(Cannes) American actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, closing guest of honor at the Canneseries festival in southeastern France, reflects on the cult 90s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a series “not just about every girl , but on each person who felt a little different.”

“I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved, proud of who I am as a person,” the 46-year-old actress, Canneseries guest of honor, told a crowd on Wednesday. full house.

“I think I have more confidence in myself now” than at the beginning of my career, continued the one who played for generations of teenagers in the late 90s the vampire slayer Buffy, in the series of the same name. A saga that ended twenty years ago.

“We realize that Buffy exists, that she is a human being and that she is charming, accessible, generous, she is the icon of icons”: it is in these terms that Albin Lewi, artistic director de Canneseries, introduced the American star, dressed in a flamboyant green and blue striped dress.

“As an actor, you may be hoping for the chance in your life to be part of a television program, a movie, a play that means something to people and continues to have meaningful,” said the actress, who has just returned to film sets after a ten-year hiatus to focus on her family.

She is currently starring in the series Wolf Pack, of which she is also a producer, broadcast on Paramount.

“I feel incredibly lucky that Buffy is still relevant to today’s television landscape,” continued Sarah Michelle Gellar, “and that every generation not only enjoys watching the series, but relates to it, even as the world has moved on.” .

In the seven seasons and 144 episodes of this cult series, created by Joss Whedon and broadcast from 1997 to 2003, Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy Summers, an American teenager without history designated as the chosen one to fight, with her friends, against the vampires and the forces of evil.

“When I read the script, I loved it,” said the actress, who was just 17 when she was cast in the role. “It was so different” from what was happening then. “At that time, we weren’t giving actors of that age stories that made so much sense and I absolutely wanted to be part of that.”

Like my character, “I lived in two worlds: I was the youngest of the actors on the show, but I had the most experience”, recounted the one who began to frequent the film sets at the age four years old and has starred in more than a hundred commercials, dozens of series, but also in successful films such as Remember Last Summer, Scream 2, Sex Intentions, Scooby-Doo or The Grudge.

It was “similar to how Buffy was trying to find her place between adolescence and adulthood”, continued Sarah Michelle Gellar, for whom the monsters and demonic creatures fought by the heroine were “just a metaphor for the horrors of adolescence”.

With this series, “it was not just about each girl, but each person who was maybe a little different, who did not quite fit the mold”, developed the one who received in Cannes a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Watching Buffy helped me move on in life, because when I was little I was separated from my mom. I struggled to find some sort of identity as a result of my issues and found myself through her. I’ve been watching Buffy for 26 years,” says 37-year-old Dorine Constantin, who took a ten-hour train ride from Switzerland to see her flesh-and-blood idol, with great emotion.