You Won't Believe the Celebrities Who Inspired the Sex Lives of College Girls Cast's Performances

Mindy Kaling may be the driving force behind HBO Max's new comedy series The Sex Life of College Girls, but the cast also found inspiration from other (surprising) Hollywood icons. Watch now.

By Samantha Bergeson Nov 18, 2021 5:00 PMTags
Watch: "The Sex Lives of College Girls" Cast Talks Their Comedy Inspiration

Mindy Kaling has mastered the ensemble comedy (see: The Mindy Project, Never Have I Ever and obviously, The Office) so it's no wonder that her latest series, The Sex Lives of College Girls, is funny as hell...with a twist.

While the breakout stars of the HBO Max series Pauline ChalametAmrit KaurReneé Rapp and Alyah Chanelle Scott can't help but gush over working with creator, writer and executive producer Kaling, they also pointed to a few other surprising Hollywood comedy icons as inspiration for forming their eccentric collegiate friend group on-screen. 

"I did a lot of research on comedians," Kaur explained of getting into character as quick-witted Bela. "My mentor and I came up with a long list: Wanda Sykes, Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong, Amy Schumer, so, so, so many and I just studied them. And then I also tried my share of standup which I was not so great at." 

Kaur added, "This is so weird but I felt blessed to be a brown girl who can say d––k and c––k on the screen and talk about sex because no brown girl has done that yet, and that is crazy to me. I felt blessed, I guess is the word to say."  

Mindy Kaling's Best Looks

Meanwhile, Scott looked up to another HBO Max icon: Insecure creator and star Issa Rae

Bravo/Getty Images

"I idolize Issa Rae and I think everything she touches is so great in the sense that she had that whole web series and embodies that awkward Black girl navigating situations, and she was sort of the first person we saw do that in such a mainstream way," Scott said. "Just everything she does in terms of writing and acting as well, I was like, let me try to make [my character] Whitney like Issa." 

Rapp, who previously starred as Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls, admitted that she wasn't a "TV or film head" before.

"But I grew up watching the Real Housewives franchise, so a lot of [my character] Leighton, you find in the Real Housewives," Rapp joked. "[The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'Kathy Hilton is an icon. I love the Real Housewives franchise, so that is my very well-versed and educated answer."  

2022 TV Premiere Dates

Chalamet instead looked to her own past life experiences step into the role of college freshman Kimberly. 

"I think the way in felt really easy for me, in terms of remembering what it was like at 18 wanting to fit in somewhere and not knowing exactly how you did," Chalamet joked. "So I was really able to be like, 'Yep, tried to forget about that' but maybe we can go relive some of those memories and what the way into that is."

FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO

Of course, Kaling was right there along the way to mentor the four leads. 

"It's just so great to meet someone and work with someone who is so in love with what they do, clearly, and is also very serious about it," Chalamet shared of Kaling. "It was just a really nice mix. I think she was very inspiring for all of us, the kind of work ethic that she had."  

Scott added, "As far as Mindy, it's just a dream come true. She's the coolest, most hardworking, at such a high caliber and has really earned her place. I really respect her as an artist so getting to see her navigate the space was really inspirational and informative." 

Watch: "Sex Lives of College Girls" Cast Gushes Over Mindy Kaling

Rapp was even starstruck by the screen test for Sex Lives. "I literally could not form words. It was wild," she reflected. "And then just form the second that we read the pilot, it was just so strong on paper, standing alone, that I was like, 'Oh there's so much room in here.' I felt very lucky and it was surreal." 

Watch the full interview above!

The Sex Lives of College Girls premieres Thursday, Nov. 18 on HBO Max.  

Get the drama behind the scenes. Sign up for TV Scoop!