19 oct 2023

Interview with Ester Expósito, Instagram star and suicidal influencer in her new film

At just 23, Ester Expósito has established herself as one of the most appreciated figures of her generation. With her magnetic charm, Spanish accent, and graceful face, the young actress takes the world by storm online and on the silver screen, especially since her acclaimed appearance at the Cannes Film Festival to present the latest film she stars in, Lost in the Night. Directed by Amat Escalante, the feature is now available in theaters. Numéro has met the influencer and actress. 

interview by Camille Bois-Martin.

In 2017, Ester Expósito saw her career take an internationally turn thanks to the Netflix series Elite. At the time, she was only 17 and still earning her stripes on theater stages in Madrid. She quickly became one of the most appreciated Gen Z stars. Her undeniable charm and talent made her a top actress, acclaimed for her work in Jaume Balagueró’s sultry thriller Venus (2022) and Manolo Caro’s dramatic mini-series Someone Has to Die (2020). A success story that spans from the big screen to our mobile phones. With 27 million followers on Instagram, Ester Expósito is now both a social media influencer and a genuine movie star. Lost in the Night, her latest project is proof. Directed by Amat Escalante and presented in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, she plays the role of a suicidal influencer tormented by her desires.

Interview with actress Ester Expósito, star of the Elite series and social networks


Numéro: In Amat Escalante’s film Lost in the Night, you play Mónica Aldama, a complex young woman torn between her family, desires, and convictions. Why did you take on this role?

Ester Expósito: This character is quite complex and antagonist. She has many layers and opposing desires and that’s what really attracts me to any role. I also loved the script – I knew I wanted to be part of Amat Escalante’s project the first time I read it. I didn’t really know his filmography, so I knew working with him would be challenging. I immersed myself in his works, watched The Untamed (2016), which showed me his unique and very dark perspective. I loved it and it raised a genuine curiosity in me about his work. I knew that taking part in one of his films would represent a real opportunity for growth, both in my career and personal life.


The plot of Lost in the Night is extremely dark. The storyline revolves around a murder, just like in the series Elite and Somebody’s Got to Die, in which you starred. Are you a huge thriller fan?

I don’t really know why, but I love thrillers and horror movies. Probably because I have a dark side myself. I really like this type of narratives, even if Amat Escalante’s plot is more of a drama or tragedy. I have been in many films like that, and I hope I’ll be able to do more in the future.


Do you plan to devote yourself to this cinematic genre?
No, I don’t really have a specific genre I’d like to devote my whole career to. I don’t want to be known for only one genre, and I’d love to explore all the possibilities. The more, the better!

Ester Expósito, the tormented heroine of the film Lost in the Night.


Thanks to Lost in the Night, you stepped on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival 2023 to present a film for the very first time. How did it feel? 
It was a landmark for me. I went to the Cannes Film Festival twice before, but as the guest of brands. The last time I went [in 2021], I promised myself I would come back to present a film – it really is a dream come true thanks to Amat Escalante’s film.


Did your stay in Cannes live up to your expectations?

Yes, it was crazy, everything happened so fast. People were telling me “put that on!”, “go there!”, “quick, that way!” (Laughs) But I loved it. In fact, I discovered the film for the first time there. I was so nervous because I can be very obsessive and demanding with myself. I was terrified to spend almost two hours watching myself on a big screen… But the result was great, so I had a fantastic time. All in all, my stay in Cannes was a wonderful experience.


In Amat Escalante’s film, your character has an ambiguous relationship with the one played by Juan Daniel García Treviño (Emiliano). Does it draw an accurate portrait of what teenagers can experience?

Yes, I’d say so. While their relationship is quite unique, there are some commonplaces to which we can identify, such as the desire we can feel for someone without really understanding it or knowing where it come from. Am I attracted to him because I like him? Or is it because he is mysterious, inaccessible, and represent a challenge? Everything that happens between the characters of Mónica and Emiliano questions feelings we all have felt before.

“The downside of Instagram is that we all end up comparing ourselves,” Ester Expósito


Mónica is an influencer who owes her success to videos of her faking her death on social media. According to you, what does it say about our relationship with these platforms?

She enacts these morbid scenes because she likes to shock her audience, but also because death fascinates her. She perceives it as an interesting thing rather than a terrible event. Therefore, faking her death is her way to get closer to it. Her story also allows us to reflect on the dangers of social media by creating a dark bridge between our real lives and our virtual presence.


You’re very active on social media yourself, particularly on Instagram, where you gather 27 million followers. How would you describe your relationship with Instagram?

I consider Instagram for what it is: a small portion of myself that is not meant to be more than what it is. It’s a tool which allows me to share my latest projects and a few moments of my life, without losing sight of the fact that it is not reality, and that the most beautiful and horrifying things happen off-screen. The upside of Instagram is that it keeps me in touch with the people who support me. But the downside is that we all end up comparing ourselves, but also getting addicted to these platforms and wasting our time online. I personally try to disconnect, to put down my phone from time to time, even if it is hard to do it as much as I’d like because of my work…


How do you choose what to share on social media?

I have total control over my social media. No one can tell me what I should or shouldn’t post, so what I share remains authentic. I don’t really think about my content, just about how much I share about my private life. I mostly post a lot of fashion photos, or some related to my latest projects.

“Success has changed my life forever. It feels like I’ve said goodbye to a part of myself that I’ll never see again,” Ester Expósito


In 2017, you were still a teenager when the series Elite became a hit. How did you adapt to this sudden change?

I got used to it little by little. My parents are pillars for me, reminding me never to forget what’s important and what’s not. It has really helped me not to lose sight of why I’m in this industry, and not to crush myself under the pressure of success and constant exposure. I’d say that the exposure is the most challenging aspect. My life has changed forever, and it feels like I’ve said goodbye to a part of myself that I’ll never see again. 


What influence do you think Elite had on the teenagers who watched it?

I think the series is now embedded in a generation that will remember it as the series of their teenage years. Young people can see themselves in all the contrasting emotions felt by the characters. Nothing is ever good or bad, black or white. Everyone’s story is made up of mistakes, bad decisions… that’s life! The series also tackles themes such as polyamorous relationships, homosexuality, friendship, and social inequality, all of which are key issues to address when growing up. I think that’s exactly what have made Elite so successful.


In addition to the success of the series, the world has recently witnessed a global appetite and recognition of the Spanish culture, both in the film and music industries…

Yes, and I feel great being part of this success. Spain is full of unique personalities who want to share their own visions. To see so many people from my home country going so far, with the wildest productions being broadcast all over the world thanks to platforms like Netflix, is unbelievable. I hope I’d be able to keep supporting the Spanish industry in the future, although I’d also like to discover new cultures and work in other languages, like English. I’ve already performed in English on stage, but I’d love to star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Who knows?


Lost in the Night (2023) by Amat Escalante, starring Ester Expósito, out now.