Pauline Chalamet on The Sex Lives of College Girls Season 2

Before I ask Chalamet for her insight on all things Parisienne chic (her father is French, and she grew up speaking the language), we start with the basics and head back to school with Kimberly and the rest of the Essex crew. Season two of College Girls, which premiered on HBO in mid-November, wastes no time rehashing the messiness of freshman year with the story picking up shortly after season one’s finale. Though, returning to picturesque upstate New York from her small hometown in Arizona may have been less jarring for Chalamet’s character than it was for the actress herself. With a full calendar year passing between the premieres of seasons one and two, plus nearly as much time between filming, Chalamet was concerned about reentering Kimberly’s very particular and well-developed headspace after so much time away. Unlike her character’s continued woes about finances, frat bros, and the female reproductive system, the season premiere makes it clear that Chalamet hasn’t missed a beat. Kimberly is back and, if I may say so, even better than last season.

“When we started filming again, I had a moment of panic where I was like, ‘I did this. … What if I can’t redo it?’” confessed Chalamet. “I never thought I would do comedy. But it’s about timing. Timing is so important, and I was like, ‘What if I don’t have the timing? What if I can’t hear it anymore?’” Once Chalamet was on set, however, the lovably naïve Kimberly quickly reappeared thanks in part to a relatable character arc that takes place over season two’s 10 episodes. Chalamet was particularly proud of the narrative that creators Mindy Kaling and Justin Nobel wrote for Kimberly about finding the means to pay her tuition. “When you’re 18 years old and you decide to get money, you find a way to get money. She finds a solution that leaves the door open, but the consequences may come back later on in your life,” she says. Needless to say, there’s ample humor injected into an otherwise nerve-racking predicament, which provides several opportunities for Chalamet to shine.

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