The Sex Lives of College Girls star will never get over The Wiz.
In Elite Daily’s series Rent-Free, celebrities unpack the one thought, memory, or unforgettable pop culture moment that’ll always live in their head. In this piece, The Sex Lives of College Girls star Alyah Chanelle Scott talks about her love of the movie musical, The Wiz.
She may be a new face on your screen, but The Sex Lives of College Girls actor Alyah Chanelle Scott has been preparing for stardom for as long as she can remember — and strangely enough, this is thanks in large part to the 1978 movie musical, The Wiz. “When I was a kid, it was a movie I would always ask my dad to put on,” Scott tells Elite Daily. “[The Wiz was] technically the first musical I ever saw, and I ended up studying musical theater, and that ended up being the thing I did with my life.”
The Wiz, which is based on the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, follows the same general story as the classic film: Dorothy (and her little dog Toto, of course) is whisked away to the land of Oz, where she has to learn to believe in herself in order to return home. One major difference, however, is that The Wiz showcases an all-Black cast and features some of the greats, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.
“It's interesting, because as a kid, I didn't consider the fact that [The Wiz] cast is all Black. But when you watch a thing like The Wizard of Oz and everyone is white, it's really hard to say, ‘Oh, I feel like this person,’” Scott tells Elite Daily. “I understood [The Wiz] in a way that I wasn't able to understand most other things, because they didn't center my experience and my humanity and everything that involves in being me and being Black.”
It turns out, Scott’s childhood love of The Wiz was kind of fate. During her freshman year of high school, her theater program put on a production of The Wiz, which Scott obviously auditioned for. Even though she didn’t land the part of Dorothy (she instead played a crow and a munchkin), it gave her a taste of the theater life. “[The Wiz] was the first musical I was ever in,” she explains. “It inspired me to be my full self and bring my full self to everything I do, because I think [the cast] did that really well.”
Scott’s first musical performance paved the yellow brick road to a successful theater career. In 2019, she landed the role of Nabulungi in the traveling stage production of The Book of Mormon, but when live theater productions shut down at the start of 2020, Scott had to rethink her next steps. “After having been in L.A. for a few weeks while I was touring, I started to think about the idea of being on screen and how cool that would be. I just didn't know how that would ever happen to me,” Scott says. “And then during the [shutdown], my agent sent me this audition [for The Sex Lives of College Girls], and I remember reading it and being like, ‘Oh wow, this could be it.’”
The HBO Max series, which premiered on Nov. 18, was created by comedy legend Mindy Kaling and follows four college freshmen who are trying to find themselves in a new world of frat parties and casual hookups. While Scott’s character, Whitney, might be a little (OK, a lot) more rebellious than Dorothy from The Wiz, being true to yourself is integral to both stories, which is a key message Scott hopes college-age fans learn from her new show: “Don't be afraid to explore all of your identity and everything that you are, because [this is] the time and the space to do it. Don't make yourself into what you think you should be based on anyone else's opinions. Really find out who you are.”
It might take more than a few heel clicks of some sparkly slippers to figure all this out on your own, but according to Scott, it’s worth it.