The moment that Netflix Geeked dropped the first look at the genre-blending vampire romance First Kill, the buzz has been buzzing. The series, in which a vampire hunter and a vampire fall in love despite the deep loathing their respective families have for one another, was instant catnip in a post-Vampire Diaries world. The fact that both of the main characters were young women? That sealed the deal for fans hungry for representation, as vampire shows and films historically haven’t been that great about race or queerness despite their origin stories in literature: Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla was the first lesbian vampire and scholars have argued that many aspects of Dracula speak to Bram Stoker’s own queerness.
From the second that series leads Imani Lewis and Sarah Catherine Hook — who play vampire hunter Calliope “Cal” Burns and vampire Juliette Fairmont, respectively — got their eyes on the project, they knew they wanted to play these characters. First Kill isn’t either actresses’ first brush with horror. Imani was in Netflix’s Vampires vs The Bronx as the influencer and streamer Gloria while Sarah Catherine played Debbie, one of the characters terrorized by the supernatural in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Gloria, in Vampires vs The Bronx was more of a narrator and framing device, a storyteller sharing what was going on in her neighborhood. Debbie, in The Conjuring 3, was haunted by monsters, but didn’t get the chance to be one. First Kill captured both women’s interest because of how different their roles were from what they’d worked on previously.
“It’s really, really exciting being a vampire,” Sarah Catherine tells Teen Vogue. “I didn’t know that I would have so much fun being a vampire, honestly.” For her, the fangs were the kicker, the thing that really helped her realize how much fun she was going to have in the role.
“The first time that I put my fangs [on], I was so happy, I kept going around to everyone, the crew, just being like, ‘Have you seen my fangs?’” she shares, setting off laughter from herself and Imani at the memory. “Like I was just showing them off all the time. They even let me keep them, which was so generous of them. I am just so thankful to have my fangs in my bathroom at all times, just in case I need them.”