'Minx': Lennon Parham on Shelly's Sexual Awakening and Hopes for Season 2 (Exclusive)

The actress talks to ET about the character's unexpected journey and filming those hilarious erotic fantasies.

As one of the stars of Minx, the reliably funny Lennon Parham breaks down her character Shelly's unexpected journey in season 1 and hopes for future episodes of the hilarious and well-received HBO Max series created by Ellen Rapoport. 

After two collaborations with Jessica St. Clair on Best Friends Forever and Playing House and notable recurring TV roles, including the always vaguely agreeable Karen Collins on Veep, Parham has struck gold with the workplace comedy about making an erotic feminist magazine. On the series, which has garnered attention for its flashes of full-frontal male nudity, Parham plays Shelly, the sister to ambitious Minx editor Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond). 

And as Minx quickly proved, it has plenty of heart and wit to match the amount of flesh seen onscreen, with much of the comedy driven by its pitch-perfect ensemble, which also includes Jack Johnson as Minx’s low-rent publisher Doug and magazine staffers Oscar Montoya as Richie, Idara Victor as Tina and Jessica Lowe as Bambi. 

“Honestly, the script for the pilot was the funniest thing I had read in, like, two years,” Parham tells ET, explaining that she immediately got it. “I understood the tone. I understood the subject matter. The characters were all really, clearly defined with fun places to go. And it was just so funny and sharp and timely.” 


As Shelly, Parham gets to play a Pasadena, California, housewife who may or may not be living the dream as a mother of three married to a dentist named Lenny (Rich Sommer). “She’s up to her eyeballs in the suburban dream,” the actress says, explaining that when Joyce starts the magazine, Shelly is suddenly exposed to this whole new world. “It feels totally titillating and exciting. And so, when she gets access to it, it’s everything she dreamed it would be and is just super fun.”

Parham adds that Shelly’s new life helping out at the magazine, which includes helping on photo shoots with the male models, “is completely unlike her day to day, which has become drag and regular.” 

What’s refreshing is that despite being this quote-unquote typical housewife, Shelly embraces Joyce’s magazine without judgment. In fact, in the first episode, audiences even see her encouraging her sister to go for it. And as a result, Minx also becomes “something special that’s just for her,” Parham notes. 

The more Shelly gets involved, the closer she becomes with everyone involved, notably Bambi, a compassionate and whip-smart model turned photo shoot coordinator at David’s Bottom Dollar publishing company, where Minx is made. After the two get arrested for handing out copies of Minx outside a PTA meeting, the two form a close bond, which leads Shelly to ask Bambi for help to spruce up her marriage’s stalled sex life. 


In season 1’s penultimate episode, “A Scintillating Conversation About a Lethal Pesticide,” Shelly takes things with Bambi even further, in one of the series most sensual scenes so far. After an opening with Shelly’s erotic fantasies -- a Fabio-like stud, two religious figures fighting over her and even a stable boy -- failing to get her aroused while her husband goes down on her, she has Bambi take photos of her posing in lingerie. And that’s when the two unexpectedly hook up. 

“We’ve seen earlier in the season that she particularly vibes with Bambi and feels really good when she’s around her,” Parham says, and in that moment, “Bambi is making her feel beautiful and return to some form of herself that only probably existed pre-mom or never existed at all, you know.” 

So, when Shelly kisses Bambi, “it surprises them both,” Parham continues, noting that “there’s already this tender connection” that has brought them closer together. 

For Parham, it also marked a couple of firsts in her onscreen acting career. Not only is she “not used to being in my skivvies, as it were,” she explains, but as a comedic actress, “all of the makeouts I’ve ever done have been comedic in nature. Like, a bunch of insane tongue.” 

However, for this scene, “I really just wanted to do it justice,” Parham says. “I wanted to make sure that it felt really grounded and authentic to a woman whose world is opening up. And maybe there were options that she never even considered.”


Parham credits director Natalia Leite for taking great care to make sure the scene not only felt authentic but was not from the perspective of what a man might think would happen between two women. “She wanted it to feel like when two women suddenly are drawn to each other,” she says. 

That said, she also had a hilarious time doing quite the opposite while playing out Shelly’s misfired fantasies, where all the sexy parts were played up for comedy. “So, it felt very comfortable,” Parham says of working with the various male actors to pull off the dream sequence. 

“And then there was the horse,” she says, explaining that the animal was part of Shelly’s fantasy of hooking up with a stable boy. But after an entire day of shooting with the other men, they were starting to run out of time. “And we had to get the horse,” she continues, explaining “that particular scene was filmed very quickly.”

In the end, “it was a lot of making out with people that I had not known prior to that,” she says. “But we just went for it. There was really no other way around it. And the horse was nice.” 


While Shelly ends up cleaning Bambi’s house and seemingly returning home to her husband and kids, where things go from here remains unclear. Although Minx has not officially been renewed for season 2, Parham is excited to see what happens between the two in future episodes. 

“She goes down this wormhole of feeling good with Bambi,” she says. But after their night together, she “kind of gets shocked out of it when she sees how messy the house is. Like, her mom instincts kick in… and she realizes this is probably a folly and decides it’s not tenable at the moment.” 

However, the actress has her fingers crossed that in the future, Shelly’s mind could change. “We’ll see. I’m excited. I really hope we get more seasons,” Parham says. 

Minx season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.