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The “Run the World” Cast Weigh In on Ella’s Absence in Season 2: It’s “Like Real Life”

The "Run the World" Cast Weigh In on Ella's Absence in Season 2: It’s "Like Real Life"

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Things look a bit different in “Run the World” season two — starting with one of the main characters. The Starz dramedy returned on May 26 to pick back up where it left off with best friends Whitney (Amber Stevens West), Renee (Bresha Webb), and Sondi (Corbin Reid) following season one’s roller-coaster finale. However, there’s one face that’s noticeably absent in the season two premiere: Andrea Bordeaux’s Ella.

As fans may remember, although the Harlem-set series focuses on the girls’ friend group as a whole, it all started with Ella at the beginning of season one, as she kicked off the next phase of her struggling writing career at the digital gossip site Hot Tea Digest. Throughout the first season, Ella’s resurrected career and hectic love life were major storylines that continued until the very end, where she finally patched things up with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Anderson (Nick Sagar), and started writing the first chapter of her new book.

Though Ella isn’t completely absent in season two (she’s still mentioned in conversations with her girlfriends), some fans may be wondering about the shift from the core four and why Bordeaux didn’t return to the show with the rest of her “Run the World” castmates.

Read ahead to find out what we know and see how the cast feel about the change.

Is Ella in “Run the World” Season 2?

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Bordeaux’s Ella still has a presence in the second season, though small, and the show wastes no time addressing her absence at the start of the premiere. While on a plane ride back home from their girls’ trip, Whitney mentions she should’ve stayed in Tulum, Mexico, like Ella, and extended her vacation (mainly to get her mind off her breakup with ex-fiancé Ola). Sondi then chimes in to clarify that Ella isn’t still enjoying a blissful trip away to escape reality, but instead, staying an extra week to work on her book.

Later on in the episode, after Whitney and Ola decide to split up for good, the former gets a text from Ella saying she has some news to share and asks to get on the phone with all the girls. The next scene then cuts to Ella’s boss Barb (Erika Alexander) reading a resignation letter from her as we see her friends packing up her apartment. Renee then confirms that Ella won’t be returning to Harlem because she decided to stay in Tulum for the next six months to complete her book. Even Anderson pops in to bid Whitney, Renee, and Sondi goodbye, as the latter tells him to “take care of our girl.”

For viewers who weren’t in the dark during season two production for “Run the World,” Ella being seemingly written off the show doesn’t come as a surprise. Back in February 2022, Bordeaux revealed on Instagram that she wouldn’t be returning to the show after she was reportedly fired over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. “Getting the opportunity to play Ella on #RunTheWorld was an absolute dream come true,” she wrote in a caption. “I would have loved to continue to grow with this delightful character and having to come to terms with this sharp turn in my life, my dream, and career these past several weeks has been heartbreaking beyond words. I have so much love for the cast and crew of ‘Run The World’ and will miss them. I wish you all the best.”

Bordeaux added in her post, which included a screenshot of a Deadline report, “Despite what the article says, I did not opt to leave the series and Lionsgate made no efforts to find a workable solution. I was fired.” She concluded her message by writing, “Thank you to everyone who has shown me Love and support. I am so grateful for all of the kind words, messages, and phone calls. I’m overflowing and abundant in so many ways and I hope you know that it means the world to me.”

What Have the “Run the World” Cast Said About Ella’s Absence in Season 2?

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Speaking to POPSUGAR, the cast of “Run the World” shares that they weren’t too worried about continuing on with their show without Bordeaux. “It was OK. It was something that we just fell into and we had to walk it out,” Webb notes. And as Stevens West points out, their former costar’s exit felt like a reflection of the distant friendships many experience as young adults.

“That’s like real life because I’ve had several friends in my adult life who have moved away and we’re still friends and we keep in touch and that doesn’t make them any less important in my life, and that is shown in the show,” she explains. “Ella is still a part of this girl group and she’s a presence in the show and I think it’s handled really well.”

Reid also notes that Ella “has impactful moments” with the girls in season two “without being there just because that’s how strong their friendship is.” “I mean, the older you get, people move to different cities, they do all kinds of stuff, so I think it’s a really accurate reflection of what happens in your 30s, you know? When people make life decisions,” she continues. “But, for us as actresses, we love each other so much. We know we have great chemistry and we knew it was going to be OK.”

According to Stevens West, filming season two was still “just as fun” with a trio as it was with the original four. And despite the fact that they’re no longer acting alongside Bordeaux, Webb says, “The love doesn’t change.” “COVID-19 has shown us that friendship is needed at all times and you can get to it whenever you can and to have the grace; give your friends grace. So you have to just carry that through.”

“Run the World” airs new episodes on Fridays on Starz.

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