Netflix's teen comedy Sex Education is truly an ensemble show. Following a group of students at Moordale Secondary, the show zooms in on new kids from season to season and even episode to episode, while also giving longtime characters the spotlight. In Season 3, which dropped September 19, Moordale's fashion-obsessed queen bee Ruby gets more screen time as she pursues a casual relationship with the now-retired unofficial sex therapist Otis.
British actress Mimi Keene, who has played the mean girl since Season 1, shone in the new spotlight, giving Ruby a depth that surprised viewers and had even longtime Maeve-Otis shippers changing their minds. She's proven herself as one of the most underrated talents on Sex Education's stacked cast, and as an artist to watch.
She starred in her first professional role at age 11.
The 23-year-old actress was born and raised in Hertfordshire, in southern England. She started her acting training early, studying at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London from 2009 to 2014.
Keene got her start as a stage actress, and made her professional debut playing Janey in the play Kin at The Royal Court Theatre in 2010. She then made her TV debut on an episode of the British teen show Sadie J in 2013.
Her first large role was on the legendary soap opera EastEnders.
Her first recurring TV role was Cindy, a troubled teen on the longtime BBC soap opera EastEnders. She acted on the soap from 2013-2015, appearing in 122 episodes. During her time on the famous soap, she was nominated for the British Soap Opera Award for Best Young Performance and the Inside Soap Award for Best Young Actor.
She has two adorable dogs and a cat.
The actress is an animal lover, with two of her small dogs making regular appearances on her Instagram. One of the pups, a light brown dog named Baby, even got to make her television debut. Keene revealed to Glamour that Baby plays herself in Sex Education Season 3.
"She's been coming with me every season. I bring all my dogs with me. I've brought my cat with me before. It's a whole thing. I'm always the person with the animals. I've been trying to land her a role for the past three years, and she's just landed it this season." She added: "She's got some very cute scenes, and Ruby does speak to her, much like you'd speak to another person. Very serious. That's how you'd speak to them. And I do that in my life," she continued.
She's close friends with her co-stars Ncuti Gatwa and Chaneil Kular.
The Sex Education cast is a tight-knit group, and Keene has become close to several of her co-stars over the past three years. She said in her Glamour interview that she's particularly close with Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric, and Chaneil Kular, who plays The Untouchables member Anwar. She says that Gatwa makes her laugh the most, and that he and Kular tie for the costars whom she can tell anything.
She wishes she could have dressed like Ruby in high school.
Keene told Glamour that she shares a love of dressing up and wearing heels in "very inappropriate places" with her character. "That's probably one of the most fun parts of playing her, and this season is no different. She has some incredible outfits. Who wears heels to school? No one. My headmaster would not have allowed it, but if I could have, I would have. And also, we both talk to our dog, which is mine in real life," she said.
Her favorite quirk of Ruby's is her long nails.
When asked about playing the queen bee, Keene told Teen Vogue that her favorite quirk of Ruby's is her regular hair flicks and tapping her nails. "I don't have them in my real life, but she always has some very long talons, which constantly snap," she said.
She continued, "We'll be filming and the director Ben Taylor will say to me, 'Hair flick, Ruby hair flick,' or 'Ruby nails, nails again. Nails on this, nails on that. Nails with the hair.' So that's quite a fun thing to do, because it's just one of her little special things that's just for Ruby."
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Quinci LeGardye is a LA-based culture writer who covers TV, movies and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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