Reneé Rapp was ‘so scared’ to come out as bisexual
American actor and singer Reneé Rapp has revealed she was “so scared” to come out as bisexual and “beat herself up” over her queer identity.
Rapp entered the spotlight as Regina George in Broadway’s Mean Girls:The Musical in 2019, before taking on the role of resident lesbian Leighton Murray in HBO Max’s Sex Lives of College Girls (SLOCG), where the character was lauded as a fan-favourite.
The 23-year-old star (who first came out as bisexual nine years ago) has previously struggled with embracing her sexuality – a topic she has touched on before while portraying Leighton.
Reneé Rapp is not gay – she’s proudly bisexual
As the singer departs from SLOCG to focus on her solo music career, she spoke with the Independent on Sunday (10 September) about the difficult journey towards coming to a place of self-acceptance.
“I’m a bisexual white woman so I don’t think I’m the pinnacle of queerness,” she told the publication, reflecting on her fears over playing Leighton. “However, I am fortunate to be part of a community that I love very deeply.”
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Rapp poured her doubts into her 2022 song “What Can I Do”, about an unrequited love with another woman, reflecting what she was experiencing at the time in her personal life.
“I remember being so scared about it,” she said. “I think because I’m lucky to have so many amazing queer friends and I wanted it to be something they were proud of.”
Rapp acknowledges the “inherent responsibility” which comes with having “visibility” as a LGBTQ+ person in the public eye.
“You don’t want to be spewing bulls**t”,” she explained. “You want to be careful and respectful and inclusive and really honest.
“I was freaked out when it started becoming this public thing.”
Despite her growth, the “Snow Angel” singer is still uncomfortable discussing her identity through her work and “making it a public thing”.
“I was speaking to my girlfriend this morning, being like, ‘Oh my God, I talk about being gay so much’, and beating myself up for it,” Rapp continued.
“But then I’m like, ‘What am I beating myself up for? What are these internalised homophobic remarks I’m saying to myself?'”
But, she adds, that her joy at coming out and being unapologetically herself is enough to overcome the doubts, even in a world that is still, at times, hostile to LGBTQ+ people.
“It has improved my quality of life beyond belief,” she concluded.
“I’m so fortunate in this regard because I don’t deal with a tonne of homophobic s**t compared to my other friends who are very visibly queer. People can be so f**king mean.”
Although Rapp is reluctant to share her personal life with the world, she has also spoken about her ongoing relationship with mental health. After opening up about her “lifelong” eating disorder – which was allgedly exacerbated by a toxic cast member while performing in Mean Girls – Rapp shared that last year she was diagnosed with a mood disorder.
Reneé Rapp is now heading on a US and Europe tour at the end of 2023. Details on how to purchase tickets can be found here.
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