Reneé Rapp reveals coming out on Saturday Night Live was a last-minute decision

‘But to me, I was thinking about being so afraid to publicly change my identity.’ Rapp says

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 07 June 2024 17:30 BST
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Reneé Rapp reveals how coming out on Saturday Night Live was a last-minute decision
Reneé Rapp reveals how coming out on Saturday Night Live was a last-minute decision (Getty Images for Coachella)

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Reneé Rapp has revealed coming out on Saturday Night Live was a last-minute decision for her.

During an interview withThem, published on June 6, the 24-year-old singer recalled how she addressed her sexuality while appearing on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. In the January episode, Rapp appeared in the sketch about lip-readers, where Bowen Yang introduced her as a “lesbian intern.”

However, before filming that episode of SNL, Rapp said that she had been considering the idea of making an announcement to come out as lesbian, but opted not to due to past experiences.

“I had privately been calling myself a lesbian, saying it to my friends, and I heard a couple comments that really hurt my feelings,” she explained during her interview with Them, while recalling how one person even sarcastically told her: “Oh, amazing, you’re coming out again. Congratulations.”

While Yang’s line in the SNL sketch was, “we need a little assistance from our lesbian intern,” Rapp said the line was initially supposed to be a “bisexual intern”. However, when backstage before the show, SNL staff writer Celeste Yim asked Rapp: “Can we change that ‘bisexual’ to ‘gay’?”

Although the “Not My Fault” singer acknowledged how kind people on the late-night show were, she was still skeptical about coming out with the line change.

“They were so sweet - and obviously, they were going to be so sweet,” she said. “But to me, I was thinking about being so afraid to publicly change my identity. I didn’t want anybody to be upset with me.”

She further described her nerves at the time, noting that she was worried about how people would perceive her if she came out as lesbian after publicly identifying as bisexual.

“I didn’t want to do it and be like: ‘Oh my God, I’m not using the word ‘bisexual,’ and make bisexual people feel s***ty,’” she continued.” I also didn’t want to be like: ‘Okay, I’m ‘gay’ and have all the lesbians be like: ‘Say you’re bisexual, then.’ I felt so wrapped up and scared.”

Shortly before the SNL episode was about to star, Rapp turned to a friend for advice about the situation, and they told her: “I think it would be really f***ing sick if you came out as a lesbian on SNL.”

From there, Rapp agreed to the line change and then came out as a “lesbian” on the show. However, she said that after the episode, she still avoided looking at the reactions to the sketch.

“I stayed off my phone for a couple days because I was so f***ing terrified and felt so sh***y but then it was just, like, a thing, and it felt good,” she said.

The Sex Lives of College Girls alum also confessed that while she’s struggled with defining her sexuality, she’s now more open about being queer.

“I still have incredibly homophobic thoughts toward myself constantly,” she said. “‘Lesbian’ was not a good word for me to hear as a kid. And now it’s something that I have such a close emotional connection.”

This isn’t the first time Rapp has opened up about her identity. In March, she took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to address fans who question her sexual orientation. “If I say I’m a lesbian I am a lesbian and if someone says they’re bi they are bi I’ve had enough of you witches,” her post read.

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in February, she also said her Sex Lives of College Girls character Leighton Murray’s coming out journey had parallels to her real life.

“Look, this is good and bad. Being celebrated for being out because of a TV show or celebrity or success or something was really interesting because I think it forced a lot of people in my life and my family to have to accept me in a weird way, and in some ways that are twisted, like: ‘Damn, we could have done that a long time ago without her being on a TV show,’” she told the outlet.

She even explained that her coming out scene on the show came from her real emotions and she didn’t consider it to be acting.

“However, I think it made it a lot easier in ways that pissed me off, but I’m also really grateful for. That [show] was the most parallel experience in my life, and I remember doing that specific coming out scene and not acting at all - at all. I was just sobbing. I see that and I don’t see a character. I’m like: ‘That’s me,’” she shared.

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