“I’m Always Pushing For More.” Yvonne Orji Talks New Series And Keeping The Faith
We all need a “Molly” in our lives and I’m not talking about the kind that causes panic attacks and profuse sweating. I’m referring to a friend that inspires you with their hustle, co-signs your craziness and is honest with you when you’re about to make a donkey’s behind out of yourself. If you’re a fan of Issa Rae’s hit show Insecure, you know that Yvonne Orji is the actress behind the corporate bad ass who has better luck practicing law than love as she and BFF Issa navigate the wins and L’s of their lives one trap song at a time.
The actress recently sat down with Her Agenda to talk about how she got her start as an actress, how her faith has helped guide the way to success and her career aside from the hit HBO series she’s come to be known for.
So how does a girl go from getting a master’s in Public Health to jumping in front of the camera? 33-year-old Orji says she literally stepped out on faith:
“My faith was the bridge for that. I wasn’t checking for the entertainment industry. I didn’t even know I could be a part of the entertainment industry or to what capacity.”
“Nothing about this seemed right, anything I’ve ever done or ever wanted to do, but…it’s really [about] practicing trust [in God] and saying ‘Yes.’ Getting that internship for the Writer’s Room was saying ‘Yes.’”
Orji steps were definitely ordered. In addition to landing the role of lovable and impeccably dressed “Molly”, she’s also hosted Chris Rock’s Total Blackout tour in Atlanta, hosted “The Wait Is Sexy,” an honest TedTalk in which she was very vocal about her decision to wait to have sex until she’s married and is currently working on a pilot for the series FirstGen. The semi-autobiographical series will center on Joanna, a first generation Nigerian-American who trades a career in medicine for a chance at stand-up comedy. Orji shared that the show has required a lot of passion as well as the message she hopes it will promote:
“I say all the time, it takes nine months to have a baby. Anything before that is premature.”
“However, long it’s going to be, it’s going to come out like ‘Kaboom!’ guess who just stepped in the room. It’s going to be dope.”
“There’s so many stories I want to tell with this show that I think will resonate, not only with people who are FirstGen, but with anybody who comes into contact with FirstGen. Like ‘My best friend is from Ghana, and I didn’t know that her parents put pressure on them. This show has helped me see why they’re 4.0 students.’ TV has the opportunity to educate in a way that opens you up to understand other people and start conversations you probably wouldn’t know how to start. It gives you an entry way.”
With executive producers Oprah and David Oyewelo, we’re sure the show will be well worth the wait.
Even with all the moves she’s making, Orji is clear that self-care is important:
“I’m always pushing for more. How can we pack on more to that? For me, I live by can’t stop won’t stop. Yea, I can use a vacation, but there’s work to be done. But rest is important and I take it. When my body is like ‘Sit down! Be humble.’ [I listen] because I have to replenish.”
So what can fans look forward to in the second season of Insecure? Orji tells Entertainment Tonight that the next chapter will focus on growth for the characters:
“Molly is trying to be a better version of herself from season one,” Orji explains reminding us that her character’s insecurities haven’t completely gone away “because, you know, she was a beautiful mess.”
She shares that the show will also explore subjects that the black community is hesitant to touch such as mental health and getting professional help and open relationships. Orji reveals that’s what makes the show so different:
“That’s what makes the show really exciting and funny and fresh.”
“Last season, we talked about homosexuality within the black community. We looked at black women who cheat. And those are things that we haven’t necessarily seen before. The show is always going to throw up a lob and see where it lands, never telling you a right or wrong.”
You can read the complete interview here where Orji shares the insane time of the day she gets her best work done and her goal to bring the black rom-com back. You can also check out the misadventures of Molly and Issa when the second season of Insecure airs on HBO Sunday, July 23rd.