Issa Rae ‘Wines Down’ With Vulture

By Ashley Morton

Inspired by the get-togethers featured in the show, the 2017 Vulture Fest panel for Insecure, was billed as a “Wine Down With Insecure’s Issa Rae.” Hosted by staff writer Alex Jung, the evening opened with a brief round of “Never Have I Ever” (Issa has cried in public while reading a book, but has never dated a celebrity) before the Insecure creator moved on to discussing her work, including those Due North episodes. Here are some things you might not have known about Issa and the show:

Issa’s character wasn’t supposed to share the creator’s first name.

“I was stupid and I wasn’t thinking,” she admitted. “When you’re creating a show, I wasn’t thinking about what it would be called or what the names of the characters would be … I was just like, ‘Oh I’ll use Issa for now.’ And then I just never changed it. And here I am.”

Issa Dee wears mostly affordable clothes, but she also has one thing most non-profit employees don’t: a costume designer.

“It’s always a battle,” Rae revealed. “I want the clothes she has to be affordable... but sometimes things slip by me. In my mind the clothes are not as expensive; they’re hand-me-downs. Anything that’s expensive is Molly’s.”

Don’t expect to see Issa parents, beyond her real-life mom’s Season 1 cameo.

“I love seeing Molly’s family, I think they’re really interesting. I don’t know why I’m hesitant to depict my own parents,” confessed Rae. “My mom was in the first season and when we got the pick up for the second, she was like, ‘So what character am I going to play this time?’”

Rae broke the news to her gently, “I was like, ‘It doesn’t work that way. People saw you already, you can’t just be a different person every season.’”

Jay Ellis did get hotter in Season 2. On purpose.

“He ‘uglied up’ for the role in the first season,” explained Rae. “We didn’t know he did that, but he grew his beard out, and stopped working out and eating well. And that’s what first season Lawrence was.”

Due North was inspired by two of the show’s writers… so to speak.

“In the writer’s room, we have two writers, Ben Dougan and Dayna Lynne North. And they were having lunch together one day and we just gave them a hard time, pretending they were having a forbidden affair.

Someone came up with the name; Natasha Rothwell [Kelli] wrote the scripts, like eight to 10 episodes. Regina Hall and Scott Foley said yes, and played along.”

Insecure is not for kids. (But hopefully you knew that.)

“I want to be a role model for younger girls, but I want to make content for them,” acknowledged Rae. “So I’m working on that.”

Her dream cameo for the show?

“The Obamas. Just in their off-time,” she said.

Issa advises working with your friends, and people you love and admire.

“The sky’s the limit. I’ve been able to work with so many people, who are up-and-coming, who have taught me so much,” Rae marvelled. “That spirit of hunger and passion and working together to make each other’s dreams come true has been personally fulfilling.”

While you wait for the next season of Insecure, catch episodes of Due North, at the end of the Season 2 finale, Hella Perspective.