Miles Heizer Is A Netflix Sensation

Miles Heizer Is A Netflix Sensation

The '13 Reasons Why' actor is taking on roles that are defining the next generation.

The '13 Reasons Why' actor is taking on roles that are defining the next generation.

Photography: Luke Gilford

Styling: Sean Knight

Text: Lisa Mischianti

This article appears in the pages of VMAN39, available on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com

Long before the dawn of Netflix, Miles Heizer was binge-watching television. “I remember when I was growing up, for me and my mom it used to be our favorite thing to go to Blockbuster and rent a TV show [to watch all at once],” recalls the Kansas native of his pioneering take on the viewing method du jour. “We did that with Dexter and we were like, This is so cool! It’s so much better watching it this way!”

It seems only fitting that Heizer was an early adopter of the phenomenon that would one day solidify his stardom. After spending six years as a regular cast member on the NBC family drama Parenthood, Heizer hit a bit of a career lull. He moved to Nashville and was ready to abandon acting altogether when his manager brought him the script for the now-famous Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Heizer landed the major role of Alex Standall, and when season one of the show garnered sudden, explosive popularity (as well as some controversy for its teen suicide subject matter), the spike in Heizer’s public profile was proportionally epic.

“I was so used to being on a show that comes out week by week in a very slow process. It’s so strange that you work for such a long period of time, like half a year, and then all in one day everyone watches it,” explains Heizer. “And it was definitely weird as far as social media goes. It was very much overnight, going from no followers to having, like, a million followers. My friends were all texting me and making fun of me about that!”

Heizer is now fresh off filming the hotly anticipated second season of 13 Reasons, and this March you can spot him in the big-screen dramedy Love, Simon, which centers on the story of a closeted gay teen and has Twitter buzzing with excitement over its LGBT narrative positioned for a mass audience.

“It’s so cool to have a mainstream studio movie about someone who’s dealing with their sexuality,” notes Heizer. “Most movies about that are smaller, and people have to go out of their way to see them. [Many of those movies] don’t even come out in some parts of the country.” Coincidentally, the film also features his 13 Reasons co-star Katherine Langford, making for a deja-vu-inducing filming experience: “We’re shooting in a high school, and Katherine is there, but it’s not 13 Reasons Why—very weird,” quips Heizer.

But really, considering Heizer’s whole body of work, the high school setting has all but become his second home. “It feels like I’m constantly living in a high school hallway,” says Heizer with a chuckle. “We’re all too old to be in high school, but we’re all still living it.” The ultimate irony is, despite his endless days spent in class and cafeterias, he never attended a traditional high school himself. “I did, like, a weird charter school. You basically taught yourself, and I had the same teacher the whole time. I actually recently ran into his wife and she was like, Yeah, Mike still has your diploma—you never picked it up!” At this point, he’s more than earned it.

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Credits: GROOMER NIKKI PROVIDENCE, PHOTO ASSISTANT JACK JULIAR, STYLIST ASSISTANT INDIA MADONNA, LOCATION ERWIN HOTEL.

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