Brittany Wagner is done handing out pencils at East Mississippi Community College.
These days, the “Last Chance U” breakout star and former EMCC counselor is for-hire as part of her own consulting company on a contract basis by athletes, coaches, school districts and companies to assist in academic endeavors and life skills, among a growing menu of services.
“My platform is so much bigger now with the show, and I just felt a pull to do something,” Wagner said, while explaining her exodus to TheWrap in an interview ahead of “Last Chance U’s” Season 2 premiere.
Before bailing for life as an entrepreneur, the beloved counselor completed filming on the show’s sophomore run at the remote junior college famed for its football program. “I felt like I was doing a disservice to myself if I just sat [here] and continued to do the same thing.”
“Last Chance U” follows the East Mississippi Community College Lions, a juco football program that always seems to be in the hunt for the league’s national title, despite the small campus being located in the tiny, remote and poverty-stricken town of Scooba.
The squad’s consistent championship contention isn’t a coincidence, nor is it particularly attributable to its angry, loudmouth of a coach Buddy Stevens. Rather, EMCC almost exclusively recruits young men that have been booted from their Division I college teams for bad behavior, academic issues — or both.
That’s one way to always have the best athletes in the country, and it’s why the show is named what it’s named. It also guarantees a steady stream of drama for show production — and hatred from the poor schools Stevens runs the score up on.
Along with viewers, who have lumped heavy praise on Wagner for her patient and nurturing ways with the often-unprivileged and troubled young men, “Last Chance U” director Greg Whiteley was immediately taken by the academic advisor for student-athletes, he told TheWrap.
“Drew Jubera, who wrote the article the series was based on, tipped us off that Brittany would be a big part of anything we wanted to do at EMCC before we even set foot on campus,” Whiteley said. “In the small time we had with her it became obvious that not only does she play a large role with EMCC’s football program to help students remain academically eligible, but that she was incredibly authentic and open with us. So when we came back, we decided to put a camera in her office and it captured some of the most poignant moments of the series.”
It also captured just how much time “Ms. Wagner” actually spends with these boys, who appear to while away their days splayed out in chairs and even on the floor surrounding her desk. We asked Wagner how she could anything done in that environment; find her answer below.
TheWrap: “How the hell do you get any work done with all of those kids laying on the floor of your office constantly?”
Brittany Wagner: (Laughing) I know, yeah. Before the show, I kind of had a system in place. I would leave my door open and I would allow them to come in. You know, they have 8 o’clock classes, 9:30 classes and then 11 o’clock classes — so, when you saw them in my office, a lot of times it was in-between class times — and they would leave.
During that hour and 15 minutes, usually, there may be one or two in there that I was tutoring or helping — but it wouldn’t be 20 of them. So I had that time. And then, they go to practice!
The afternoons really were when I would bang out the work that needed to get done, which you didn’t see. That would have been really boring for Netflix to film, so you didn’t see a whole lot of that.
So, usually in the afternoons is when I got stuff done. And I mean, I did take stuff home. There’s just no way to get all that done in just three hours.
Season 2 of Netflix’s “Last Chance U” drops in its entirety on Friday.