Actress, writer and overall busy bee Issa Rae graces the April cover of Teen Vogue, where she discusses Insecure’s highly-anticipated return, her blossoming film career and more. Much to the chagrin of its fans, the beloved HBO series—
which kicks off its fourth season on Sunday, April 12—has been on hiatus since 2018. In the issue, the California native discloses that Insecure’s lengthy break was due to her needing to live a little in order to grow and create.
“Insecure takes nine months out of my life,” she explains. “I’m pulling from life experience, and if you’re not living, then what are you really making? It’s a dream to be able to make this show, but I want to make sure that the show is also good. We needed a pause. Coming back, we just felt so fresh and excited to be there, and it showed. It felt like fun again.” Elsewhere, Issa discusses the importance of being able to convey Black experiences through the show and its stories, which she understands are not “one size fits all.”
“We can’t showcase everybody’s experience. This is personal to me, and it’s about my friends,’” she says. “And even still, you get people that are like, ‘That’s not me’ or ‘I don’t know any Black folks like that…’ I don’t feel obligated to tell certain stories because of our audience, and I don’t feel restricted from telling certain stories because of our audience. It’s my story. Who’s going to tell me what to say?”
While her comedy series was put on the backburner, her film career was front-and-center. In the past two years, Rae has been seen in The Hate U Give and Little and was also the leading lady in the romantic drama The Photograph alongside Lakeith Stanfield. Her upcoming rom-com The Lovebirds co-starring Kumail Nanjiani was set to hit theaters before COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented worldwide, however, it was announced in March that the film will be available on Netflix in April.
“I just want to try different things [and] keep getting better…because I’ve never considered myself an actress,” Rae says of her budding leading lady status. “I always considered myself a writer-producer—and an actress for fun. I want to make sure that with each project I’m taking on, I’m bringing something to the table and not just showing up as me. A lot of people don’t get this opportunity, so I don’t want to take it for granted.”