Fans Of ‘Bottoms’ Stars Rachel Sennott And Ayo Edebiri Spark Debate About Assuming Actors’ Sexualities

URL copied to clipboard.
Loading the player...

Acclaimed actresses Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri most recently starred in lesbian-centered comedy “Bottoms.” The film is a critical and commercial success, and the first creative endeavor that the New York University classmates turned TV and film stars have collaborated on in years.

Despite the pair portraying lesbian characters, fans of the actresses have since discovered that both women appear to currently have boyfriends in their off-screen lives. Their personal relationships are sparking a conversation about straight actors portraying queer characters, and whether it should be assumed that they are straight in the first place.

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: (L-R) Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott of Bottoms pose for a portrait at SxSW Film Festival on March 11, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 11: (L-R) Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott of Bottoms pose for a portrait at SxSW Film Festival on March 11, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Robby Klein/Getty Images)


In an interview with Vulture, Sennott and Edebiri spoke out against the public pressure placed on entertainers to label their sexualities. While actors comfortable with being out and labeled can provide a positive platform for LGBTQ+ representation, the actresses feel that sexuality is fluid and deeply personal, and that it is not their responsibility to label themselves to validate their creative pursuits.

Edebiri cited actor Kit Connor as an example of why outing actors should not be normalized. The debate on gay actors, which has been contended with for decades, reached Gen Z when the“Heartstopper” star was forcibly outed as bisexual on the internet following the mass popularity of the show.

Connor’s beloved character, Nick Nelson, identifies as bisexual on the show. The incident led Connor to take a lengthy social media break, and criticize overzealous viewers for outing him, which he felt was the exact opposite message portrayed in the popular show.

Edebiri elaborated saying “I’m glad he’s out and happy or whatever. But it’s one of those things where I’m like, ‘Bro, this is not how we do progress. We are being worse than whatever you think the other side is. If you think this is a way to liberate people, it’s not.’”


Social Media Reactions

Many LGBTQ+ identifying fans of the pair of actresses and “Bottoms” are disappointed that both appear to be dating men currently.

Elsewhere, others are reminding critics that actors are not their characters, and that real people cannot queer bait, as some choose not to label themselves.

The ongoing debate surrounding the true meaning of queer baiting falls into the same category as the discussion surrounding parasocial relationships on the internet. Many fans of digital creators, actors, and musicians are recognizing that as much as they can admire a Taylor Swift song, they will likely never know their faves on a personal level.


Oxford Reference points the term “parasocial relationship” to the 1950s. “A term coined by Horton and Wohl in 1956 to refer to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by members of an audience in their mediated encounters with certain performers in the mass media, particularly on television. Regular viewers come to feel that they know familiar television personalities almost as friends.”

Digital culture has only made these relationships more commonplace due to the ongoing stream of information. Sennott and Edebiri have not commented on the internet phenomenon surrounding their personal relationships.

More headlines