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4 Key Takeaways From Issa Rae’s Interview With Vanity Fair’s Yohana Desta

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May 19 2021, Published 6:29 a.m. ET

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Issa Rae. A name like no other rings bells as she made herself known within the film and television industry. Some may know her from her online series The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl where her character J takes us on a journey through the aspects of her everyday, awkward life.

As for me, I was introduced to Issa through her HBO hit series Insecure, which is known as iconic in the television industry for being both created by and starring a Black woman. 

In a recent interview with Yohana Desta from Vanity Fair, Issa not only gave a life and career update, such as the close to $40 million production deal with HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia, but detailed the projects she has been working on for the past couple of months. Through her stories and amusing personality, she shared valuable gems throughout the interview every professional woman can find inspiration in. Here are the gems that stood out to me:  

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1. It All Starts With A Vision

Yohana details for us a vision board Issa posted on the wall in her home office, “The board, I can’t help but notice when she Zooms me around the room, also has an HBO logo on it and the words TV writer.”

At some point in life, we will/have all attended a vision board party. I remember the first one I created was in college to meet other girls on campus. At the time, I had no intention behind what I was creating. Now, as a young professional woman with plenty of goals and dreams, it can become a struggle to keep it all in my mind.

Vision boards serve as a creative and purposeful way to continuously be reminded of the goals we set out for ourselves. Many may relate vision boards to the Law of Attraction, but science also proves that vision boards are effective. With five successful seasons of Insecure on HBO, Issa serves as a testimony for the power behind vision boards. If you can see it, then believe there is a possibility. 

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2. Go With Your Gut Feeling

When Issa shared her hit show, Insecure will come to an end after its fifth season, many of us felt a bittersweet feeling. Sweet because we’ve been gifted with five seasons of a show that we can all somehow relate to. Bitter because there won’t be any more tea between Lawrence and Issa!

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Nonetheless, this was all a part of Issa’s plan. “I pretty much go with my gut, and this is what my gut’s been telling me forever,” Issa told Yohana when discussing the making of season five. Making decisions as an adult is an underrated responsibility! However, that gut feeling will always be a significant indication for the next move to make. Going with her gut feeling rewarded Issa because as she was planning for season five, COVID changed the trajectory making production difficult and indicating it was time for a new venture. 

3. Put People On When Possible

If you’ve ever watched a few episodes of Insecure, you’ll notice the cast is completed with new and immensely talented actors. Even actors with hilarious one-liners, we will see them once and never see them again throughout the series.

Yvonne Orji, who plays Molly in the series, admires Issa for trusting a cast full of first-timers to carry out the vision of Insecure. Putting people on to opportunities when possible speaks volumes to your character. I once read a quote that stated the strongest bond women can have is one with her sister. We are stronger together and placing someone in a position to grow is one of the greatest things you can do in your career and theirs. 

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4. Find The Thing That Grounds You

When we’re running around, going from meeting to meeting, checking items off our checklist to add another, we don’t notice the time flying by. Before you know it, we’re wishing we had more hours in the day, when in reality we need to be grounded. Feeling grounded is living in the present and not worrying about the past or future. Take it from Issa, she journals. “Rae also clears her mind by writing in her journal at least three times a week,” Yohana mentioned.

It’s essential to our health to spend some alone time doing an activity that doesn’t create stress. Exercising, meditating, or sitting in stillness with a cup of tea are a few things you can do to ground yourself. 

From the characters she plays in her shows or being her everyday self, Issa can serve as an inspiration to every ambitious woman. 

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By: Asha Bey

Asha meaning "full of life" was born and raised in New York City. Growing up with a big family and connecting with diverse people throughout life inspired Asha to take her communication skills to greater heights. After graduating with a Bachelor's in Mass Communications and a Master's in Business Administration, she aspires to write about topics relevant to the growth of young professional women. Aside from writing, Asha finds fulfillment in keeping up with fashion trends, indulging in self-care, attending social events and exploring new activities with family and friends.

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