The last three semesters as The Good Five Cent Cigar’s entertainment editor––and the two years before this time as a reporter––have provided me with some tremendous opportunities to meet some pretty great people, cover some pretty great events and, in my opinion, write some pretty great stories.
So perhaps it’s only fitting that on Thursday, the day after my final production night in the Memorial Union basement and just hours after the final issue of the semester hit the stands, I got what I’d consider my greatest opportunity yet. Along with many other amazing student journalists from colleges and universities across the country, I had the privilege of interviewing the four main cast members of HBO Max’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”
If you happened to read my previous article on the show, you know that I absolutely adore it. Leighton (Reneé Rapp), Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott), Bela (Amrit Kaur) and Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) quickly became four of my favorite characters on television right now. It can be hard to find multiple characters that you both love and relate to all within one show, and by some miracle it seems, co-creators Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble managed to give me four.
Capturing the college experience is no easy feat, and even the moments I can’t directly relate to, I can enjoy and understand.
“I think as accurate as shows can be, they’ll never capture the entire experience that everyone has like college,” Scott said. “It’s a very specific experience that they’re capturing on the show.”
On Monday, it was announced that the show was renewed for a second season, and I’m so glad I knew this information before watching the finale and the last-minute cliffhanger it was left on. With just 10 episodes in the first season and nine of them clocking in at around 27-30 minutes, I was left needing more, and, thankfully, it’s coming.
“Every character has their thing to like, either stray away from or come into,” Rapp said. “I think that the oncoming depth will be really, really crucial in the second season and also probably serve the characters and watchers/viewers.”
As for Kaur, she said she finds the dynamic between the four roommates and their friendship to be interesting, and she looks forward to exploring more of that in the second season.
Personally, I love a good romance, and “College Girls” has delivered many great ships––I’m rooting hardcore for Whitney and Canaan and hope that Leighton and Alicia can make it as well––but like Kaur, I found greater interest in the girls’ friendships and their personal character growth and development, both within and outside of these relationships.
When Leighton first arrives at the fictional Essex College, she assumes she’ll be rooming with two friends from home. Instead, she ends up in a suite with three strangers. Navigating living with people is hard enough, but throw in strangers, your first time living away from home and trying to find yourself — there’s so much to be explored. “College Girls” has a lot of potential for all four girls and their relationships going into the second season that I can’t wait for them to explore. I trust in the writing and the cast that it will live up to it.
If you took a look at our latest issue, you’ll also know Spotify Wrapped has been my biggest obsession of the month along with “College Girls,” so, naturally, I had to combine my love for the two with my question.
In case you (like me) were wondering what Leighton, Bela, Whitney and Kimberly’s top artists on Spotify would be according to the actors that play them, don’t fear, I have you covered.
“I think Whitney’s would be Jack Harlow probably,” Scott said. “And because a lot of the controversy around him, people are like, ‘he’s just a mediocre-looking white guy.’ And some people are like, ‘we love, we die,’ and I feel like Whitney would love and die for him.”
Scott’s answer got lots of laughs from her fellow castmates and is completely accurate in my opinion. Have you seen Coach Dalton? If you (unfortunately) have, the good news is that we probably won’t have to see him again. Rapp and everyone on the Zoom call were in agreement in the relief felt in that chapter of Whitney’s life seemingly being over.
Chalamet went for Taylor Swift for her character Kimberly, and Scott pointed out that Kimberly does in fact have a Swift poster in her dorm room, proving that they really do know their characters.
Kaur believes aspiring comedy writer Bela would be racking up her listening minutes on Seth Meyer audio, but that British rapper M.I.A. would be her go-to recording artist.
Rapp, who has spoken about the similarities between her and Leighton, particularly in their both being members of the LGBTQIA+ community, said that her character’s music taste would be similar to her own.
“Frank Ocean would be her everything,” Rapp said. “Queer, sad, it’s all there.”
After enjoying the show and finally getting that college representation on TV that I’d been yearning for, getting to speak to the cast with other college journalists felt like a treat. The success of “College Girls” and its second season renewal are indicators that there is a gap in the market and they are ready to fill it.
Even though many of us are going through final exams and projects and trying to finish our semester out as strong as possible, the other students and I agreed that it was worth taking the time out of our busy schedules to binge the series and speak to the cast. To have this opportunity really made me feel seen and heard in a way the industry hasn’t before, and the cast seemed just as excited as us to be on that Zoom call.
“I’m really excited to talk to all of you because I think college journalism is, like, great,” Chalamet (Kimberly) said to kick things off. “It’s like the beginning, and it’s cool. Nobody’s jaded, and the questions are often amazing.”
Not to brag, but all four of the women did say that my question was great. After years spent pouring my heart into this paper, it felt good to be recognized in this way.
This is my final article as entertainment editor for The Cigar, and it’s been an honor, but as I close this door, this experience has reminded me that I am opening a new one, and I can’t wait to see what else is behind it.