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Reneé Rapp Says 'Traumatic' Sexual Assault Inspired One Of Her Most Heartbreaking Songs

Reneé Rapp received near-unanimous praise from critics and fans alike last month when she performed a goose bumps-inducing version of her song “Snow Angel” on “Saturday Night Live.” The song itself, however, is her way of working through a very dark moment in her life.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday, the “Mean Girls” actor and singer explained how “Snow Angel,” which is the title track of her debut album, was inspired by a “traumatic” 2022 experience with sexual assault in Beverly Hills, California.

“God knows what happened to me,” she said. “And it happened two years ago. I woke up on a bathroom stall, face up in The Beverly Hilton with blood on my pants. And had been left alone at that point for like seven hours.”

She went on to note: “I think that if I was taught and spoken to about what assault is — obviously it’s really difficult to prevent that or prevent being abandoned by a group of friends at a hotel bar — [but] I would love to have had more emphasis on what assault was and how to handle it. Because in hindsight, I think the next day going to the hospital would’ve probably been [smart]. But I was just like, ‘Nope, I’m going to block it out.’ I think I went to a [recording] session the next day.”

Watch Rapp’s “SNL” performance of “Snow Angel” below:

Rapp previously addressed the assault on a September episode of Jay Shetty’s “On Purpose” podcast.

“I really let my judgment go when it came to the people that were around me,” she said at the time. “We were all out, and it was just situation after situation where they were just not trustworthy. And then the next thing you knew, I was face up, laying down in a bathroom stall in a hotel bar, just waking up at 5 in the morning, completely alone.”

When it came time to perform “Snow Angel” on “SNL,” Rapp told The Hollywood Reporter that she’d used the color of her outfit and the stage set to reflect specifics of the scenario.

“I will be on a red floor and I need to start laying down because that’s how I woke up,” she told the outlet. “And there should be red underneath me and I should be in all white.”

Despite the painful origin of “Snow Angel,” Rapp has heard from a variety of listeners who have different takeaways from the song ― which was exactly what she’d hoped for.

“I’m not making music to just make music. I’m making music to start conversations,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “So I wanted to have ‘Snow Angel’ come out and it be confusing and left up to interpretation. And I still see so many funny takes now that are like, ‘Well, this song is clearly about when she was doing heroin.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re amazing, and I love your creativity.’ But I like that people think that, weirdly enough.”

Read the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter.

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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