The college experience is getting a new spin in the HBO Max series The Sex Lives of College Girls, created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble.
The show follows four college roommates “as they arrive at New England’s prestigious Essex College. A bundle of contradictions and hormones, these girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating as they live out their new, free lives on campus.”
The series stars leads Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Reneé Rapp and Alyah Chanelle Scott with Midori Francis, Gavin Leatherwood, Chris Meyer, Ilia Isorelys Paulino, Lauren Spencer and Renika Williams also starring.
Shadow and Act recently spoke with Chalamet, Kaur, Rapp, Scott, Kaling and Noble ahead of the series premiere.
The Sex Lives of College Girls actually has major Never Have I Ever vibes, another series Kaling and Noble worked on together.
She told us, “I met Justin on Never Have I Ever. I remember thinking when I was working with him, because he had worked on Brooklyn Nine-Nine for years, and I’d heard so much about him. But I was like, ‘This guy is so good at nailing these young women’s voices, and he seemed to love it.’ And then when we were starting on the new show, I was like, ‘Maybe he’d be interested.'”
On the Never Have I Ever comparison, Noble added, “I think tonally there are similarities between the two, but I would say the biggest difference to me is Never Have I Ever has such a strong drive that I have always loved from like Devi’s personal experience dealing with grief and things like that. And everything else…the fun ensemble parts of it, [they] all kind of feed into that and you get the comedy with the drama. Whereas our show, what’s something Mindy and I really wanted to explore was like how weird it is when you go away to college and you’re randomly assigned to live three strangers. When else in your life are you told, ‘You will now live in a tiny room with three people you’ve never met before…these are their names.’ That’s all you know about them. So it felt like more of a go-to ensemble situation.”
For the leading ladies, they were ready to inject their own experiences into their characters.
“I definitely had a college experience,” said Scott, who plays Whitney. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I went to school at the University of Michigan. So I similarly went far away from home, and also similarly I’m on my own for the first time. And I think I grew up in a space where I couldn’t really explore myself in terms of my blackness and my sexuality and really finding who I am. And so going to a big school, you’re just like a little bitty fish in this huge pond. There’s this freedom in that and also this shocking sense of like, ‘I have no clue what I’m doing. I have no clue who I am. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes on the way to figuring it out.'”
Rapp, who makes the jump from Broadway (Mean Girls) to television with the series, talked about how her character, Leighton, is similar to her stint on stage.
“It was really cool [and] it was also kind of fun, because when I was in Mean Girls I was a teenager, and now I’m like a full adult. [laughs]That was in high school. So I’m kind of going from high school to college in real-time, and I didn’t have a collegiate experience until now, so this is it. And the character is similar, but things are also different just in the fact that you have six months to work on something. So inherently, there’s going to be more layers and more things to explore. And it’s also fun because I feel like I’m growing with a kind of character who’s not doing the best things, but she’s trying to be…OK, maybe she will be [laughs] We’ll see. But yeah, love to hate her.
The first two episodes of the show are streaming now on HBO Max.
Watch the interviews below: