Web series creator turned Hollywood starlet, Issa Rae recently dropped some gems at a press conference in Johannesburg. The actress who created stars on her hit HBO show, Insecure was in South Africa for the In Good Company Experience.
The IGCE is an innovative, inclusive women programme held annually. Issa spoke about her road to success and the many hardships she faced. “The journey started in college. I had a lot of work to do and I’ve been trying to break into the industry since I was 21 and constantly told that there was no room for my stories,” she told the audience.
She stated that she was rejected a number of times but did not let that deter her in the pursuit of her dreams. “For me, I hate hearing no. I just find a way to turn them into yes. No one likes no’s, especially when you feel like you’re meant to do something. This is all I wanted to do. So to hear, ‘no you can’t do it,’ for me I just didn’t believe it,” she said.
On Awkward Black Girl, she explained that executives only approached her after she decided that didn’t want to get the show on television. Her deal with HBO for Insecure took a staggering 3 years to negotiate.
Regarding Insecure, she revealed what’s on the cards for the show. “I would say it’s in the middle for me. I think we’ve very much talking about a series where these characters, you see their journey change over time. If Issa and Molly are the same when you first saw them even now to what will be the end of the series, then we failed,” she said.
She revealed that the show was half way through. “We just want to show an incremental journey. I want to mirror kind of my own experience, course I’m definitely not who I was when I was 20 or when I was 25. It’s a constant growth process, ” she added.
Issa Rae does it all, acting, writing, directing and producing. She touched on the numerous projects that she’s currently working on. She just finished filming a movie titled Little in Atlanta. The film is the brain child of the talented young actress Marsai Masai who plays Diane on the hit family sitcom, Blackish. “She pitched the movie to Will Packer when she was like 10 years old and shot it now that just turned 14,” Issa explained.
Issa is also starring in the film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s bestselling book The Hate U Give alongside Regina Hall. The movie is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in October. We see you Issa, stay shining!