December 8, 2021
It’s parents’ weekend at Essex College, the fictional setting of HBO Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Bela Malhotra (Amrit Kaur) needs to set the record straight with her fellow students. “Before our families arrive, I think we should quickly share any lies that we’ve told them that we’d like each other to corroborate.” One student requests discretion when it comes to her fake ID side hustle and OnlyFans account. Another wants backup for telling her parents that she attends church every weekend. Bela, who hopes to one day write for Saturday Night Live, has told her parents that she’s a neuroscience major.
Of course, Bela’s parents find out the truth — that she’s not in a science program but instead pursuing a career in comedy. “Bela, this school is very expensive, and we are paying for you to study and learn, not play around,” says her father (Mueen Jahan).
Bela’s parents don’t realize that between her encyclopedic knowledge of the comedy greats and her determination to make it into the school’s prestigious comedy magazine, when it comes to her pursuit of a career in the arts, Bela is not playing around. Neither is Kaur.
The Sex Lives of College Girls is Kaur’s big break, and she is not taking it for granted. “The likelihood that I even got this job as Bela is crazy,” Kaur shared, chatting with me over Zoom from Los Angeles. “It’s like one in hundreds, like they audition people around the entire world.”