Zoey Deutch's 'Not Okay' Outfits Are Supposed to Be Cringe

The Hulu satirical comedy's leading lady chatted with InStyle about going viral for all of the wrong reasons.

Zoey Deutch
Photo: BFA

When an inside peek at Zoey Deutch's new Hulu film, Not Okay, first hit our feeds earlier this summer, people were immediately interested. Though few details of the film had been released at the time, the internet definitely took notice, sharing, commenting on, and critiquing the pictures (and more specifically, those outfits) hundreds of times over, which skyrocketed the satirical comedy's title, and Deutch's character Danni Sanders, to a level of relevancy rivaling social platforms' most beloved influencers themselves.

The discourse surrounding Deutch's character — a lonely 20-something who faked a Parisian trip in an effort to impress a boy, only to go viral for pretending to survive a terrorist attack (oof) — continues to grow. And according to Deutch, this conversation (and controversy) is exactly what she and director Quinn Shepard had hoped for all along.

"All of it is intended to be meta," Deutch told InStyle. "Even the TikTok account that we had while shooting it and how many followers, how many views, how many people were so interested and loved Danni without even knowing what this movie or who the character was. It was all intended to be kind of meta."

The TikTok account in question (@notokaymovie) served as a sort of marketing powerhouse for the film, nodding to the movie's social-media-based premise while simultaneously generating a huge amount of buzz. Since its August 2021 creation, the profile's behind-the-scenes clips — and very important shots of a platinum blonde Dylan O'Brien — have racked up an impressive 12.6 million likes in total (and even more views), which Deutch admits came as an unexpected surprise.

"It was Quinn and my idea," she said of the branded account. "We made the TikTok, and then it definitely blew up way more than we thought it would, and we were really lucky that [the film studio] was such a great partner in allowing us to go this more unconventional route, which was really cool and different and obviously a very different marketing strategy than most studios go."

Another aspect of the film that garnered quite a bit of attention? Danni's aforementioned micro-trend-filled wardrobe, which they found inspiration for — you guessed it! — on TikTok. Long before the clean girl aesthetic reigned supreme, we had the brightly patterned pants and plaid two-piece sets of the avant basic era, both of which Deutch's character sports throughout the film.

"We were really interested in specifically capturing this one moment in time, summer 2021, those trends," Deutch said. "And of course, we knew that this summer, the trends would be very different. And that's sort of also the point of it, that trends would move so quickly and we all jump on board things so quickly."

But while everything from the movie's marketing techniques to its fashion choices may point to a tiny blip in the grand scheme of the 2020's, Zoey maintains that Not Okay's theme is not only universal — "[Danni] doesn't do this initially for online flexing or clout. She does it for connection and attention from a boy. It's a very timeless story just with a very current world." — but incredibly relevant.

"I think the film was really timely, not just with bright, fun, of-the-moment beauty and fashion trends made popular with social media, but with deeper issues like demanding accountability and transparency," Zoey said. "Quinn, the writer and director, was inspired to write the script when she felt really overwhelmed by the endless scroll of headlines and influencer scandals, cancel culture, sponsored ads for skincare that made you forget the world, but there are really serious things happening in the world."

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