In Elite Daily’s I Can Explain… series, we’re asking celebrities to revisit their most memorable photos and tell us what really went down behind the scenes. In this piece, we chat with Sex Education star Mimi Keene about behind-the-scenes photos from Season 3.
In the first two seasons of Netflix’s Sex Education, Mimi Keene’s character, Ruby, was Moordale Secondary School’s very own Regina George. But Keene promises Season 3 will peel back the layers of the mean girl. Ahead of the hit show’s third season, get a sneak peek at what’s in store, as Mimi Keene shares Sex Education behind-the-scenes photos, including an adorable shot of her favorite special guest star and a first look at her stunning new outfits.
When Moordale opens its doors again on Sept. 17, it’ll be the season of Ruby Matthews. Ruby and her squad of Untouchables rule over the rest of the school with biting insults, reputation-destroying rumors, and you-could-never-afford-this fashions. But Keene hints there’s a “new element” to Ruby this season. “I'm excited for people to see that, because it's very different from what they've seen before,” she tells Elite Daily.
Keene alludes to one scene in particular that will reveal Ruby’s vulnerable side in Season 3. “There is a very emotional phone call. I would say that is one of my favorite bits of her journey,” she says. “I think everyone will be feeling emosh when they watch it. That's as much as I will say. I don't want to ruin it, because it's a good moment.”
Don’t expect Ruby to stop dressing to the nines or ruining lives with her fellow Untouchables, though. Below, Keene shares some first looks at Ruby’s transformative season and dishes on juicy secrets from set.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Baby’s Big Break
Elite Daily: This photo of your dog is so cute! Is she going be in this season?
Mimi Keene: [This] is from my dog/daughter Baby's debut in Season 3. Very proud mum. Very proud. I think that's probably how my mum felt when I first got my role. I've been pushing her forward into the eyes of Ben Taylor, the director, since Season 1 and saying, "Yeah, Baby's here. She's always with me," because I take her with me every day that I go to work. So that was her first scene in the locker, like she's been in the locker and saying, "Hello." She loved it. She was great. She was fantastic. We did the shot, that specific shot actually, in a kind of mock locker. So it's in the middle of the room and had a curtain behind it. It's open on both sides so that the camera could go through the inside of the locker.
ED: It's like you were a stage mom for your dog.
MK: Yes. I was a stage mom. I am a stage mom to Baby.
ED: Not all dogs could be on a TV show. Why do you think Baby has that it-factor?
MK: A lot of it's in the eyes. She has these eyes, they just draw you in, and I think it's actually kind of because she is a bit of a diva. She has a diva side and sometimes that's okay for certain people, and for her it is. She's a diva, and I've accepted that, and I catered to all of her diva needs. So I think it's the diva edge.
ED: What's it like to bring your dog to set? Are there any mishaps you have to try to avoid?
MK: Oh, it's great. I have three: two little mini dachsies, or sausage dogs, and Baby. They're all small, but the other two are bigger. So I have a little group, a little crew, and they're so used to it now. They're very well-behaved and everyone on set loves them. I come back to my trailer and often they're not there; someone's taken them. I'll be like, “They're probably in the costume trailer or they could be in makeup.” They could be anywhere because they get untold amounts of attention. So they have a great time, and usually there's no mishaps. There's always someone there with them.
ED: What are your other two dogs’ names?
MK: One is a chocolate and one is a dapple, and they're called Treacle and Truffle, because I like pudding.
ED: Who in the cast gets the most excited when your dogs are on set?
MK: Trish [Allison, who plays Ola in the show]. I'm going to say definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely Trish, because she's always in my trailer. Whenever I come back, she's giving them a cuddle, taking them out to go for a little walk. I actually inspired her to get a fur baby herself. So she now has a little puppy. I'd say she was probably the biggest dog fan, for sure.
ED: What can you tell me about this photo?
MK: We were coming out from shooting something else and we all just thought our costumes were really sick that day, so we thought, “Now's the moment.” We're all in very bright colors, which we obviously wear a lot of the time, but that day we felt we were particularly colorful. So we thought, “We need to get a picture of this.” It's nice to have pictures of us three smiling and being nice. A lot of the time when we're on set, we're laughing and telling jokes, and then it's just back to being mean.
ED: What is your favorite Untouchables memory from filming Season 3?
MK: We did one scene, which was a bit of an emotional scene, in which Ruby isn't very forthcoming with her emotions, even with her closest friends. In this scene, she's quite sad and they come ‘round to her house, which has never happened before, because she's sad and she's invited them over. So they come in and there's sort of this hug, like a very nice sweet friendship. It really strengthened that group, because you don't really see the emotional side of the Untouchables. It's a really nice moment of us all, just them two supporting me.
There's one shot from behind where we're having a hug. It's being shot through a window, and they were like, "Mimi, can you sort of go like this, like a jolt so it looks like you're crying?" whilst they're hugging me. I wasn't really sure how intense it would have to be for them to see it from the back, so I literally was like really, really eagerly jumping up and down. Then they showed me the playback, they were like, "Tone it down, just a little. Just like you're crying." So that was quite funny. Everyone had a little laugh at that, at my expense, but that was probably the funniest moment for us and my favorite moment from this season, because it had a bit of everything. It was funny and it was sad.
ED: What is your relationship with Chaneil Kular and Simone Ashley like in real life?
MK: It's jokes. When we're all together, it is craziness. Chaneil is always playing music very loud. Our trailers are usually directly next to each other, so when I come in in the morning, it's either try to have a nap while listening to a rave right next to me, or just go in and get involved. He's definitely always there if you want to have a good time. He's really funny, and we'll have a sing-song and dance, which is always good in the morning when you're tired. And me and Simone, usually if we've got some time off in between scenes, we'll just sit in the trailers and talk, and just take videos on Instagram. You know, those videos with the filters? We'll just take videos with the dogs; we've got like a hundred. We always have fun, us three. Since the beginning.
School, But Make It Fashion
ED: What can you tell me about the scene in which Ruby is wearing this look?
MK: She wears that outfit in a few scenes because it's a school day outfit. You wouldn't believe that because those trousers are see-through, but she is wearing a leotard underneath, so it's more of a trouser effect. She's covered, it's fine. But it's an outgoing look for school for sure because she's also wearing heels, but that's Ruby. She likes to make an entrance.
I'm a massive fan of big shoulders on a top, which it does have, but they're mesh, and I was saying to everyone, "I'm really not sure about this shirt. I don't know if it looks good." And Ben Taylor, the director, was like, "Mimi, let's just do one take, and I'll show it to you, and you'll see how good it looks." And you know what? He was right. It did look very good. It was a very well put-together outfit, so I'm grateful.
ED: Does putting on Ruby’s clothing help you get into character?
MK: It definitely does. I wouldn't have expected that, but when you have costumes like that... She has this sort of very self-assured, very proud of herself, not-worrying vibe. Usually if you went out in quite an extravagant outfit, you might be a bit like, "Oh God, I hope people don't stare." There's none of that. She wears everything she wears with such pride. So it always gives you that energy. It definitely does help me to give me that energy of, “I'm a bad B. No one's messing with me today. I don't care.” Just self-centered energy, which is what she has. It definitely helps with that.
ED: How does your personal style compare to Ruby's?
MK: I'm definitely not that outgoing, especially when I was in school. If I'd come in to school dressed like that, I would've gotten sent home. But I think I’ve definitely been more adventurous with my fashion since playing her, because you don't realize that certain things would look good or would suit you unless you try them, and I've sort of been forced into trying them by playing Ruby and thinking, “I actually really like that. It actually looks really good.” It's definitely made me more confident and adventurous with what I wear in my day-to-day life. I'd say it's a good thing for me; it's added to my life.
ED: Was your experience in school anything like Ruby’s at Moordale?
MK: My school was very different in the sense that it was a very relaxed vibe. So no, it wasn't. But I suppose usually in school you're getting to know who you are and stuff like that. So, I mean, hats off to her for being so confident at the age of 16. But no, when I was in school, I was just trying to get away with going in with a hoodie on. We didn't have big classes either, so everyone was very, very close in my school. It was a very nice experience.
Sex Education Season 3 premieres on Netflix on Sept. 17.