Issa Rae did not want to wake up when her phone rang on the morning of Monday, Dec. 12. Her publicist was calling to tell her she received her first-ever Golden Globe nomination for Insecure, the HBO comedy she stars in and also co-created with Larry Wilmore.
"She called me mad early at like 5:20 a.m. Truthfully, I ignored the call at first ‘cause I was like, ‘Uh-uh. It's too early.' "Then it dawned on me, I was like, ‘Oh s—t, it's probably about the nominations.' And then I saw and just sat in it, like, ‘This is insane. This is happening.' And then I called her back," Rae told E! News in a phone interview with a laugh.
The Golden Globes has a history of honoring fresh voices, especially the last few years in the Best Actress in a TV Comedy category. Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriquez won the award in 2015 and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom took home the award in 2016. Rae is the latest in the line. "I see that all the around, with Atlanta, I saw it with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend last year and obviously Girls, so it feels great to just even be acknowledged for doing what we all love," she said.
Insecure tells the stories of Issa (Rae), a young woman who works at a non-profit and has a steady boyfriend, and Molly (Yvonne Orji), a corporate attorney unlucky in love. Read on for more from Rae on the nomination, separating fact from fiction and more.
In relation to the new faces and fresh voices, what do you think Insecure is bringing to TV that wasn't there before?
I think just an authenticity and for lack of a better word, a, like regular voice, you know? I think black people aren't really used to seeing themselves be the norm, and the default and have these regular human emotions that white people are afforded on every single type of show. So, to just to have relationships and friendships exist in a normalized way is something that hasn't been done in like 20 years.
Is that what you're most proud of regarding your show or does anything else stand out?
I mean, I'm glad of that and just the team that we have behind it and that includes the writing staff and behind the scenes—and we really do have fun and love being around each other. Just using everybody's stories to make a very human story.
How much of Issa Rae is in Insecure's Issa?
Personality-wise, a lot. I've definitely grown up more, and I've made different decisions. I know what I want to do, but in terms of a lot of stories that you see on screen, some of them are taken from the writers room and from my own life, but mostly they're made up.
I was wondering if people have a hard time separating you Issa and TV Issa.
Oh my god, yeah. It didn't help that I named my character after me. On Twitter when the infamous cheating scene happened I was all kinds of "whores" and "bitches." I was like, "No, y'all are not about to do this in my mentions today! Stop. Uh-uh. This is not going down." So, yeah, I have noticed that some people have a little bit of a hard time separating our characters.
What can you tease about season two? We saw Lawrence move out. How is she going to deal with the fallout?
Well, breakups are never really clean. I think the show at its core is about Issa and Molly's relationship, so, just how they're going to continue calling each other out and helping each other navigate their mess of lives.
Who are you excited to meet? Golden Globes is such a huge party.
And lots of alcohol right? I think I'm just excited that everybody will be in a pretty tipsy state so I won't be as scared to go up to people. But I'm just—Dude, every single body. I'm excited about the cast of Moonlight…I've met Donald Glover, but I'm excited to meet the rest of the Atlanta cast. I'm just excited for everybody who is going to be there…I love Tracee Ellis Ross and Girlfriends definitely paved the way for Insecure, so to even just be nominated in the same category as her is mind-blowing to me.
Your category is stacked. Not to make you nervous.
It is, it is. I'm fine. I'm happy just be on the list and be included.
Do you want to add anything regarding your nomination?
I'm definitely taking it as a nomination for everyone who's worked on this show. It sucks that I'm face—I'm saying it's bittersweet because I get a lot of the credit for the work that goes on, but there's the cast, the crew, the directors, everybody has made the show what it is and I'm just grateful to be associated with it.
The Golden Globes air Sunday, Jan. 8 on NBC. Insecure will return for a second season on HBO.
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