It’s almost time for Insecure to return for a fourth season and HBO just announced the hilarious series will be back with new episodes on August 12. The show’s star and creator, Issa Rae, sat down with GQ and revealed some surprising facts about her rise to fame while recreating some iconic looks from out favorite 90s TV characters including Moesha, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, and A Different World.
Here are five surprising facts we learned about the funny lady in her GQ spread:
Her starring role on Insecure was kind of an accident. It turns out, Issa Rae never intended to star in her own series. “I can take it or leave it, to be honest,” she says of the acting portion of her job. “I had another friend of mine in mind, and then she couldn’t do it. So I was like, ‘I’m running out of time. I’m just gonna do it myself.’” Awkward Black Girl was a masterpiece but Rae appears to have a few regrets about how personal her novel was. “Just being such a private person, going back, I wouldn’t ever write about my stuff. There’s no doubt that it worked, but books live forever,” she said.
She’s afraid of failing. Even though Insecure has already had three successful season, Issa Rae still worries that the next things he does could flop. “That could go to shit. This could be the worst season we’ve ever had. And then what? Then people are all of a sudden like, ‘Oh, okay.’ Then the calls stop. It’s like stand-up comedy: In order to eventually succeed, you have to bomb,” she said.
“That’s what every comedian says—that’s when the fear goes away. And I feel like I’m still fearful because I haven’t publicly bombed yet, in terms of my career. Yeah, Insecure is successful now, but where’s my bomb coming? Where are my Will Smith bombs coming? Where, where is that happening?”
She’s not the biggest ABC fan. There were several points in the interview when Rae seemed to displayer disdain for a certain major network. She was just as annoyed as the rest of us when she learned that ABC pulled the plug on an episode of black-ish that focused on Colin Kaepernich and the “Take a Knee’ movement. “That would infuriate me. You know? Like, I’m out here telling the truth, and I’m telling my authentic experience, and you pride yourself on having this show that exposes the plight of a black family in the United States, and then you’re censoring: ‘No, not that. We don’t want to see that part. The world isn’t ready for that. America’s not ready.’ That’s crazy to me…,” she said. “Kenya tries to couch so much in a family show, and get so much across, in a way that I really respect and admire. But a lot of the time it is just mired in the Disney, ABC of it all.”
She knows her strengths. While there are many amazing things to admire about this cool creative force, Issa Rae seems very clear on what helps her stand apart from other writers. “I feel like I’m emotionally intuitive. I sense things and observe certain things about people. I try to pay attention to clues as much as possible.”
She doesn’t like to be “on.” Even though her Insecure character shares her name, that doesn’t mean fans should expect Issa Rae to be just like her television character when they meet her in real life. “I do feel like people expect me to be entertaining, and I’m not. I’m not an entertaining person. I don’t put on for anybody. I think about someone like Tiffany Haddish, who’s just naturally entertaining, who always has a story. And that’s just not my lane. I’m always gonna be the shy one,” she said. “I only want to make my presence felt when I feel like it’s necessary. So much of that is such a hard balance, especially when the narrative is about getting noticed and getting attention for a specific product. And in that way, yeah, I want the eyes to be on what the product is—meaning ‘Insecure.’ But after a while, you become the product.