Meet Grand Army Actress Odley Jean

Grand Army is a raw portrayal of teenage life today. How would you say it’s different from other teen dramas like Euphoria and 13 Reasons Why?   

First off, I love Euphoria. I watched it like four times! But Grand Army, although you can see it’s a [young adult] show, it’s its own thing. I say that because it shows you the fast life of New York City and teens going through their experiences there, which is different, but also it calls out a lot of social norms that keep us in these generational chains. It shows you a different perspective of teens. It shows you teenagers actually raging and fighting and rising and speaking up and surviving. I feel that’s really important. Oftentimes, when we see teenagers on TV, we see them helpless or hopeless, and it can be discouraging sometimes. We need to stop seeing the same things and give the youth a voice and not show the same fall-from-grace teenage storyline. In Grand Army, you see kids protest, you see kids organize, you see kids stand up to adults that try to shut them up. You see kids make logical decisions and you see kids actually go through real traumatic experiences and rise above them. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something like that on TV. Euphoria, I got a feel of that too, but Grand Army digs deeper into more political, economical, social, and personal issues.  

This is your TV debut! Now that you’ve experienced a bit of that world, do you want to explore more of what the industry has to offer or continue in theater?

I would love to explore more. I haven’t done anything like Broadway or super huge, but I noticed that there is a difference between performing on stage and performing on camera, and I’ve always wanted to get on camera and get comfortable and stuff. So I would love to dive more into what you would call “Hollywood.” I feel like the production world is growing a lot more too, so I’m looking forward to exploring a lot with acting and possibly writing and creating. Who knows? But I’m open to that. 

Okay, I want to pivot to some fashion questions. How would you describe your style and how has it evolved over the last five years or so?

Well, I have to say in high school, I went shopping in the thrift stores and wore a lot of my mom’s clothes, so I am such a huge ’90s geek. I love baggy jeans. I love baggy sweaters. I am more of a comfort dresser, but at the same time, I could go boho. I just love oversize stuff. 

And being in New York, you have access to so many great vintage stores. 

Yeah! If you want to go classic New York, you throw on skinny jeans, some Timberlands, a T-shirt and a jacket, and some hoops. Because of all of this, it’s a new world for me, so I’m learning about how to put different things together and make it work and look nice. Yeah, fashion is still evolving here, but I would say in high school, you would have thought it was the ’90s if you saw me.