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‘The Girlfriend Expertise’ follows a scientist escort in Season 3

Julia Goldani Telles, known as rebellious teenager Whitney Solloway in The Affair, stars in season 3 of Steven Soderbergh’s star anthology series The Girlfriend Experience.

The new season starts on Sunday (May 2nd) at 8 p.m. and follows Iris (Telles), an American student in London who works as a neuroscientist at a tech startup during the day. At night she works in a mysterious futuristic escort agency. Soon she starts using her night job to inform her day job and is fixated on using data to analyze desire.

“When I first saw it [‘The Girlfriend Experience’] I was maybe 21 or 22 years old and played the daughter on ‘The Affair’, ”26-year-old Telles told The Post. “I played a young character and felt very young in many aspects of my life. I couldn’t imagine anyone hiring me for the role. But I’m really glad they did.

“That’s a really intelligent woman who’s a scientist,” said Telles. “She has different worlds in which she interacts and she presents different versions of herself in each of them. I love how forward-looking the show is [and] I love the interface between technology and desire. Something I thought was helpful to the character is that there is a master class with this guy, Chris Voss who is a former FBI hostage taker, and he talks about how you negotiate and think back to someone in a terrible quote what he wants while he secretly has your own agenda.

Photo shows Julia Goldani Telles as Iris, who is sitting in a restaurant and holding a glass.Julia Goldani Telles plays Iris, an American student in London who works as a neuroscientist at a tech startup. Ed Miller

“I thought that was one of the main characters in Iris.”

Based on Soderbergh’s 2009 film of the same name, each season of The Girlfriend Experience features a different star (including Riley Keogh and Carmen Ejogo) and a different storyline that involves the world of high-end escorts. The focus on intimacy makes it similar in context to “The Affair,” which ended its run on Showtime in 2019.

“I think intimacy and sex are a crucial part of being human and we all have a keen interest in it, so it’s not surprising that there are many shows that show sex on television,” said Telles. “What sets ‘Girlfriend Experience’ apart from ‘The Affair’ is that ‘The Affair’ was kind of a Rashomon-style family drama and ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ has more science fiction overtones this season. It’s more about: “What is it like when a scientist puts himself at the center of his own experiment? Is that ethical, what are the effects of it and what can it do? [Iris] really quantify human desire? ‘”

Photo of Julia Goldani Telles as Iris standing in a swimming pool.Telles follows in the footsteps of Riley Keogh and Carmen Ejogo.Aimee Spinks

Telles said Soderbergh was there for guidance, but the season was mostly in the hands of showrunner Anja Marquardt, a Berlin-born filmmaker.

“I think what’s so cool about this franchise is that Steven created this amazing opportunity for independent filmmakers to direct, write and produce an entire season of television,” she said. “He’s Anja’s biggest fan and he really let her fly with it. But he was always available when I needed to text him and ask a question or speak for encouragement. So it was a great balance. “

Like her character, Telles is currently a student herself.

“I study sociology and have been in Columbia since I was 19 – and now I’m 26,” she said. I need a lot of time because I do a semester here and there between projects.

“Maybe I’ll graduate when I’m 100 years old.”