Renika Williams talks ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls,’ Advocacy, and More!

Andrew Parsons

Fandomize recently had a chance to chat with The Sex Lives of College Girls cast member, Renika Williams, AKA, Willow! Check out the interview below!

Shaun Hood: What drew you to the role of Willow on The Sex Lives of College Girls?

Renika Williams: When I initially read the script, I thought Willow was hilarious. I thought the writing was really great in general, but for Willow, I just felt like she just was really bold and she said what was on her mind and I definitely have always wanted to play somebody like that. That’s what drew me to Willow.

SH: Does it feel awesome to be a part of a show created by Mindy Kaling?

RK: Yes! I’ve always been a fan of The Office, and The Mindy Project, and then recently, Never Have I Ever. So, to be a part of the Mindy Mafia is definitely a dream. I’ve always been inspired by her and respected her as an artist and a woman in comedy. It definitely is wild that I get to be on one of her shows.

SH: From what I’ve seen of The Sex Lives of College Girls, it seems like it is a very blunt comedy with lots of adult humor. However, there are also lots of heartfelt moments as well. How do you feel about the tone of the series?

RK: I think the tone is needed for where a lot of people are right now. There’s a lot going on in the world and there are a lot of transitions happening, especially for Gen Z viewers. I think it’s good to watch something that can make you laugh and tackle some really hard topics without going too deep into them, only because I think right now, this is a time where people need to laugh a little bit more. I really love that our show has a nice balance of the two. We’ll tackle something that’s really difficult, but then at the same time we’ll be like, “Let’s move on.” I think it’s a great balance.

SH: Is there anything about Willow that you identify or connect with?

RK: Yeah, I think it took me a while to get to this place in my life where I am authentically myself, no matter who I am around or where I am. I think Willow seems like the type of person who has always been like that. I think she’s going to say what she’s going to say and it’s going to come out the way it’s going to come out, even if it’s hard, it’s filled with love and I love that about her. She’s super fun and I definitely have always wanted to be that fun person. I think I’ve always been fun deep down, but in college I definitely was not like that. I took school super seriously, probably too seriously, because I did not leave room for a social life.

What I admire about Willow is that she’s able to have fun, but be about her studies at the same time. I admire that she has fun and she’s there for her friends. I also think Willow is super loyal. She’s a super loyal friend and I am definitely down for my friends, too.

SH: When you watch a movie or TV series that you’re really passionate about, do you ever take away pieces of artistry that you can then apply to your own work? I know you love Grey’s Anatomy.

Andrew Parsons

RK: Yes! I do love Grey’s Anatomy! I’m weirdly obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy, but it’s like a cult, so I know I’m not the only one. I definitely watch a lot of things and I’m like, “Hmm, I love that.” One of those people like that is Regina King. I think Regina King can do it all. I think she can make you cry, I think she can make you laugh, she could tell a story without saying anything at all, and that really moves me. I hope that in my career I will be able to do all kinds of different things, like Regina King. There’s no one box that you can put Regina King into, and that’s what I aspire to do.

SH: I always love when artists like yourself use their platform to advocate for important causes. Tell us about your work that you’ve done spreading awareness for Sickle Cell Anemia.

RK: My relationship with Sickle Cell Anemia is pretty personal. One of my very best friends, Ash, actually passed away from complications related to sickle cell anemia a few years ago.

It was something that I didn’t really know about until I met them. I had heard about it, but I didn’t know what it was. I think as a community, as Americans, I feel like we don’t know much about sickle cell because it primarily affects African Americans. So, I’ve made a point to be vocal about it because I am sure that if we continue to talk about it, it will push forward better care and knowledge around how it affects the bodies of the people who have it and how they can live a healthy life with it, or as helpful as they can. I don’t think anybody in 2022 should have to lose a loved one to sickle cell if we had the right knowledge around it and maybe push for a cure because I think it can happen. I do like to use my social media to spread the word of that because it’s a really unfortunate thing to lose somebody to something that could be cured.

SH: Is there anything you’re working on or that you have coming up that you would like our readers to know about?

Andrew Parsons

RK: Well, in fact, I was in an episode of New Amsterdam that recently aired. It is Season 5, Episode 9, and I had a really great time working on that show. I’ve always been a fan of New Amsterdam. I think it’s a show with a very important message, and I would love for everybody to get out there and watch. One, because of the message of the episode, and two, because I am obsessed with medical shows, as we just said, and maybe this will be my audition for Grey’s Anatomy!

Renika Williams can be found on Instagram at @_renikadanielle. Watch The Sex Lives of College Girls on HBO Max!