Behind The Scenes

‘Issa’ Woman Crush: Issa Rae

She’s a multitalented producer, actress, and author. She has a hit show on HBO that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She was just announced as the new face of Covergirl. Can you guess who?

‘Issa’ woman crush, for sure. By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the latest slang, people are using the term ‘issa’ to combine the words ‘it is.”

I am talking about the none other than Issa Rae.

Sound familiar? If not, I encourage you to stop what you’re doing and watch Insecure from start to finish. I promise it’ll be worth your time.

Read on to learn how Issa Rae became the boss creator we’ve come to know her as today and why she’s this week’s #WCW.

By: Erika Hunter

In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Issa humbly refers to herself as a “self-proclaimed Black girl who has a show on HBO now.” As the writer, producer, and star of Insecure, Issa says that it’s been a long journey. Though she has been with HBO for only three years, she’s had her nose to the grindstone for over nine.

Issa Rae’s career began long before Insecure.

While attending Stanford University, Rae started a Mockumentary series titled Dorm Diaries. After college, Rae continued to create content. She eventually received a coveted Shorty Award in 2011 for her hit YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl.

The show was praised for defying stereotypes and providing a realistic interpretation of African-American women. In an interview with Refinery29, Rae said,

I had this idea for a show inspired by the style of comedy in Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office, but with this, like, eccentric Black woman. And then I read an article from a girl asking, ‘Where’s the Black Liz Lemon? Where’s the quirky Black girl like me that grew up in white environments?’ That was what I needed to kick my butt into high-gear because I was like, ‘This is my idea, and if somebody else reads this article, they’re going to do it before me!’

The reception to Awkward Black Girl even earned Rae a spot on Forbes’s 30 under 30 in 2012.

Awkward Black Girl was often praised for its use of natural hairstyles! Here are 7 ways you can fall in love with your natural hair.

Today, Issa accredits her current success in Insecure to her original viewers of Awkward Black Girl. She even turned the series into a New York Times best seller, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Similar to the series, it is a collection of essays that talks about the majority of her personal experiences as well as some of her closest friends.

When asked what makes her an awkward black girl on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Issa responded by saying, “Life.”

Growing up, Issa had to transition from predominately white neighborhoods to Black ones. Born in Los Angeles, California, Issa later moved to Maryland in a mostly white community. She had to learn how to handle conversations with those who didn’t resemble her. A question she would often times stumble upon was, “So, do Black people…?” However, after moving back to Los Angeles, she found herself feeling ostracized, and was berated for “acting white.” Although testing at times, Issa has come out on top, creating a platform for those who have dealt with experiences similar to her own.

Issa has helped her millions of viewers to find comfort in their own confusing and uncomfortable situations. For lack of a better phrase, Issa has created a space for women to no longer feel Insecure.

Success like Issa’s doesn’t come overnight, but with the right mental space, you can get one step closer. Here’s how positive expectations can help you get what you want. 

She argues that she cannot speak for all Black people and has no desire to. However, Insecure was created to be relatable for Black people.

“It was something for us, by us,” Issa said.

In fact, Issa has actually made history.

She’s the first Black woman to create and star in a scripted series for HBO and the second Black woman to do it on primetime TV, right behind Wanda Sykes.

In a life of constant transition, Issa has found her stride, making her way from the computer screen to our televisions every week.

“It just feels like I’m popular in high school, if anything,” Issa says to Stephen Colbert when asked about her fame.

As of September 12, Issa is the new face of Covergirl and she (and we!) couldn’t be more excited.

Channel your inner CoverGirl Issa with this Vegan Makeup Routine!

Insecure has been renewed for season 3 that is set to air next year. So if you haven’t had time to watch any of the seasons thus far, you have plenty of time to catch up.

When asked by People Magazine about her current insecurity, Issa responded saying, “The biggest insecurity for me now is what do I do next?”

We can’t wait to see!

Do you look up to anyone who’s killing it in their career like Issa? Share with us in the comments!



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