Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Lil Ginge
Midori Francis plays Alicia on the HBO Max series The Sex Lives of College Girls. And while she may be a “supporting character”, she is absolutely essential to the emotional core of the show. And, quite frankly, one of the best all-around characters on it, too.
Showrunner Justin Noble agrees. Noble says that Alicia is one of his favorite characters in the HBO series. The Sex Lives of College Girls is about four very different college freshman women attending the prestigious Essex College in New England.
Noble has admitted that the connection between Alicia and Leighton, the Upper Eastside society cis het “normal girl” wannabe, has generated incredible chemistry on the show.
Noble has said that he wants to deliver more of this chemistry to viewers. And this can be seen as a great sign of things to come in season two. The show needs Alicia back. And the storyline between her and Reneé Rapp’s Leighton Murray needs to continue.
Who Is Midori Francis?
Early Life of Midori Francis
Midori Francis (born Midori Iwama) was born on April 26, 1994, in Rumson, New Jersey. Francis grew up in a primarily white town. As a result, she often found herself the victim of teasing and bullying for being Asian. Often she was mocked for being perceived as ugly or weird. Luckily, Midori would have the last laugh on her childhood bullies.
After graduating high school, Francis attended Rutgers University. There, she majored in theatre at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. And Francis would go on to earn her BFA degree. During her time at Rutgers, Francis also studied abroad in London under Tim Carroll. She also performed in The Two Gentleman of Verona at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Midori Francis Post-College
Midori Francis graduated from Rutgers with her BFA. After, she would begin a successful New York City-based theater career. Before appearing in New York City, Francis would land regional theatre roles in several productions. These included Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Syracuse Stage, where she played Nina. And also in Peter and the Starcatcher at the Wells Theatre in Norfolk, Virginia. There she played Molly.
In 2016, Midori would land the role of Meghan in the show Connected at 59E59 Theaters. 59E59 is an Off-Broadway house in New York City. This performance garnered her two 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Awards nominations. She won the award for Outstanding Actress and was nominated as part of the Outstanding Ensemble category.
In 2017-18, Francis performed in The Wolves in the role of No. 8 at The Duke on 42nd Street. The Duke at 42nd Street is also an Off-Broadway house. The Mitzi Newhouse Theater, Off-Broadway, and New York Stage and Film at Vassar also featured the show.
As part of this ensemble, Midori Francis won a Distinguished Performance by an Ensemble award at the Obie Awards. And she also won an Outstanding Ensemble award at the 2017 Drama Desk Awards.
Midori Francis Transitions to Film & Television
Prior to 2018, Midori Francis did have some television roles. She appeared as Lin on the show Younger in an episode titled “The Marshmallow Experiment” and as Emma Hsueh on Gotham in an episode titled “A Dark Knight: A Day in the Narrows.”
In 2020, Francis scored the lead role as Lily in the Netflix holiday romcom show Dash & Lily. The show was adopted from the young adult novel written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.
Francis helped work on the show’s creative process. Sex Lives included elements of Francis’s real-life background and experience.
The 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards nominated Francis for her work on Dash & Lily for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Daytime Fiction Program. But this was not the only reason 2021 would be a notable year for Midori Francis.
Midori Francis in The Sex Lives of College Girls
Francis’s life changes after she was cast as Alicia in Mindy Kaling’s The Sex Lives of College Girls. And it would make her a true television star. Kaling International produced the series in association with Warner Bros. television.
The show follows the misadventures of four young college girls in their freshman year at Essex College. But the four roommates are extremely different and all four are not exactly fast friends.
This is especially true of Leighton Murray. Murray is a snobby, not really likable Upper Eastsider who seems too good for pretty much everyone. But the seemingly white straight rich privileged Murray has a secret – one that actually makes her far more likable than we initially thought.
After a particularly bad night on campus involving underage drinking and property damage, the Essex administration forces Leighton to do community service at the campus women’s center. The Center is a haven for woke, queer, nonbinary, progressive women types, much to conservative society Leighton’s chagrin.
This is where Leighton meets Alicia, who runs the women’s center. The two immediately butt heads, as Alicia sees Leighton as not much more than a giant bundle of white, pretty straight rich privilege. And Leighton wants as little to do with the women’s center – and its women – as possible.
Alicia and Leighton As An Emotional Core of The Sex Lives of College Girls
The connection between frenemies Leighton and Alicia quickly becomes part of the emotional core of the show. This is especially true one night when Alicia and the rest of the women’s center attend Leighton’s older brother Nico’s fraternity party, again to Leighton’s chagrin.
There is an extremely ugly episode of misogyny and homophobia by one of Nico’s frat brothers towards Alicia. Alicia chews out Leighton for seemingly not backing her up (an unfair charge). But, everything suddenly changes between Leighton and Alicia in this moment. This is where an already excellent show really took off to a higher emotional level.’
The season-ending episode of The Sex Lives of College Girls ended on something of a cliffhanger for the Alicia-Leighton storyline. The cliffhanger seems to cut the connection between the two characters, maybe for good.
But as Noble suggested, there is far too much chemistry and emotional resonance between these two characters for this to be the end. We all want to see what continues to happen between Leighton and Alicia. We’re all invested now!
Midori Francis’s Alicia is part of the heart and soul of The Sex Lives of College Girls. And Kaling and Noble would do well to keep Alicia – and her connection to Leighton – as a central part of the storyline moving forward. We can’t wait to see what happens with both Alicia on the show and Midori Francis’s sky’s-the-limit career as an actor.
If you enjoyed this article on Midori Francis of The Sex Lives of College Girls, make sure to check out our article on Reneé Rapp Leighton Murray
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