Insecure star and writer Jo-Issa Rae Diop, shortened to Issa Rae, has been taking the industry by storm. The writer, web series creator, producer, and actress first garnered attention from her Youtube series, Awkward Black Girl. Today, in her cover spread on both the digital and print copy ofEssenceMagazine‘s April issue, she is everything but.
Dazzling in various looks, Issa is the epitome of grace in her latest magazine spread. She sat down withEssencemagazine and discussed various topics, including her upcoming projects. Issa will be starring in the Michael Showalter directed film, The Lovebirds. The cover story comes shortly before the release of her latest work, Little, a movie in which she will be starring with fellow actress Regina Hall. Regarding Little, scheduled to release on April 12th, director Tina Gordon had this to say about Issa:
“Issa comes with this fierce intelligence about the whole film. She’s effective, productive; she sees the big picture. And I think she brings all of that experience into the room with her as an actor. I can just always see Issa’s mind working. She’s just a thoughtful actress who’s experienced every role imaginable—writer, producer, probably caterer, everything.”
— Issa Rae (@IssaRae) March 25, 2019
Issa also briefly discussed her love life, and insecurities she developed early in life when she realized the burdens that dark-skinned girls unfortunately face for their appearance.
“My mom was extremely pro-Black, and I believed her. My dad is Senegalese, and I grew up around my dark-skinned cousins and just thought that they were the most beautiful women in the world. I was surrounded by beautiful dark people. And then middle school hit, and I was like, Oh, they think I’m ugly. They think I’m big. They think I’m unattractive. I went back to my mom like, ‘What the f—k?! Y’all lied to me my whole life. What is this?!’ I started realizing, Mom, you’re light-skinned. So I don’t know what you were talking about. It’s not like you can relate to being dark. And your hair is not the same texture as mine. So what do you know about telling me I’m beautiful? Why would you lie to me? That definitely had an impact on how I saw myself.”
Similarly, she discusses her early ventures in love. She shared how she was focused on:
“Being smart, being accomplished and being respected. As corny as it sounds, I want you to just like my mind. I think a part of it just came from figuring out that the guys I like, I’m not their type. Learning that early on made me realize there’s no point in valuing the physical, because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So what can I control, and what can I bring to the table? How can I be valued in this way?”
Essence‘s April issue is the first in partnership with Apple News+, which just recently relaunched. Apple News+ is a subscription based service that will feature exclusive content from various publications, including Essence‘s spread with Issa Rae. A statement by the magazine’s Chief Content and Creative Officer MoAna Luu said:
“Essence has been working with the Apple team on this exciting launch showcasing our stunning cover star Issa Rae, in addition to our exciting beauty feature package—all shot by black female photographers.”
Issa Rae’s full interview is available now on Essence’s website and be sure to check out Apple News+ for exclusive content!