Good Girl
Gone Better:
Maude Apatow

Going Through Growing Pains and Gains with Euphoria’s Sweetheart

  • Interview: Molly Lambert
  • Photography: Aidan Cullen

When Maude Apatow is pressed to share the most rebellious thing she did in high school, the Euphoria co-star reveals what seems obvious—she’s a good kid. As the eldest daughter of director Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann, Maude’s grown up around the wild antics of the film and television business, but her parents were adamant about fostering a normal (that is to say, non-industry) childhood for her. While Apatow’s role in Assassination Nation (2018’s sadistic thriller also directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson) might imply otherwise, she’s always steered clear of trouble. Reminiscing on her own teenage experimental endeavors, which included smoking weed and trying her first cigarette— “that felt especially bad”—Maude assures me: “I never did anything scandalous.”

Today, Apatow is bright-eyed, bubbly, and slightly self-deprecating. She’s dressed casually in a tank top and short sleeve button down, with a small gold heart locket chained to her neck. The outfit, she jokes, is her attempt to appear “more professional.” Aside from minor parts in her dad’s blockbuster romantic comedies (Knocked Up, This is 40), Apatow starred in musicals and plays at her high school in Los Angeles. Her Insta bio reads: “fan of the musical Annie.” She attended college for a year before deciding to pursue acting as a career, and now she’s back in high school—on screen, that is, in the bleak and, at times, painfully graphic HBO sensation. Apatow plays Lexi, the most rational and cool-headed of the show’s pack, which is not to say prudish. A kissing scene featuring Lexi and Zendaya’s character, Rue, was one of the show’s most electric moments. Though most kids might be afraid to have their parents watch Euphoria, especially if they starred in it, Apatow’s tight-knit relationship with her family means they’re open about everything. “My parents are halfway through the season, because it’s intense,” she says. “But they’ll keep watching.”

Maude Apatow wears Balenciaga long dress and Versace earrings. Featured In Top Image: Balenciaga blouse and Marni earrings.

Maude Apatow wears Balenciaga long dress and Versace earrings.

Euphoria is notable for its young and predominantly femme cast, who have all become breakout stars since the series premiered. They didn’t anticipate the show would be such a hit because, as Apatow puts it, “On the page, it’s good, but it’s so controversial.” She says that filming has been more of a bonding experience, and a fun way to come up in a group of young interesting actors. “It felt like real high school,” she says, “in a good way.” The male characters are routinely awful on the show, but Apatow insists they’re all sweeties in real life. She says Levinson is able to write dialogue for teenage girls because he really listens to the cast and shapes their characters specifically with their notes. If they tell him a particular detail seems off, he’ll tweak it. “He writes [about] anxiety and OCD in such a real way, and I've struggled with that for a long time.” After gaining fame on Twitter when she was younger (publicly declaring observations like “Anderson Cooper unfollowed me,” and “North West scares me”), Maude shifted her focus from her laptop to the big screen. “I went tweet dead,” she tells me, explaining how she started getting in her head about it and it stopped being fun. Maude became aware of the many downsides to being an online persona, especially as a kid. “It's hard to grow up with people attacking you, hearing that stuff. I think that's one thing that Euphoria gets right—that pressure with social media, it's really rough.” Instagram wasn’t a huge deal in her high school, but she sees how it affects her younger sibling’s generation differently. “My sister and her friends are on it for hours and hours and hours a day. I notice it making me feel more insecure, bad about myself, so I don't know what the solution is. Sometimes I delete the app.”

Maude Apatow wears Balenciaga blouse and Marni earrings.

In her downtime, Maude unwinds with her boyfriend, who works in the music industry, watching their favorite reality show 90 Day Fiance. She’s a fan of the true crime podcast “My Favorite Murder.” Its co-host, Georgia Hardstark, recently name-checked her and made her life. “We talked about Euphoria, and she knows I'm a huge fan. She said my name on the podcast, and I literally died, nothing is going to beat that. I'm getting sweaty talking about it!” She loves dark humour, and her favorite movie is Broadcast News. Apatow hopes to follow her father’s footsteps to write and direct at some point, although she’s just starting to plan it out. Working with him is a way to apprentice with him as a director too. “He's the person who's taught me the most, everything I know about everything.”

Maude Apatow wears Halpern blouse and Halpern trousers.

Lately, Apatow has been preoccupied with her next big gig: a part in Ryan Murphy’s forthcoming show, Hollywood, which the director and producer has said will be “A love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown.” She’s under strict instructions to keep all details about the Netflix series under wraps, but she does slip: “It’s going to be really good.” Apatow’s also been on set reuniting with her father on an upcoming movie about the Saturday Night Live comedian and actor, Pete Davidson. She plays his sister in Staten Island, a film she describes as “semi-autobiographical to Pete's life.” It's based on his relationship with his family, and in the movie his dad dies in a fire, unrelated to 9/11. “It's [about] how he grieves and interacts with people,” Apatow says. “Getting to work with my dad is one of the most important things that I’ll ever do in my life.” From practicing lines at home to shared on-screen performances, working with her family comes as second nature because it’s a reality Apatow’s always known. “In high school, I liked to stay home and hang out with my parents,” she admits. As Hollywood nepotism continues, as ever, to dominate Hollywood casting, Maude isn’t afraid to credit her parents for launching her career. “It makes me want to work a thousand times harder,” she says. “I think I will spend my entire life trying to prove myself.”

Molly Lambert is a writer from and in Los Angeles.

  • Interview: Molly Lambert
  • Photography: Aidan Cullen
  • Styling: Brittny Moore
  • Hair: Bobby Eliot
  • Makeup: Mai Quynh
  • Production: Emily Hillgren
  • Date: November 27, 2019