“I love being Nigerian, I love to laugh and I love Jesus. It’s the one-three punch,” actress Yvonne Orji reveals in her interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above). Her piousness might surprise fans of the Issa Rae dramedy “Insecure,” on which she scored her breakthrough role as Molly Carter, a corporate attorney prone to profanity and casual sex. Orji admits that she gets asked how she can “be a Christian and play this role,” to which she replies, “I’m able to use my words and communicate with the production company and the directors and everyone just to get on the same page and say, ‘Hey, listen: I have a brand that I want to protect. I understand this character has different things that she wants to convey. How do we marry the two whereby I can still protect my brand and I can still live in the truth of this character?’”
If not for an episode of the TV One sitcom “Love That Girl!,” “Insecure” would be Orji’s on-screen debut. She previously earned a master’s degree in public health, then shifted to stand-up comedy. She started in television as an intern in the writers’ room of “Love That Girl!,” but Orji is currently pursuing a career in acting. “Using comedy and utilizing that to go into TV and then obviously utilizing TV to go into film — that’s the trajectory for me,” she explains.
If nominated for Best Comedy Supporting Actress, Orji intends to submit the episode titled “Guilty as F***” as her showcase for Emmy voters. “That was beautiful in that we finally see Molly maybe get it and get happiness and then the minute she gets a taste of it, it’s ruined,” she recaps before adding, “That had some really good comedy beats as well.”
Be it epics like “Game of Thrones” or “Westworld” or a sitcom like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” HBO is infamous for its shows’ extended hiatuses, but the network is fast-tracking the second season of “Insecure” so that it can lead out of “Ballers,” the network’s most-watched comedy, which in turn will lead out of “Game of Thrones,” the most-watched program in the network’s history. Orji says, “It is an amazing blessing. When we found out that that was going to be our lineup, all our jaws dropped.” When the second season premieres next month, it will have been just seven months since the first season finale aired. “This is a completely different experience than the first season because first season, we were able to take our time. The writers wrote, then we shot and then they edited and then we had a little downtime and then we premiered. Now, everything’s happening in tandem,” Orji laughs.
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