Issa Rae is the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure, a show about a 29 year-old, her best friend, and their life choices. Issa tells Nerdette podcast hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen why we can’t all be Olivia Pope, how her new show reflects her own personality, and how a life crisis in your 30s is more interesting than one at 22.
On why we have to hustle
“I think that’s part of the drive of this generation, too. Because we’re making something out of nothing. We’re making a lot out of nothing. There’s just so many ways to be able to do that now. And there’s kind of no excuse.”
On why a crisis in your 30’s is so much more interesting than one at 22
“You’re so far removed from college at this point. You’re like, ‘This is real life.’ I’m 31. I’m on my own. I have to find my own health insurance, and I have actually to work stuff out without the help of my parents, I have to think about the future, like if I want to have a family. And I feel like it all comes at you at once, which is a lot. You also know who you are by that point too. So it’s like, ‘I know who I am, but what changes can I make to make myself happier? To make sure that I’m on the path that I wanna be on? How can I work on the things that already exist within my life without making a completely drastic change? How do I work with what I have to be better?’”
On the advice she wished she had gotten earlier in her career
“For me, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned that I wish I had known then is valuing people way more. I’ve been blessed enough to have great people working around me, and sometimes you get so focused in your vision that you don’t realize that they have plans for themselves, too. To make sure to check in, and be sure that everybody is getting what they want, and it’s not all about you. I kinda got lost in that “This series has to do well” [mentality] initially, and I didn’t necessarily check in to see if we’re all growing together. “So now, I’m just way more conscious about valuing people’s time, and making sure that we’re all getting to where we want to go. It’s leadership skill stuff, and I didn’t go into this trying to be a leader. You don’t realize that just falls on your lap, and you have to just be ready for it. “
Psst, hey NERDS! Before you go, tell us: How were you brave this week? Tweet us @NerdettePodcast or send an audio clip to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may very well make it into the show next week. (Note: Greta’s answer involved the mere act of cohabitating with her cat. So there’s that.)