Reneé Rapp Says Acting in ‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ and ‘Mean Girls’ Was Always a Stepping Stone to Pop Music

The actor and singer was less than happy with skepticism her colleagues expressed about her bisexuality

Actress and singer Renée Rapp holds the mic out to an excited crowd. She has light-toned skin and blonde hair. Multiple fans film her on their phones.
Renée Rapp (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Reneé Rapp spent two seasons starring on Mindy Kaling’s HBO series “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” The show is credited with truly kickstarting her career, though the announcement of her planned 30-date tour through North America following the release of her album “Snow Angel” in August came with a second announcement: she was leaving the show.

In a profile on the actress and singer, Rapp’s manager Adam Mersel told the Los Angeles Times that despite rumors, she left the show on a positive note. “Reneé was always really vocal with everyone about music being the focus,” he said. “We were able to come together and find a way that I think is gonna work narratively.”

Rapp herself has been less positive about the situation, though she will be recurring in multiple Season 3 episodes. She said that, during the time period in which she filmed the series, she was on sets where she was “down to take s— and let things hurt my feelings” and that her sexuality was questioned by colleagues because she was dating a man. (She has more recently been dating TikTok creator Alissa Carrington.) Rapp, who has been openly bisexual and queer from the beginning of her career, was clearly frustrated by the situation.

“Somebody asked, ‘Well, you’re only gay for here, right? You’re not really gay in real life?’” she said. “I told them I was bisexual, and they were like, ‘But you have a boyfriend?’ And it was like, ‘G— it.’”

She cited the SAG-AFTRA strike as the reason she couldn’t get into details about her time on that series, though she went further into why she’s choosing to move away from TV and film.

“I go back and forth, because I get so anxious on sets and I feel s— about myself, so I feel like I shouldn’t put myself back in that environment,” Rapp said.

Whatever happened on the show’s set, it’s clear that her fans are ready to embrace Reneé Rapp the pop star. Promotional stops for her album have been filled with fans who are so excited about Rapp that they’ve made signs asking her to step on them, and her upcoming tour will see her playing venues that can host thousands of fans for the first time ever. Her album “Snow Angel” dropped last month.

Watch her recent MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Pretty Girls” here:

She explained that music was always her goal, going back to when she would shoot YouTube video covers of popular songs that led to other girls from her school trolling her. It was even part of her casting by Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels in “Mean Girls” on Broadway, who she made promise to help promote her singing career if she took the role.

Rapp discussed the eating disorder she developed as she starred in “Mean Girls” on stage — and the interviewers who asked her about someone with her body type playing mean girl queen Regina George.

“As a teenager, I really don’t think I should have been asked stuff like that,” Rapp said. “I would love to maybe never speak about my body and maybe never have anybody else speak about my body ever.”

Still, she’s set to reprise the role in the forthcoming “Mean Girls” musical film.

Rapp also talked with the L.A. Times about being cast in preppy roles thanks to her traditionally feminine look.

“I’m like the most palatable queer that queer gets,” Rapp said, “so when I’m pushed as a ‘queer icon’ — that’s very sweet. But I am incredibly uncomfortable with anyone saying I’m the pinnacle of queerness. That’s kind of dumb to say.”