Inside “Sex Lives of College Girls” Season 2: Leighton’s “Hoe Era,” Whitney’s Crush Crisis, and More

“We're all naive. We're all naive as f*ck,” Reneé Rapp jokes to Teen Vogue.
Inside “Sex Lives of College Girls” Season 2 Leightons “Hoe Era” Whitneys Crush Crisis and More
Courtesy of HBO Max

Classes are back in session in HBO’s Sex Lives of College Girls season 2, and our girls Bela (Amrit Kaur), Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet), Leighton (Reneé Rapp), and Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) have made their return to Essex College. From the looks of it, we’re in for a wild ride.

Mindy Kaling’s hit comedy series left us with a few cliffhangers and unanswered questions in the season 1 finale — so when Teen Vogue received an invitation to visit the show’s set at the Warner Bros. studios, we jumped on the opportunity to catch up with the cast and find out more of what we can expect in the upcoming season.

Dorm room sets from Sex Lives of College GirlsHonestine Fraser

The show’s four protagonists are headed home for Thanksgiving break at the end of season 1 after spending the first few months of their freshman year of college discovering themselves, experimenting, and of course, partying. Season 2 will pick right back up after break, and the four dormmates will be returning back to school with “a different attitude,” according to the show’s co-creator Justin Noble. “They have goals in mind from curve balls that were thrown their way at the end of season one. They know what they have to do, and they just hit the ground running trying to achieve those goals.” 

The day of our set visit was the last day of filming, and Noble’s very first time directing, ever. 

“It was so interesting to work more hands-on with the cast and talk in greater depth about the characters than I ever had the luxury of doing before because we tried to respect the director/actor relationship during other episodes,” he shares. “So hearing what Pauline's deep feelings were on Kimberly in a scene or Amrit during a very tough scene for Bela was fascinating. And I think it'll just make me all the more equipped to write interesting things for them in the future.”

Expect to see all four girls continuing to learn how to navigate their own unique college experiences and the ups and downs that come with it. “Whitney's having an identity crisis, so that's great,” Alyah Chanelle Scott shares with Teen Vogue. “She's trying to figure it out.” And while she reevaluates what’s next for her in the second half of freshman year, she’s also trying to define her situationship with Canaan this season. “They're trying their best. We'll start there,” Alyah laughs. “They want each other, but they miss each other, but they find each other, but they don't, but they do, will they? We don't know.”

Maya Rose Berko, Alyah Chanelle Scott, and Renika Williams in Sex Lives of College Girls.Courtesy of HBO Max
Amrit Kaur, Mitchell Slaggert, and Reneé Rapp in Sex Lives of College Girls.Courtesy of HBO Max

Whitney isn’t the only one figuring out her love life this season — Leighton, played by Reneé Rapp, is also in for a rollercoaster. After coming out to Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) in the season 1 finale, Leighton is hooking up and expressing her sexuality a little more freely in the season 2 trailer. “You see [Leighton] start to really take control of her personal life and her love life and it's really, really, really nice,” Reneé says. “I really appreciate Leighton being able to own her sexuality this season, not only in her queer identity, but also just in a general sense of being like, ‘Yeah, I'm in a hoe era and it feels good.’ It's very empowering.”  

Noble also notes that Leighton’s story is what he’s most excited for fans of the show to see in season two. “I'm so proud of season one and how we were able to tell a coming out story that felt like it was about the internal strife as opposed to the external strife that we usually see on TV of a disapproving parent or a religion,” he says. “Now that she's out, she has so many things coming her way that feel specific to me that I've always wanted to put on TV, that are sometimes viewed as niche storytelling because they're from the queer experience.” 

As for Kimberly and Bela, they’ll begin navigating their own new chapters after reaching a few turning points in their lives. Kimberly is dealing with the aftermath of getting her scholarship revoked and scrambling to come up with the money to pay for tuition (a few suggestions include getting hit by a bus and selling feet pics online). “I think that much of season two is her figuring out how to stay in Essex, and that takes many different forms until she finally finds the way,” Pauline says. “[It] re-centers Kimberly's character a little bit, where the first few months of freshman year were so... It was like razzle dazzle. It was confetti everywhere and it was hard to kind of keep on track, but I think by season two at least figuring out how to stay at Essex becomes a real focal point and focus for her.” 

Meanwhile, Bela is exploring a few new connections in her life as she works on starting her own female-led comedy publication after speaking out against sexual harrasment from a member of Essex’s publication, The Catullan. “I'm very excited about, in terms of characters, my relationship with Lila (Ilia Isorelys Paulino) and their friendship,” Amrit says, “I also love the relationship explored with Eric (Mekki Leeper). I'm excited about that, but particularly the one with Lila. We riff off each other a lot.”  

Ilia Isorelys Paulino and Pauline Chalamet in Sex Lives of College Girls.Courtesy of HBO Max
Blake Mallegni, Spencer Neville, and Colton Tran in Sex Lives of College Girls.Courtesy of HBO Max

While we’ll see a few recurring characters returning, we can also expect to see a few new faces, including Mitchell Slaggert who has joined the cast as a series regular and is slated to be the new resident heartthrob following Nico’s (played by Gavin Leatherwood) departure from the show. “The new characters are f*cking fabulous and the best addition to the show ever,” Reneé says.

All in all, how would the cast sum up season 2? Naïveté. “We're all naive. We're all naive as f*ck,” Reneé jokes. But that’s the beauty of the college experience, isn’t it?  

The Sex Lives of College Girls season 2 is streaming now on HBO Max.