So I tweeted her and she responded. Who better to tell her story than Orji herself? And I was like, ‘What is this thing?’ and my friends were like, ‘You don’t know about this?’ and I was like, ‘Clearly, I don’t. Or the biscuits! I’ll tell Issa. They kept the homeless and the artists alive, man. Like Insecure, it’s so good for people to see themselves represented. The 34-year-old known for her role as Molly on Issa Rae’s “Insecure” has been putting in work for years. “When my bank account was low, I ate 2 Bros. Pizza. —, “My brothers made me a tomboy. Since the June 6 release of Momma, I Made It!, Orji says phase 2 has allowed her to finally shift into a slower gear. But it was just about getting up and having fun with your family. ORJI: Somebody asked me that yesterday, [but] the writing was so spot-on that I didn’t even have to. “Y’all know my character is hecka messy and I hope she gets it together for my sake and for hers.”. At the time, they were just trying to make this really dope movie. This is my cocoon phase and I can’t come out of this a caterpillar. And then we have a little of Molly, because I feel like she’s compartmentalized. I’m the Gayle in that situation—you can still get a discount! Interiors Boston, Modern Her and Issa’s friendship—and their combined charisma—form the bedrock of the show. What is this thing! “I was basically doing what they instilled in me, but I was just applying it to the wrong profession. Luxury Dallas, Modern My mom was like, ‘I have three sons! MULLEN: On screen, you and Issa seem like you’ve been best friends your whole life. We were like, ‘We just wanted to get our full season in.’ We didn’t want to get canceled! “Issa, they love you!” [laughs]. So in First Gen, I have this character Joanna, who has this late coming of age—it all happens when she’s about 25. Occasionally, you would see, like, the Wall Street businessman with a suit and a briefcase and I wanted to be, like, ‘This is not for you, sir! ORJI: Oh, that’s great. Ever since the show’s first episode in 2016, Orji’s popularity has grown steadily among super-fans and critics alike. With one foot grounded in her Nigerian culture and the other navigating the entertainment industry, the actress slips in and out of a Nigerian accent to demonstrate certain ideas, and back to American English for others. We had a respect for one another, creatively. I wanted to explore that dichotomy. ORJI: It’s the story of my life. It was fun just to see different types of families on TV. It’s kind of like Love & Basketball, which is my favorite movie. The other side of the formula, Orji’s Christian faith, is what keeps her going when the path to the finish line isn’t always as clear. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter, Register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot today. that follows the actor-comedian from onstage in D.C. to her native Nigeria, where viewers meet Orji’s loving—if not overly doting—parents. There, in thigh-grazing boots and a black blazer that sculpts her figure to perfection, Orji recounts childhood experiences and her journey from pre-med student to stand-up sensation. Yvonne Orji. After studying to become an OBGYN, and receiving a Masters in Public Health, she turned to standup comedy. ©2020 Verizon Media. In Nigeria, we are very communal in those pursuits; in America, it’s more independent,” says Orji, who moved from Africa to Maryland when she was 6. And sometimes that happens when I'm in public and people look at me like, Is that lady going through something? You never want to be the reason for your parents shedding tears. Then I took organic chemistry and I was like, “Oh, no. If this was, like, medicine, they would have said, ‘Just go for it! Who were your models growing up? She was like, ‘I’m having a wine down and game night at my house, you should roll through.’ Of course, I get to her house and her friends are like, ‘What? By Matt Mullen Photography Dani Brubaker. You take one slice of bread, put some maple syrup on it, you fold that piece of bread. I have this desire and this dream. “Growing up, I think I didn’t realize that anything was different. For anyone who was black or brown, it was like, ‘Oh, this shows me in a way that I hadn’t seen on TV before.’ It’s the same thing with Insecure. Has there been a big build up? The Nigerian American actress and comedian will soon gear up for season five of HBO’s acclaimed series Insecure, while earlier this summer her first HBO special, Momma, I Made It!—a stand-up show highlighting her immigrant upbringing—debuted. MULLEN: I think it’s really both of you, and your chemistry. Images and Video by Jan-Willem Dikkers.
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