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Emma Mackey admits fearing she was too ‘prudish’ for Sex Education role

Emma Mackey has admitted she feared she might be too “prudish” to play Maeve Wiley in Sex Education.

The hit Netflix show centres on two teenagers, Otis Millburn (played by Asa Butterfield) and Wiley, who open up a sex advice clinic at their school. 

In her role, Mackey’s character has sex on screen numerous time and the actress, 23, said she was initially “taken aback” by the explicitness of the script.

Speaking on Belstaff’s The Road Less Travelled podcast, hosted by Reggie Yates, Mackey said: “The first time I even read the script, I was like ‘I don’t know if I can do this’. Regardless, I never thought I was going to get the part in the first place.

(Greg Williams)

“I was like ‘you might as well just try’ but reading the script, I was so taken aback by it. I was like ‘I can’t, I don’t know if I can’. I was quite prudish about it all anyway.

“Luckily like we were just really well looked after from start to finish, even before we started filming, we were given all of these tools by Ita O’Brien, who’s the intimacy coordinator.”

She added: “The tools we were given were specifically to prevent any sort of like, trauma post-sex scene. We were given all these tools like psychical consent and we choreographed it quite significantly.” 

Friends: Mackey with Aimee Lou Wood on the set of Sex Education (Sam Taylor/Netflix)

The programme – which also stars Gillian Anderson – has won praise from critics for its portrayal of teenagers and adults facing the trials and tribulations of sex and relationships.

The role was Mackey’s first acting job after moving to the UK from her hometown in the Loire Valley, France.

Opening up: Mackey with Reggie Yates (Greg Williams )

On the podcast, she also discussed how she had a “culture shock” when she moved to Leeds for university. 

“I was so desperate to come to the UK and I had to be there,” she said. “But it was a culture shock for sure, to go to like a big northern industrial city and just be surrounded with loads of people my age from all over the world was just brilliant, it was so good.”

The Road Less Travelled with Emma Mackey is available on Monday from Apple podcasts, Spotify and belstaff.co.uk.


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