Kaia Gerber's Comedy Crash Course

In last summer's lesbian satire "Bottoms," there was this scene: Kaia Gerber's character is frustrated by her homework. "Who is Bell Hooks? Why do we care?" asked the high school cheerleader. Fast forward nine months to "Palm Royal ," and the Apple TV+ comedy has similar laughs: "I'm not a reader," says Gerber's character Mitzi, a medieval manicurist division. "I want to be a model."

These lines are a knowing wink to Gerber’s real life. "What's interesting is that the role I play is very different from my role in the literature department," the 22-year-old tells Bustle. "When I said that, my body got so tense, like, you can't say that! "

In addition to modeling on the world's biggest runways and performing alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Kristen Wiig and Carol Burnett, Gerber is a is a budding literature expert who runs the online book club Library Science.

Luckily, she got in on the on-screen jokes, which she attributes partly to Bottoms . “That’s what really made me fall in love with comedy,” she said of the film. "I didn't know it was something I could do. Being able to work with people like Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, who I think are two of the funniest people ever, I feel like I learned a lot."

Gerber plays Miz in "Royal Palms." Apple TV+

Kaia Gerber and the cast of "Bottoms." MGM

If "Bottoms" inspired Gerber's passion for comedy, then "Palm Royale " She then shot the film and gave it room to grow. (Spoilers ahead!)

More than 10 episodes, Mitzi goes from being the attentive confidante of Maxine (played by Wiig) to an independent but hesitant woman. In the season finale, which aired on May 8, she revealed that she was ready to try her hand at modeling and motherhood, the latter of which came about as a result of her affair with Maxine's husband.

Although Gerber is unsure of Miz's fate, she has become "very protective" of the character. "I'm curious about what people will watch the finale and hear what they think, because when you film something you're so close to it," she said. "I'm very biased against Mitzi."

Below, Gerber talks about her favorite looks on set, the laughs backstage, and the surprising ways she connects with her characters.

Apple TV+

Even though Miz says not to be a reader, you are. What book would you recommend she read at this tricky time in her life?

I would have Miz read Joan Didion, Eve Babitz, Bell Hooks. If she moves to New York, as she says she does, I'd have her read Just Kids (by Patti Smith) for a little inspiration. I would love to curate a book list for her.

Are there any elements of Mitzi that you personally influenced?

It’s hard to say how much of an influence I had on Miz and how much of an influence she had on me. In a lot of ways, she feels like me if I grew up in a very different environment. I could relate to a lot of what she was going through as a young woman and her struggles in a world that was probably more mature than she was.

Do you want to revive the look of that era?

[Costume designer] Alix [Friedberg] made me an amazing pair of jeans—very long, high-waisted bell-bottoms that were outstanding and quintessential to that era. If I had the time and energy, maybe my hair would be half the size of Mitzi's. I just don't know. But it was really fun to have that hair and makeup look.

Gerber attends the "Royal Palms" premiere with the cast. Robin Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Even the manicurist's overalls are so fun and effortless!

Yes! Surprisingly, underneath the blouse, there is an incredible outfit. People can’t even see it, but that’s how detail-oriented our entire team is.

What is your favorite behind-the-scenes memory from working with Kristen Wiig?

Kristen Wiig's physical comedy was on full display in episode five, when she threw herself into Ricky Martin, who plays Robert. I stood in the other room waiting for my cue, trying not to laugh before I had to slip into an uneasy state. It's hard to cry when Kristen Wiig is across from you.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.