He wasn’t the one. Ilia Isorelys Paulino, known to fans as Lila on Sex Lives of College Girls, was sad when her costar Gavin Leatherwood exited the show after season 1, but the Yale University alum, 27, was also excited about what it meant for Kimberly’s (Pauline Chalamet) story line in season 2.
“I was sad to see him leave, but I was also excited in the sense of, like, I love that this is a woman show and it just makes sense,” she told Us Weekly exclusively on November 30. ”It’s so honest. I think so many people meet people in college and they get so single-track brain and it’s like they forget that they’re in college. Like, leave him. There will be 10 other ones.”
Leatherwood, 28, played Chalamet’s love interest, Nico, during her freshman year at Essex College, and Paulino is looking forward to see where Kimberly’s dating life goes as the show continues.
“Take this time for you. I love that for Kimberly. Oh, my gosh. She gets to bag like multiple hot dudes,” she said, laughing. “That right there is a lesson — sometimes people don’t wanna let go ‘cause they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I’ll never find someone like this ‘cause he’s like, whatever, whatever, whatever.’ Let him go.”
The show addressed Leatherwood’s absence in the first episode of season 2, revealing that he had been expelled from the university. Leatherwood exclusively revealed to Us in March that he was leaving the show.
“There is a season 2, but I’m not going to go back,” he told Us at the time. “It was such an incredible experience. I think Mindy [Kaling] is brilliant and the cast, everyone’s lovely. But with so many amazing opportunities out there, we want to keep spreading our wings and leading ourselves to other projects so that’s the move.”
Paulino understands why her former colleague wanted to branch out: “You want your friends to be busy in the industry. It’s a sad thing, but it is also good.”
As for Lila’s story, Paulino would love to see the Sips coffee manager dating next season.
“One of my wants and desires is to see Lila f–king for personal reasons, of course,” she told Us. “It’s not lost on me that I’m the biggest girl on the show. It’s not lost on me that I’m also playing the character that is unapologetically loving her body out loud no matter who she’s in front of. I think that by itself tackles this topic of body positivity. Women like Gigi Hadid, I love the bitch, but more bitches look like me than they do like Gigi. I think seeing someone that looks like me, that’s unapologetic in her body, the image tackles those topics. But, I think we would delve in further if we gave her a partner.”
Paulino appreciates that Kaling, who is a co-creator and writer on the show, alongside Justin Noble, can write about these topics “in a way that doesn’t feel preachy.”
She explained: “I think the way that she writes is just such a lesson in how to keep it truly funny and light, but still grounded so that people are paying attention to it … I think if we give Lila a love interest and make her sweat a little bit and we get to see that actually Lila is championing big women and women that don’t look like a number 10 model … And it’s Lila so, you know, it’ll be sexy and fun and funny.”
Season 2 of Sex Lives of College Girls is streaming now on HBO Max.