EXCLUSIVE: Emma Mackey Talks About What Makes Maeve Wiley Soft For Otis Milburn



Emma Mackey’s character, Maeve Wiley, is the scene-stealer in Sex Education because of her complex female character.

We’re so lucky that following the announcement of a season two last week, we got to ask the actor– through an email interview– about Maeve’s relationship with Otis Milburn.

Pretty much everyone is talking about Sex Education, the latest hit show from Netflix. The huge success of the coming-of-age series reached over 40 million households within the first four weeks. It’s no surprise, though. Because with interesting characters comes with totally relatable storylines about the young adult life, friendships, and real-life issues that we’re bound to get attached to.

RELATED: ‘Sex Education’ Schooled Us About A Whole Lot More Than Just Sex

Each character from Sex Education had redeeming qualities, but the crowd-favorite, however, is Maeve Wiley, dubbed by social media as the ‘white girl of the century.’

Emma Mackey – the French-born actor who plays the female lead, is answering all the questions we have about Sex Education, including what she thinks about Maeve’s relationship with Otis Milburn.

How alike are you with Maeve Wiley and what do you like about your character?

Maeve and I are alike in many ways. It is part of our job as actors to be as truthful as possible and so inevitably, we end up giving a part of ourselves when playing a character. I love that Maeve is fiercely intelligent, brave and able to confront any challenge thrown her way with confidence.

What do you think Otis has that makes Maeve softer around him? What do you hope to see in their relationship if we get a season 2?

It’s true that we see Maeve slowly soften around Otis and I believe that it’s down to a number of things. Firstly, Otis is completely unthreatening and fundamentally kind-hearted which means that Maeve doesn’t need to protect herself with her “tough girl” attitude as much as she usually needs to. Secondly, I believe Maeve is quite simply fascinated by Otis: his bizarre encyclopedic knowledge on sex/ relationships, his maturity, his cynicism, his calming personality, and his listening skills. All of these elements combined with the fact that he’s probably one of the only people she encounters at school who isn’t desperately trying to fit into a template, mean that Maeve and Otis truly connect with each other and understand each other. In terms of their relationship, romantically I think that they both need to allow themselves the time to figure things out for themselves as individuals. Ola means a lot to Otis and I think that they are a good match for each other. I hope to see Maeve apply for the Aptitude Scheme and focus on her friendship with Aimee.

Two of the most powerful scenes in the series were the abortion and the ‘it’s my vagina.’ These issues are something women are fighting for every day, so what were you thinking on-screen to make the scenes as real as possible?

I am really glad that the show has afforded us the opportunity to develop the conversation around issues such as these in a frank and relatable way. My job as an actor is to be as truthful as possible in each moment and to react to my scene partner or surrounding in a way that is organic and believable so, to be honest, I am usually not thinking about something in particular when doing a scene. If I were to start thinking about how important or powerful those scenes should be or what impact they might have when people eventually watch it, it would be much harder to create something that is realistic. I hope that makes sense.

What do you hope young people would take away from watching the show and from your character?

I hope that the show will give young people confidence, knowledge, and power. I hope that it will make anyone who feels like they don’t quite fit in understand that any fear, confusion, desire and excitement that they have is all part of growing up and figuring out what kind of person they want to be. And also, I hope that they just enjoy it!

What do you want to see in season 2 of Sex Education? Let us know by sharing this post!