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Reneé Rapp on ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Helping Her Come Out

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Renée Rapp is giving her MAX series, The Sex Lives of College Girls, major credit for helping her do one of the most difficult things she’s ever done: come out. 

In a new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, the 24-year-old “Snow Angel” singer opened up about how the show, which was co-created by Mindy Kaling, made her coming out process much easier than if she had gone about it another way. In Sex Lives, Rapp portrays Leighton Murray — an affluent (and sometimes pretentious) student at Essex College. 

In the show’s first season, Leighton is closeted until a pivotal moment with Pauline Chalamet‘s character where she tearfully admits to having been in a relationship with another woman. Rapp says that the role actually did more than aid in the acceptance process of herself, but also those around her who she previously may have been less confident about. 

“Look, this is good and bad. Being celebrated for being out because of a TV show or celebrity or success or something was really interesting because I think it forced a lot of people in my life and my family to have to accept me in a weird way, and in some ways that are twisted, like, ‘Damn, we could have done that a long time ago without her being on a TV show,'” she tells the outlet. 

Julia & Vincent/ The Hollywood Reporter

She added that the coming out scene with Chalamet, 32, felt like she wasn’t acting at all because of just how raw the emotions were at that moment. 

“However, I think it made it a lot easier in ways that pissed me off, but I’m also really grateful for. That (show) was the most parallel experience in my life, and I remember doing that specific coming out scene and not acting at all — at all. I was just sobbing. I see that and I don’t see a character. I’m like, ‘That’s me,'” Rapp shared.  

As Rapp continues to pursue her burgeoning music and acting careers — she most recently starred in the January 2024 reimagining of Mean Girls as Regina George (a role she previously played in the Broadway musical of the iconic 2004 film) — she has only gotten more comfortable discussing the reason behind her decision to leave the show, which also stars Alyah Chanelle Scott and Amrit Kaur. In 2023, after it was confirmed she was exiting as a series regular, a Max rep confirmed that she would recur in “a handful of episodes” before officially leaving. 

Last month, Rapp told Vanity Fair that one reason for the abrupt goodbye is that she feels much better about the state of her career than before. 

“The people in my life that I work with now care about me as a person,” she told the outlet. “And I think that is a difference from things I’ve experienced in the past.”

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