Embracing the Awkward, One Webisode at a Time
With her Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Web series, Issa Rae captures the angst of brown women everywhere -- and has caught Hollywood's attention in the process.
While at Stanford, Rae met Tracy Oliver, who plays Nina, the mean girl, on the show. The two became friends and writing partners. Their goal back then, according to Oliver, was to become "the black female Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
"We've always worked really well as writing partners because we're both incredibly silly and immature, which is horrible for making great life decisions, but amazing for writing comedy," Oliver said. She explained that it's Rae's star power that draws viewers to the show. "She is a beautiful, dark-skinned, intelligent woman with natural hair in a leading role. That's huge."
Rae figured that ABG would be popular among her friends and it would be a great way to showcase her talents as a writer, producer, director and actress. But the series quickly went "mildly viral," as Rae calls it. Each episode averages more than 40,000 viewers, not bad for a show whose episodes she thinks up in the shower.
"I'm writing this pretty much off the top of my head," said Rae, who is now represented by United Talent Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment, which also represents comic writers Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Donald Glover. "It's just crazy to me."
Rae said she is "just writing, writing and writing." Her team is working to develop ABG as a cable series, but in the meantime, Rae is focused on J's story.
"I hope she finds herself, and I really hope she becomes comfortable with herself," she said, "but I don't see that happening anytime soon."
Look for the newest episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl July 7.