The Untold Truth Of Issa Rae

Issa Rae should be anything but insecure, since her career in Hollywood is skyrocketing. The California native wears many hats: producer, actress, writer, creator, and author. "I'm doing what I love, and that is never lost on me," the Insecure co-creator told Glamour in 2018. "Even when I'm in my most frustrated moments, I'm like, 'There's always a silver lining.' My general vibe is grateful, happy."

Even though Rae — who popped up after her web series, The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl, premiered on YouTube in 2011 — is a total boss, she doesn't let fame get the best of her. "I am always striving to get better. I am always thinking, 'Okay, how can I top this? Or, how can I learn from this?' I just never want to be complacent," she explained.

As for how she wants to be remembered? "I want to be a pop culture staple — a black pop culture staple," she told Cosmopolitan in May 2020. "I want to have an impact on my community. Everything I've done has been for — and in thinking of — black people, and I don't take this moment lightly. I want to do right by us, at the end of the day."

Well, it's safe to say Rae isn't going anywhere but up. Let's find out more about the HBO star. 

Issa Rae's career started with a web series

Issa Rae's entertainment career began after she uploaded The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl to YouTube in 2011. Rae first gained interest in theater when she was in high school, per GlamourShe'd never thought of playing the leading role in a show, but she decided to take a chance. "The friend that I wanted wasn't available," she explained. "I was like, 'F**k it. I know how to act this part.'"

Despite doing what she loved, Rae was nervous about her future. "The embarrassment came from making a YouTube series while all of my friends were being doctors, lawyers, diplomats, all of those different things," she added. "Those postcollege questions — did I have to go to college to do this? Did I have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make YouTube videos? — that was embarrassing for me."

Luckily, once Rae "started making money back," she knew she was on the right path. "There was no blueprint to do this. There was no one I could look to to be like, 'Oh, so-and-so made some videos and then had a television show, and then did movies,'" she said. "You kind of just do it."

From there, the series went viral, and fans raised over $50,000 to fund the first season (via Money). In 2013, HBO asked Rae if she could pitch any other ideas to the network (via The New York Times), and the rest is history. 

Issa Rae says making Insecure is 'a dream'

After HBO called Issa Rae in 2013, the actress "came to the network with the concept for Insecure," The New York Times reported in 2015. The show focuses on a 30-year-old woman dealing with work, relationships, and friends — all of which is loosely based on Rae's life.

Clearly, Insecure — which premiered in 2016 — is a success: It has run on HBO for four seasons (the fifth season is already greenlit), was nominated for three Emmys and two Golden Globes, and currently has a 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There was an 18-month hiatus between Seasons 3 and 4, but Rae insisted it was a much-needed break. "Insecure takes nine months out of my life. I'm pulling from life experience, and if you're not living, then what are you really making?" she told Teen Vogue in April 2020.

Rae acknowledges that "it's a dream to be able to make this show," but she wants "to make sure that the show is also good." She added, "We needed a pause. Coming back, we just felt so fresh and excited to be there, and it showed. It felt like fun again."

"I just want to try different things [and] keep getting better ... because I've never considered myself an actress," she said. "I always considered myself a writer-producer — and an actress for fun. A lot of people don't get this opportunity, so I don't want to take it for granted."

Issa Rae has a connection to Beyoncé

It's typical for celebrities to befriend one another in Hollywood. For example, Issa Rae revealed she has hung out with Beyoncé quite a few times. In 2017, Rae was at a restaurant in Los Angeles, California called My Two Cents when she interacted with Queen Bey and her husband, Jay-Z. "[Jay-Z] came over to say hi first and then we saw Beyoncé see him come over and she came, and I was like, 'Oh God, oh God,'" she told Elle in 2017.

"I didn't even listen to what he was saying," Rae continued. "It's so rude because he's just as great, and it's great to meet him, but I have already met him and then she came over and was just like, 'Hey, I'm Beyoncé.' She was like, 'You're beautiful, I love your work, I'm a fan.' I died."

Since then, Rae has "seen" Beyoncé "several times" — casual. In January 2020, Melina Matsoukas, an executive producer on Insecure, had a birthday party, where Beyoncé "just rolled up" behind Rae, she recalled to Vanity Fair. "I turned around and audibly gasped. She's always been super casual and cool and a regular black girl, but I can't acknowledge her in that way. I just ruin it for myself every single time. Then, of course, after I gasped, I tried to play it cool like, 'Oh, hey girl.' It's Beyoncé."

Well, it sure seems like Rae is living the dream.