‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ star Reneé Rapp feared homophobia, ‘slut-shaming’

A woman with long blond hair wearing a white sweater, holding a notebook and a pen and sitting on a plaid couch
Reneé Rapp as Leighton Murray in “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”
(Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max)

Warning: This story contains spoilers for Season 2 of “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”

“The Sex Lives of College Girls” star Reneé Rapp has opened up about the anxiety she experienced when the first season of the hit series debuted on HBO Max.

The 22-year-old actor revealed Tuesday in an interview with People magazine that she was “really afraid for the show to come out” in 2021 because she “felt very judged” at the time.


In the young-adult dramedy, Rapp plays Leighton Murray, a posh member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at the fictional Essex College who begins to openly date women for the first time in Season 2 after coming out as gay to her roommates.

“When the first season came out, I had different people in my life,” Rapp told People. “I didn’t feel comfortable.”

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Rapp, who previously starred in “Mean Girls” on Broadway, added that she “luckily” has a better support system now and was “actually very excited” for the premiere of Season 2, which began streaming last month.

“I felt much more comfortable to not be terrified to hear something either homophobic or slut-shaming or things like that,” she told People.

Created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, “The Sex Lives of College Girls” stars Rapp, Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur and Alyah Chanelle Scott as roommates juggling school, friendship, work and romance during their freshman year at Essex. The second season sees Leighton begin to embrace her sexuality, which Rapp compared to her own experiences as a bisexual woman.

“I don’t think I ever really dealt with those emotions as outwardly as Leighton did,” she told People. “I kind of ... just let s— go, in a bad way.”


By the end of the show’s sophomore season, Leighton decides to leave Kappa and spend more time at Essex’s Women‘s Center, where she met her first college girlfriend and feels more at home. As for what to expect in Season 3, Rapp said she wants Leighton to “find someone who is really, really, really good for her” and “become best, best, best friends” with Scott’s Whitney.

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