Simone made a big choice during her trip to LA on All American. We spoke to Geffri Maya about her road ahead on All American Homecoming.

Warning: This story contains spoilers for the latest episodes of All American and All American Homecoming.

Simone Hicks (Geffri Maya) had a hell of a trip back to Los Angeles.

In need of a break from Bringston University — mainly Damon Sims (Peyton Alex Smith) — Simone heads back to see her friends and boyfriend on the west coast for fall break on the latest episode of All American. While she gets to see Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), Olivia Baker (Samantha Logan) and Layla Keating (Greta Onieogou), the shift she has felt in her relationship with Jordan Baker (Michael Evans Behling) takes up a large chunk of the trip home. The emotional entanglement she has with Damon back at school is what she sees in Layla and Jordan, even if Jordan doesn't. At the end of the episode, Simone breaks up with Jordan in a letter after an emotional conversation where the young couple is very honest about how they've grown apart.

Returning from Los Angeles single, Simone mourns her relationship on the newest episode of All American: Homecoming. Initially she says she's fine and tries to push through, but the heartbreak has an impact on most areas of her life, including tennis. It takes an emotional ceremony with Nathaniel Hardin (Rhoyle Ivy King) for Simone to begin working through her breakup.

Read on for EW's interview with Maya about returning to All American, that emotional scene with Damon, the big breakup, and more.

Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks
| Credit: The CW

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it like to return to All American and reunite with the cast?

GEFFRI MAYA: It was an amazing experience because it's where I started. It's my family, you know what I mean? This universe is just really special and I was coming home. The love is still there.

Simone is returning home after some time at college. Did you play her differently, given her growth at Bringston?

It's a great question. Simone is a young adult now and she's gone through mental health issues in terms of her anxiety and panic attacks, which she has to tackle. On top of that, she's experiencing big girl things when it comes to jobs, handling her emotions, making adult decisions. So her coming back to the world of All American and experiencing home and Jordan in a different way plays a big part. Then her seeing a different dynamic between Layla and Jordan, because before she left, Layla was her maid of honor and Jordan was the love of her life.

We'll definitely see a little shift in Simone in terms of how she processes and navigates the new relationships she has with all of these people.

What was shooting that emotional scene about Simone and Jordan's relationship with Michael like?

Michael and I were both in our heads about the breakup scene because we know how pivotal the characters are. Not just to each other's arcs, but to All American. We know people love Jordan and Simone together and everything they have overcome. It was nerve wracking for us because we're not going to working together as much anymore. It really did feel like a breakup. I was super emotional. This is years of working with this person, depending on him and supporting each other through the emotional trials of acting.

Why do you think Simone ultimately decides breaking up is the right choice?

They are different, and a lot of the times, what we need to do is not always comfortable. That's what growing up really is, it's making certain decisions that are going to benefit you in the long run. We don't know what's going to be in store for Jordan and Simone's futures, whether together or apart.

The pressure explodes in a very emotional scene with Damon. From your perspective, what is going through Simone's head?

It was beautiful because it allowed Peyton and I to continue to build out a relationship where [we] can depend on each other as actors. A lot of the time when you film things that require so much vulnerability, no matter how close you are with someone, it's scary because you're unzipping your emotions and thoughts. You want your relationship with your scene partner to be secure enough to depend on that person, and having that moment with [Peyton] really secured our positions. It shows how far they can really go, not just romantically but platonically as well. Their foundation has always been friendship, and a lot of times you need that before love in the first place.

At the moment, Simone is working on herself, but I am curious — what can you say about how she'll navigate Damon and Thea's budding relationship?

It's going to be interesting in terms of Damon, Thea, and Simone, because at the end of the day in terms of Damon and Simone, my biggest hope is that as the season progresses — and hopefully we get a season 2 — they navigate truth and learn or grow. It is a part of life because if you have a door open and you don't walk through it, there is an opportunity that somebody else will, and it's just the truth.  

I can't say much without giving it away. Everyone loves a frenemy situation and this takes it to another level. It is going to be a huge test of the genuine friendship that we believe Thea and Simone have created with each other.

Credit: The CW

Even through her tough breakup, Simone still wins her tennis match. As we head to the season finale, what can you share about Simone's journey in terms of tennis in the final episodes?

Simone's tennis journey is about her coming into her own. Whether it be coming from her panic attacks or a tennis match, she's really discovered what type of athlete she wants to be. She's coming into her own and I really would like to say she's going to find it and tackle it all head on.

There's an emotional scene where Simone and Nate have a ceremony to help Simone mourn the end of her relationship. What do you remember from filming that scene?

I remember being extremely emotional and just channeling loss and [what] it means to lose something. And again, I had a great scene partner. [Rhoyle Ivy King, who plays Nathaniel Hardin] is an amazing partner because you want someone you can be vulnerable with. I'm excited for people to be able to share that moment with us, because I know people care about Simone and her relationship with Jordan.

Can you speak to Jordan's significance to Simone and how big a part of her journey he is?

The significance of Jordan in Simone's life is getting her to this point of being able to celebrate herself and making decisions for herself. It's time for her to take charge of who she is and [who] she wants to be. Jordan was like the wind beneath her wings. Jordan supported her in all the ways, from being a mother to making a decision about going to a school she felt brought her joy, courage, and strength. To me, Jordan holds that significance because he always saw her for who she was supposed to be and wanted to be. He helped get her there and allowed her to push through to be better, stronger, and wiser.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

All American and All American Homecoming air Mondays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, on The CW.

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