Bryce Dallas Howard‘s Black Mirror character may revolve her life around social media, but that wasn’t the case for the actress in real life.
“Yeah I just started social media,” she told PEOPLE. “Yeah, this was just one of those things that was impossible to say no to.”
Howard also admitted that it was a special group of fans that helped her make the leap onto the social networking platforms.
“There’s this group of young women who have formed really incredible friendships and they call themselves ‘The Bryce Squad’… and before I joined social media, that was part of the reason that I wanted to join,” the 35-year-old said. “I was like, ‘Wow, they’re so supportive and wonderful.’ ”
In the first episode of Black Mirror season three, fans are introduced to Lacie Pound (Howard) a woman who lives in a society where social media and ratings run your life. The audience sees Lacie deal with both the negative and positive aspects, something that Howard has witnessed firsthand since joining.
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“[There was] this really interesting thing that I noticed,” she said. “I felt actually protected by [the squad], because when there’s a comment that isn’t right, my husband will notice he’ll say, ‘I saw something that popped up and [the squad] responded so fast!’ ”
“I was like, ‘Oh my god… they’re like my guardian angels,’ ” Howard added.
The actress’ squad isn’t just there to fight off the negative comments on her social media accounts, the group actually surprised the actress with an influx of loving messages for her 35th birthday.
“When it was my 35th birthday and shooting ‘Nosedive’… I came home, I was in Cape Town and I was missing my family,” she recalled, “and I got on social media and there were all these birthday messages. I was weeping.”
“I actually sent [the squad] a video and said, ‘Please don’t post this but you have no idea what this meant to me and this gesture of kindness is unbelievable,’ ” Howard added. “We think of social media being this superficial thing but it can really touch you.”