Cast your mind back eight weeks, to the night that the first episode of Euphoria season two debuted. Naturally, the HBO teen drama—infamous for its graphic sex, drug use, and copious on-screen penises—set Twitter aflame. (This week, it surpassed Game of Thrones as the most talked-about show on social media in the past decade.) And yes, memes might have been circulating of Sydney Sweeney, hand clamped to mouth and eyes bulging in the bathtub, or of Alexa Demie furiously banging on the bathroom door with both fists; but, in something of a surprise, the hottest topic of conversation was the romantic interest blossoming between Fezco, played by Angus Cloud, and Lexi, played by Maude Apatow.
Immortalised over the following weeks in the hashtag #Fexi, Apatow—currently in Paris for the fall 2022 Saint Laurent show—is charmed by the fervent response to this budding relationship. “It’s so crazy, but it’s so sweet,” Apatow says. “I wasn’t expecting people to be this invested. I think it’s so nice that people make these beautiful drawings of us—all of the fans of the show are so thoughtful. But I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s just crazy that many people seem to care.” When Apatow and Cloud were reunited for the Thom Browne show at New York Fashion Week last month, it was, of course, the first topic of conversation. “I mean, he’s like family now!” Apatow adds.
A lot of the reason why the show is so beautiful is that the shots are very intricate,
This familial spirit holds true for the cast of Euphoria as a whole, she explains. “I think a big part of why we’re so close is just how much time we spend together,” Apatow says. “A lot of the reason why the show is so beautiful is that the shots are very intricate, and they take a long time to set up. Going through that experience together definitely brings us closer. There’s a lot of time where we’re just shooting these party scenes and all hanging out together on set. And it’s way more fun to be with your friends than it is to be sitting alone in your trailer. To be honest, we talk about that all the time: We’re just really lucky we all like each other. I know that I’m so grateful for that.”
While Lexi was an important member of the show’s central ensemble in the first season, as the level-headed childhood friend of Zendaya’s lead character Rue, this season, she truly came into her own. “I was so excited,” Apatow says of receiving the season two scripts and reading Lexi’s rich character arc, which both explores the backstory of her relationship with her family in greater depth and sees her friendship with Rue evolve dramatically. “I remember when I signed on to the series, Sam [Levinson, Euphoria’s creator] always told me that my arc was going to take off in season two. So, I was anticipating it a little bit and also hoping that he would keep his word. But I was very happy, and I think it was worth waiting for.” Were there any new sides of Lexi that she herself was surprised to discover? “I mean, I was surprised by a lot of things,” Apatow says. “I think I was definitely surprised by the confidence she gains through the season. She really comes a long way.”
It’s Lexi, after all, who serves as the pivotal figure in Euphoria’s most delightfully bonkers sequence yet: the second season’s final two episodes, which revolve around the play Lexi has written as a (very) thinly veiled dramatisation of the lives and loves of her friends. With elaborate stage sets that some have speculated should have bankrupted the school; a riotously funny homoerotic dance sequence starring Austin Abrams’s Ethan and oiled-up hunks, set to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero”; and an unexpected intervention from one of the play’s real-life subjects, it was Euphoria at the peak of its powers, blending kaleidoscopic visuals, metatextual flair, and plenty of good old-fashioned teen drama.
Anchoring it all was Apatow’s extraordinary performance, which moved between heartbreaking sensitivity, as Lexi grapples emotionally with her absent father and heavy-drinking mother—not to mention her attempts to comfort Rue in the wake of her own father’s death, and help her conquer her addictions—and moments of unintentional hilarity as she fully embraced unhinged-theatre-kid energy while bossing around her minions backstage. “Sam and I had a lot of conversations about that,” Apatow says, laughing. “A lot of the stuff we talked about and the backstage stuff is loosely inspired by my high school experience. I was very, very serious about theatre. It totally brought me back to my psyche in those days.”
The play scenes took around three weeks to shoot, making for one of the most challenging, but ultimately rewarding, moments in Apatow’s entire career. “All the stuff we shot on the stage was pretty intense,” she says. “We did it in front of a real audience, so we had to rehearse all the scenes beforehand, and when we filmed it, it felt like we were really doing a play, with all of the choreography and everything that entails. That was probably the most difficult part of the season, but we had so much fun doing it.”
I think the last time I wore a full jumpsuit was when I did the musical Cats in high school!
Now that Euphoria promo is winding down, Apatow has been able to make her own fun, and the first thing on her list was attending the Saint Laurent show in Paris. Staged in the dramatic setting of the Trocadéro with the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the background, as fashion week experiences go, it doesn’t get more perfect than that. “It was my first fashion week ever,” Apatow says. “It was just so beautiful. I never say this, but it was literally breathtaking.” For the occasion, Apatow slipped into one of her most playful looks to date: a slinky, floral-print, belted bodysuit with a pair of classic Saint Laurent pumps. “I think the last time I wore a full jumpsuit was when I did the musical Cats in high school!” Apatow adds, laughing again. “In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever worn anything this bold before, but I was like, if there’s ever a time to do it, I guess this is it.”
Apatow’s pre-show jitters were eased after she bumped into—who else?—a handful of fellow Euphoria cast members, including Jacob Elordi and newcomer Dominic Fike. (The show’s crew of young actors has been all over fashion month this year, making appearances in every city.) “I haven’t seen either of them since we premiered like two months ago, so it was really nice,” Apatow concludes. “It always makes me less nervous knowing that there are some friends around.” It may have been her first time at Paris Fashion Week, but with her breakout season of Euphoria under her belt, it surely won’t be her last.
Here, Apatow takes us behind the scenes of her very stylish night out in the City of Lights attending Saint Laurent’s Fall 2022 fashion show.
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Tried to take a cute picture, but made a mess and almost stained my jumpsuit with the roses. Not sure if it was worth it.
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Getting into the car—trying to keep my cool, but failing.
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An espresso martini definitely doesn’t calm the nerves.
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Texting my family a selfie.
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The jumpsuit in question.
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The blazer in question. (I ended up wearing a different one, but we didn’t take a picture of it!)
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Oh, wait, maybe they did get a picture—this is the actual jacket I wore.
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The comfiest I was all night.
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A totally candid image of me sleeping with my Saint Laurent bag.
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The shoes in question, which I was totally able to walk in.
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Taking some final photos before leaving for the show.
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Adrien took such amazing photos on the balcony.
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Final touch-ups before the show.
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A note from Anthony welcoming me to Paris!
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Looking down at the beautiful Parisian streets.
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The backup shoes.
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Kisses with my bestie.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.