The Girls on the Bus: Is Lola Rahaii Based on a Real Tiktoker Journalist?

Image Credit: Linda Kallerus/Max

In HBO Max’s ‘The Girls on the Bus,’ we meet a distinct set of characters who embark on a life-changing journey while their personalities and ideologies clash. The protagonists are the women reporting on the presidential campaign and come into it with their own biases and preconceived notions about each other’s beliefs and approach to journalism. The one that stands out the most among them is Lola Rahaii. A youngster who uses her influence on social media to create political awareness, Lola adds a new flavor to journalism. With the show focusing on real-life aspects of journalism, the question about Lola’s arc in the show and her connection to reality comes to the fore. SPOILERS AHEAD

Lola Rahaii is Inspired by the Politically Active Young Americans

Image Credits: Nicole Rivelli/Max

When the creators of ‘The Girls on the Bus’ decided to make the show, they knew they didn’t want to be caged in by a single ideology or form of journalism. They knew that a story as complex and deep as this needed to be told through different perspectives, and it was important to include the thoughts and points of view of the young generation, who have learned to harness the power of social media to amplify their voices. This is where the seeds of Lola’s character were sown.

Amy Chozick, whose book ‘Chasing Hillary’ serves as the inspiration for the Max show, revealed that they looked towards young activists like X Gonzalez (born Emma Gonzalez), who have been marked by tragedy but have been fuelled by their trauma, to speak for the reforms in law and speak out against the injustice of the system. For Gonzalez, their political activism moved forward in full force after 2018, when they survived the shooting at their school, Stonemason Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, in which seventeen people were killed and several others injured. Since then, Gonzalez has been a vocal supporter of gun control and co-founded Never Again MSD, a gun-control advocacy group. They have also appeared in news segments and talk shows, like ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show,’ and spoken out about changing the law in favor of saving young lives.

For Chozick and co-creator Julie Plec, Gonzalez and other youngsters like her were the inspiration behind Lola’s character. They looked towards the young kids who had been through something so tragic that could change them for the worse, but instead, they used their voices to do good. Extrapolating on Gonzalez’s journey, they wondered what it would look like for the young activist if they decided to choose the path of journalism. What would it look like for someone who has no education in the field of journalism but only has a massive social media following and a drive to change society for the better?

Image Credit: Francisco Roman/Max

Lola’s character also contrasts the journalism of other characters, like Sadie, Grace, and Kimberlyn, who follow conventional journalism and are working for prestigious news outlets to get the best scoop and advance their careers. For them, Lola is nothing more than a TikTok creator who sells lube while covering the presidential campaign. Through her point of view, the creators explore the power of social media and how much influence the young generation can have over the politics of the country once they put their minds to it.

Lola’s perspective also gives an entry point to the audience, most of whom are also not unaware of the inner workings of a journalist’s job, especially what it means to be reporting on a presidential campaign. All of this makes Lola more relatable than other characters, especially for the younger audience, and gives them someone they can relate to and see something of themselves in.

Read More: The Girls on the Bus: Is the Max Show Based on a Book?