Sami Rappoport On Playing 'PEN15' Mean Girl Becca

The actor shared why she has empathy for her school bully character, and how she feels about PEN15 coming to an end.

On Hulu’s fan-favorite comedy Pen15, Sami Rappoport plays Becca, the 2000s mean girl to Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle’s awkward middle schoolers. It’s a part she inhabits with hilarity and ease, but in real life the 17-year-old actor is anything but. Chatting with NYLON over the phone, Rappoport said getting into character as a bully at times made her cringe.

“I can't tell you how many times I apologize on set,” she said. “It literally would break my heart every single time to say some of the things that I had to say to [Maya and Anna]. But we have such a friendship off camera, so they were always like, ‘It's fine, don't worry. You got this, just let loose. Be mean!’”

Being a teenager herself, Rappoport says she’s known her fair share of Beccas so it “was easy to tap into.”

“Coming off of the first season, I was basically graduating middle school, so I had so much to use. And then as I was navigating high school, it was easy to also build onto that as the season progressed,” she said.

Pen15, currently halfway through its second season, will be coming to an end when the season’s final episode airs. Fans of the show have been sharing their fondness for the series, which skewers the insecurity of youth — and especially the youth culture of the Y2K era. “The end of PEN15 is very bittersweet, but I’m really glad that it ended the way it did, because I feel like Maya, Anna and Becca were able to grow up in a sense for this last season,” Rappoport said. “Anna and Maya are geniuses and wear many hats. From acting to directing, writing and producing, these women are so hiring and felt that the story for now, was the way they set out to tell it.”

With half of PEN15’s second season still left to air (it debuts on Hulu today, December 3rd), there’s still plenty left in store for Becca. Of her character’s changes this season, Rappoport says we can expect growth from the show’s resident mean girl. “I'm excited, because you do get to see her in a different light, and it might change your perspective of her a little bit,” she said. “I do have empathy for her, because I've had this character for so long and I've grown to love her. But I love to hate her.”

Below, Rappoport shares her answers for the NYLON-19:


What is your astrological sign? (And do you believe in it?)

I'm a Capricorn. I do believe in it. I feel like a lot of the personality traits definitely apply to me. I know Capricorns are known to be extremely organized and a huge perfectionist. And ever since I was little, I loved cleaning. My room has to be a certain way. It's hilarious and it can be super annoying, but I'm always organized, a perfectionist, and Capricorns are very loyal and I'm definitely one to not leave.


Do you believe in ghosts and have you ever seen one?

I definitely am not the biggest fan of paranormal things, but especially the past year when I'll be talking about a loved one that's passed, all of a sudden a light in our house would start flickering and we get super freaked out, and then it'll be fine if nothing will happen for a year. So, it could have just been coincidences, but I do believe in it. I just definitely would prefer friendly ghost.


Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?

Oh, I have to say ABBA, I have to go with the Beatles, because the Beatles are amazing. And I have to go with Billie Eilish, because I'm obsessed with her.


What is the weirdest snack that you make?

My mom makes the best kale chips. It's just some olive oil and sea salt, and you bake them. And so I would say that's probably weird one, and I would also take apples with lemon and sea salt [to the movies]. It sounds weird, but it tastes really good. I'm one for the salty sweet combo.


What is a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

When I drink coffee and I get those plastic straws. Sometimes at Starbucks I'm in a hurry and they don't give me an option. That's definitely habit I would like to change. But also sometimes I'll chew on the straw. I think I had a bad experience with a straw, because I would never use it the right way, until a few years ago. But still every once in a while if I'm nervous, I'll be like, “Okay. I, got to stop that.”


What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

Taylor Swift’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” and the music video. That is such a good video, and I just went through it and caught all the Easter eggs.


What was the last DM you received?

Going to look right now. I'm pretty sure, I was telling my friend to check her normal messages, because I was asking her about different colored lights because we're going to do karaoke in a couple days.


If you could be in any music video, which music video would it be?

I have an obsession with Italy, so I have to go with “Golden,” by Harry Styles because that video screams Italy and I would literally die to be in that.


What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?

I believe my first concert was Selena Gomez. I was probably seven and I remember I was obsessed with the song “Who Says” and so I just remember screaming those lyrics out. It was a long time ago, but I still remember good vibes. Selena was one of my favorites when I was younger.


What was your favorite movie growing up?

I was a girly girl. I was all for Disney and I was all for Barbie. So I'd probably say, Barbie and the Diamond Castle.


What is your favorite meme or internet joke at the moment?

I’m so bad with memes. My friends, they're more on top of that stuff, but I keep seeing the Duolingo bird on TikTok. I don't think it passes for a meme, but...


What is one thing everyone should buy that's under $10?

A charger to always be prepared and a good snack.


What is your go-to song when you're feeling sad?

Oh, I have one that just makes me so emotional, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. I've always been connected to that song. That song makes me cry.


What reality show would you most like to appear on?

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Seems so entertaining, and I literally binged every single season over the pandemic.


What is your coffee order? If you're into coffee?

I’m very obsessed with coffee. I only have half-calf, because I cannot have coffee at all, but I've had like, 10 cups of caffeine. I'm just that type of a person. So I would say, my go to is a half-calf almond milk iced latte. And then if I'm feeling fancy, I'll put some vanilla or some maple syrup in it or something.


What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own and why?

I just got these ‘90s chunky loafers, and they're so cute. Another pair that you can't go wrong with are FILAs. I kid you not, I would buy the same exact FILA every few months, because they're white so they would get super dirty. I would buy them and just keep wearing them, the same exact pairs. They were so comfortable.


What is your favorite red carpet look worn by someone else?

Well, two. You can't go wrong with any of Jennifer Anniston's little black dresses. But also I'm obsessed with the Margot Robbie look, a long green tank top dress that she wore to the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I think it's just so classy and so cute. So I'll have to say that.


What is one question that you never want to be asked again?

I don't mind answering questions, but maybe something about my height, because I'm five one.


What is your favorite fast food place and what's your order?

I have to go with In-N-Out. I get a plain cheeseburger and plain fries, but I get them extra crispy, because they're so good like that. It's a weird trick I learned. I went once and the lady was giving me different options for crispy fries, and I was like, I didn't even know this was a thing. This is a whole new world. But it's really good. So I recommend getting them done crispy good.