Many know and love Hilary Duff from the iconic Lizzie McGuire where the 13-year-old character and her best friends Miranda (Lalaine) and Gordo (Adam Lamberg) ride the rollercoaster experience of middle school. Over a decade later, she starred in Younger, giving us Kelsey—who forged her dream career path, inspiring the many millennials who followed the same trajectory and could relate to the ambition and struggle.

Now, Hilary has stepped into another fan favourite world that is utterly relatable – How I Met Your Father, a spin-off of How I Met Your Mother, a 30-minute sit-com on dating, relationships and friendships.

In this series, Sophie (Kim Catrall) in the near future tells her son the story of how she met his father. We then meet young Sophie (played by Hilary) in 2021 navigating online dating disasters and modern day relationships and more as she enjoys all that New York City has to offer with her new group of friends – Chris Lowell, Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran and Suraj Sharma. The series premieres on Disney+ today.

In a video interview, Duff, who is also a producer on the series, shared that even though Sophie has lived a different life than hers, she was able to relate to the character. “I absolutely feel like she’s open, and she’s warm, and she’s dorky and she puts herself out there time and time again, and I feel connected to all of those things,” Duff said. “She is a little bit damaged, but she doesn’t lead with that. I also relate to that. Her pain or her strife isn’t at the forefront, like, of course, it’s there, but she is just so positive and doesn’t get down and she just keeps trying, and I really love that quality in her.”

Of where her character stands in the pilot episode Duff says: “I think I have that as well and it’s definitely not perfect, but I do try to be positive and choose happiness. She has a lot of things to be bummed about, like her life hasn’t quite shaped up the way that she thought it would by now. But she’s also going to find the positive spin on everything. That’s the first episode when the love thing doesn’t work out with someone that she’s really hopeful about, like lightning strikes that night in New York City and she meets this group of people that’s going to help her find herself and she’s going to do the same for them. It’s this really sweet kind of moment of finding your people and finding your place and then all going on the journey together.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by How I Met Your Father (@himyfonhulu)

Online Dating in Today’s Times

When it comes to the theme of online dating in today’s times, the cast could certainly relate. One thing they wanted to share is that the stigma about online dating apps needs to change.

Chris Lowell, who plays Jesse, said: “I think we all have friends who are very much in this world of online dating and it’s tough. I think, what’s important, Hilary brought this up earlier, that I think there used to be a lot of shame around dating online, like if you met somebody on an online dating app, that it was somehow less special than if you met someone in real life. And I think that’s a good thing to get rid of.”

“One of the things that’s so great about the show is that while we see these characters engaging with the dating apps as one avenue to finding love, I think there’s also this underlying message that it’s not a surefire way to meet the person that you’re meant to be with. It’s not the only way to meet the person that you’re meant to be with; there are other ways to meet people. We’ve found a way to do it since whenever these apps came out. So it stands to reason that we can continue to do so. I think it’s fun to really just watch these characters navigate that dating landscape, because it’s a completely different one than most of us are used to.”

As Duff, Lowell and Tran join us over a virtual video interview, the chemistry between the actors is palpable. Their energy is what bleeds into their onscreen roles. Lowell shared that it came naturally for them. “We all got along immediately. It felt like lightning in a bottle. We’re six extraordinarily different people with very different lifestyles and different backgrounds and it doesn’t make sense that we were able to get along so well so quickly. But I think that we really genuinely do love being around each other and I think that our off-camera chemistry is so strong that it just makes our on-camera chemistry that much stronger.”

Duff jumped in and added: “I feel like that’s a testament to like the people that you should surround yourself with. They should be all different from you; that you should be learning from them. You shouldn’t all fit together like, absolutely perfectly where you guys are all the same like that; that is not what my friend circle looks like. So it’s really nice that that is an honest representation of our real group of cast members that we all happen to be friendly and loving towards each other. But like, that is mirroring what’s on the pages, and it’s just kind of what we’re getting to just be authentic and that really cool. We support each other, we show up to watch scenes that we’re not in just because we want to watch the other people work sometimes.“

She continued, “It was a fun space and I think a lot of us were a little scared to get our whole hearts in it because you know how hard it is to get a TV show to run for a second season or a third. Like all of us were just holding our breath a little bit. But I think from the first table read that we all had together where we got to like take our masks off and just read the words out loud. We all had goosebumps at the end. We’re like, well, that felt pretty good, right out of the gate. Everyone did what they needed to do and exceeded expectations.”

Tran, who plays Ellen, echoed the same sentiments and added, “I would say a lot of that is fostered too by Pam and Hillary and Isaac and Elizabeth. Everyone leads with such kindness that to come into that space with anything different would be… it just simply wouldn’t work. So I think the environment that is being fostered and what we’re working in is already so loving, and so warm. It just makes it easy to show up to work every day. It’s like a true joy.”

Canadians can stream How I Met Your Father on Disney+ starting March 9, followed by new episodes weekly.

Read more:
Bridgerton‘s Kathryn Drysdale Is Having Her Moment
Zoë Chao Is Finding Beauty in the Mysteries of Life
Mandy Moore Pushes For A Walk to Remember Reboot Starring Olivia Rodrigo