Skip to content

Jemima Kirke Talks “Sex Education” Season 3 & the Legacy of “Girls” – Yahoo Lifestyle

When Jemima Kirke arrives as headteacher at Moordale Secondary, it's with a bang, a stylish blonde lob, and a quirky choreographed dance. She introduces herself mononymously as Hope. “She's cool,” Ncuti Gatwa's character Eric mutters. “Teachers aren't supposed to be cool.”
As we soon find out, she is, in fact, not cool — an Umbridge in a Glossier showroom employee's clothing. Hope is highly concerned with optics, pleasing the school's conservative donors, and keeping her students in line. In her mind, there's no place for individuality, identity exploration, or quality sex education, though there is plenty time for harmful manipulation of high-achieving students.
For Jemima, who was a fan of the show before she joined the cast, it was an opportunity to “step into the role of the antagonist adult in this story about teenage liberation,” she tells Teen Vogue. She's certainly no stranger to complicated, unlikeable characters — hello, Jessa in Girls — but Hope offers a new challenge “to play someone who was in stark contrast to the kids on the show.”
Below, Teen Vogue talked to Jemima Kirke about her Sex Education debut, the legacy of Girls, and her next project, Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends.
TV: When Hope does the dance at the beginning, you think she's going to be this very liberal, free-spirited presence and very quickly she isn't. What do you think is motivating her throughout this season?
JK: I think she has a lot of pressure on her to reform the school. And I think that she definitely defines herself by her successes and achievements. That's the sort of feminist that she is, which is frankly a very old fashioned gender feminist, but she puts a lot of pressure on herself to be this successful, essentially business woman in the academic world. She is, it's falling between her fingers.
TV: Had you been watching the first two seasons as a fan before you were cast?
JK: Yeah, absolutely. I loved it. I was a fan before I was offered the job.
TV: Did you have a favorite character?
JK: Adam Groff was my favorite character from the first episode and I think he's so funny. He's so subtle, Connor, and hits these perfect comedic notes that just make me laugh so hard.
TV: One thing I love about the show is the depiction of sex and how vulnerable and honest and real it is. And that was kind of a hallmark of Girls too, and the way it felt very different and real at the time. I'm curious how you think about the legacy of Girls now and how it ties into the way a show like Sex Education portrays sex.
JK: Well, I think that Girls made, or at least was part of creating the pathway for these types of shows, which are now more common than when Girls came out. So I think Girls had played a big role in paving that way. I don't think it is the only show that paved the way, but I think it was part of it. And I think the difference here is that Girls was geared towards one generation, maybe the ages 20 to 30, and Sex Education is addressing teenagers. That's really important and really refreshing. And there's much more at stake with Sex Education doing that and gearing it towards teenagers because we're talking about teenagers' and eventually an adult's sexual health.
I think that Sex Education can be really helpful for teenagers to find their sexual identity, or to be okay with not finding it. To be okay with not knowing something or not being a sex god. It's so funny, I realized after doing the show… I think a lot of teenagers think we're supposed to be good at sex the moment we have it. There's no room for us in our minds to be figuring it out because that's such a point of shame of being bad at sex. And that's preposterous. Obviously, if you've never done something before, you're not going to know what to expect. It's going to be new to you, and Sex Education normalizes that.
TV: How do you think you've changed as an actor and a person since Girls?
JK: Well, I think with every project I do, I change a bit as an actor and I learn something new or I dispel a belief about myself or my acting, so they all influenced me in some way. But definitely on Girls, I don't think I could ever go back to doing that type performance. Not that I couldn't play that role again, but going in quite unprepared. I was quite unprepared for some of the early part of the show because I was using a lot of, not my personality, but my… I'm quite comfortable being performative. So I was sort of resting on that trait of mine and being just simply performative and being very explorative and all of that. But I didn't really prepare, and I always prepare now.
TV: After this your next project is Conversations with Friends. What do you think that you bring to the character of Melissa, and what are you excited for people to see in your portrayal of that?
JK: I hope I can bring to her the energy people felt when they read the book. I hope that I can bring a face to it and a version of it that feels alive and not like an impression. Which is something you've got to think about when you're doing a character from a book: that you don't have to be exactly like that person, that character. It doesn't have to be exactly what's on the page necessarily. It just has to feel like that person. It has to be essentially more like that person then was even on the page. It's hard to explain, but I just hope that people feel I do it justice.
TV: Did you have a favorite moment while filming this season of Sex Ed?
JK: There was a good moment with Mimi, who plays Ruby, that I really enjoyed and was fairly new for me. So I hope you look out for that — it's in the second to last episode.
Let us slide into your DMs. Sign up for the Teen Vogue daily email.
Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: 
Emma Mackey on Maeve’s “Sex Education” Season 3 Storyline, “Emily” & Meaningful Stories
Meet “Sex Education” Season 3 Star Dua Saleh, Who Plays the Show’s First Nonbinary Character
Hair-Flick Queen Ruby Is More Than She Seems in “Sex Education” S3
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue
A new Korean survival drama and adult animated series are also trending on the platform.
Will Maeve and Otis finally end up together?
This mean girl has become a fan favorite.
Gatwa said that he believes Eric "paused his journey of like self-discovery and acceptance to facilitate this romantic relationship with Adam."
Laurie Nunn, the show's creator, has plenty to say about Jean, Otis, Maeve, Cal, Eric, and more.
Garson, 57, passed away from pancreatic cancer this week.
Cyber crimes directed towards those over 60 have increased by 400 percent in the last handful of years. The right tools will empower you.
Tired of promotions, newsletters, and junk emails you don't want or didn't sign up for clogging your inbox? Here's how a throwaway email address can help.
This 'cool and comfortable' blanket has earned over 33,000 five-star reviews — and it starts at just $35.
Psst: It has pockets!
Yahoo Plus Protect Mobile covers repair or replacement of your cracked screen and offers extended warranty coverage all for just $5 a month.
Phishing scams are on the rise. Here's how to identify them — and protect your personal information from cybercriminals.
Jordyn Woods celebrated her 24th birthday early and in style. On Sunday, the 23-year-old influencer shared images from her birthday festivities over the weekend attended by friends and family, including basketball boyfriend Karl Anthony-Towns, who showered her with lavish gifts. In her photos, she looked amazing in a draped crystal minidress by the luxury brand Area.
Some 5,000 five-star fans say this slouchy kimono sweater is everything.
The "Basic Instinct" star hit the beach in a black halter-style suit.
If you're looking for ways to keep your hair healthier and thicker for longer, here are some tips and products that might just help.
The 27-year-old singer gets candid about her first panic attack and seeking treatment.
Jada Pinkett Smith turned 50 this week and celebrated her birthday by throwing herself a rollerskating party.
The fan-favorite Go-Anywhere Grill has over 3,500 shoppers cheering.
This perfect, pretty bell-sleeve blouse is lightweight and loose-fitting — and a steal.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *