Rami Malek does not like the way he looked as a high schooler. When his classmate Rachel Bilson shared an awesome throwback Instagram photo in 2019 of the two visiting New York on a senior class trip to New York, he DM’ed the former Hart of Dixie actress and bluntly asked her to remove it. Rachel, 39, recalled their brief exchange during a Mar. 29 appearance on Dax Shepard and Monica Padma‘s Armchair Expert podcast, admitting that she was “bummed at how it was handled.”
“Rami was a good friend of mine,” Rachel explained about her Sherman Oaks, CA Notre Dame High School pal and fellow theater geek. “We were [in] the same crew. We did the Crucible together senior year, we were the leads in it together—all these things.” The former The O.C. star said she had posted the throwback snapshot as a sweet tribute to Rami, 39.
It was to celebrate his victorious awards season run in the winter of 2019 for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. But the Mr. Robot star did not appreciate the photo where he was completely unrecognizable in unflattering way, especially coming just prior to the 2019 Oscars ceremony, where he ended up taking home the Best Actor trophy.
Rami was slightly heavier, had jelled up hair, wore bad 90’s fashion and looked absolutely nothing like the hunk he is today in the snapshot. Rachel however looked just as beautiful as she does now. She teased him, “Hey @ramimalek where’d you get that gold chain? #tbt #oscarworthy #dontforgetthelittlepeople,” in the caption, referring to the necklace he was wearing.
“Obviously, he gets super famous and he’s always been extremely talented…even in high school,” she continued. “I had posted a throwback of us from our senior trip to New York. We’re super nerdy…just the dorkiest picture of the both of us. But I throw it up, cause it’s funny and I think it’s so important to be able to make fun of yourself.” Rachel said as to why she shared it on the ‘gram. Rami then reached out to her with a very curt message, as he “didn’t like the picture of himself.”
“I don’t usually check my DM’s on my Instagram…maybe a week goes by and I actually look and I have a message from Rami. But it wasn’t like, ‘Hey! How are you?!’ It was straight to: ‘I would really appreciate if you take that down. I’m a really private person,'” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh, s–t! OK.’ I get really hot and start sweating. I’m all nervous, like, ‘Oh god! What did I do?’ He was a really good friend, it’s a funny picture…you know? I don’t take myself that seriously.”‘
However, other folks thought Rachel did Rami wrong, as the photo of him was less than flattering. “I’m friends with his stylist and she was like, ‘Well it’s not a great picture of him,'” Rachel said. Even the creator of The O.C. Josh Schwartz told his old pal Rachel that she was in the wrong posting the photo. “It was right before the Oscars and I remember Josh Schwartz being like, ‘You did him dirty. He’s about to be nominated.'”
Rachel tried to make things right by Rami, but never heard back from him, which left her “super bummed.” “I was like, I guess I should’ve found something more flattering,” the actress said in retrospect “But I removed it and I even wrote to him a really nice message: ‘I’m so sorry. Go get the Oscar! You’re doing amazing.’ And I never hear anything back, which is fine. But I was super bummed because he was always so nice and we were good friends.”