stranger Things and Riverdale, stated on Twitter.
“It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much. I’m very very new to the LGBT community,” she added.
Purser also apologized to anyone she may have upset with her previous tweet.
“I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless,” she wrote. “I wasn’t referring to all the beronica shippers, just the ones who had been particularly cruel to me personally. Either way, it wasn’t a wise or kind thing to say and I’m disappointed in myself.”
“I apologize to those who were hurt,” the conclusion reads.
In a previous tweet, Purser acknowledged her worry about her s*xuality and shared a lesson she wished she had known earlier.
“I know what it’s like to have anxiety about it,” she wrote. “Especially trying to come to terms with it and my faith. It can be really scary… But it’s gonna be OK. You’re going to be OK. No, you’re going to be great.”
“Another thing I wish I’d known about s*xuality is to take it slow,” she added. “It can define you as much as you want it to.”