Meet Cute With Darren Barnet
December 18, 2021
Love Hard star and professional Netflix Crush Darren Barnet answers your burning questions.
Welcome to “Meet Cute,” where we get up close and sometimes personal with our newest crush. This time around, we’re chatting with Darren Barnet about his new Netflix holiday feature, Love Hard.
Barnet made his Netflix debut playing heartthrob Paxton Hall-Yoshida in Never Have I Ever, and now he’s adding another swoon-worthy role to his resumé. In this Christmas romance, Barnet plays Tag, an outdoorsy nice guy who doesn’t know his old friend, Josh (Jimmy O. Yang), is using his photos in a dating profile. But, when Natalie (Nina Dobrev) falls for Josh and decides to fly across the country to surprise him for Christmas, Tag unwittingly becomes part of a unique and chaotic love triangle.
To celebrate Love Hard, we asked Barnet to fill out our Meet Cute dating profile and tell us what being a Netflix crush is all about.
Name: Darren Barnet
Netflix projects: Never Have I Ever and Love Hard
Instagram account: @darrenbarnet
DOB: April 27
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Hometown: Los Angeles and Orlando
Favorite food: Katsu ramen with some chicken, mushrooms, green onions. And I take a side of kimchi sometimes.”
Favorite Netflix show: Stranger Things is up there. I’m really looking forward to them coming back. They’ve been gone for a minute.
On a first date, I always… pay, but I have not been on a first date in a very long time. And I was very broke when I had my last real first date. I always smile.
My perfect date would be… just hiking and coffee. Just something without too much crazy expectation, where you can feel free to get to know each other. You get to talk [on a hike]. I never understood going to a movie for a first date. It’s like, you say, “Hello,” and then you have to be silent for two hours. That’s, like, a second date.
My worst dating experience was… when a girl tried to take me into a Hustler store to look at sex paraphernalia. And I barely knew her. I said I had to go home. And I did.
My current Netflix crush is… Úrsula Corberó from Money Heist.
Do you believe in soulmates?
Yeah, but I don’t believe you can always wind up together, or you can always be together.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in infatuation at first sight. Love is living with them for two years and not minding them leaving their dirty socks all over the room, or whatever pet peeve you have, and then still liking them and loving them. That’s love. But you can’t know that by looking at someone, come on!”
How has being a Netflix crush changed your life?
It hasn’t. Never Have I Ever came out during the pandemic, and the pandemic [has yet to] stop. I’ve been shooting a lot and doing my thing. I haven’t gotten around town much in terms of any social events or anything like that. So, it hasn’t really changed at all.
In Love Hard, Natalie lies about her personality to get Tag to fall for her, while Josh lies about his looks. Which do you think is worse?
They’re both equally bad, but [lying about your] appearance is worse. And it’s more difficult to hide. As a person, you can have a gauge [of someone’s personality] regardless of if they’re trying to be fake. You can kind of sniff that out, but looks — that is just utter lying. If I showed up and someone was less attractive, or like it was an older photo or something like that, OK, but if you’re using [photos of] a completely different person… That is such deception! That is just kind of maniacal. And then you choose to meet the person! That’s kind of crazy to me.
In Never Have I Ever, Paxton is the high school heartthrob, but in Love Hard, Tag is the nice guy who finishes last. Was that a fun change?
That was fun to play. And that’s what also made it challenging. [With] Jimmy and Nina, everybody was worried about, “How are we going to sell that she ends up with Jimmy’s character?” Because there’s nothing really unlikeable about Tag. It was really fun to play, but it also reflects reality a little bit more. There’s not always a very clear choice. It’s not always plain as day.
What drew you to Love Hard?
I was laughing out loud when I was reading it, and there was no question, knowing Jimmy and Nina were attached. I knew I was going to love working with them. I had a wonderful time. At the base of this movie, as cliché as it may sound, it’s really about being yourself. Don’t hide the light you have inside you, because it probably shines brighter than you think. The more you try and dull it by being someone else, the more you’re robbing yourself.