We went behind the scenes with the Insecure creator and star for the remote ceremony.
While most celebrities and nominees watched the Emmy Awards from their couches, Insecure creator and star Issa Rae decided to go big rather than stay home. She and her costars gathered at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California (after getting COVID-19 tested), where they tuned in to the remotely filmed ceremony while dressed to the nines.
This year, the HBO series was nominated in eight categories, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
“It’s a testament to everybody’s hard work,” Rae told of the nods. “This season came after a hiatus, and we really just wanted to get recharged—I especially wanted to get recharged—before we dove back into writing the fourth season, and it feels like that time paid off. It’s just so exciting to see so many people on our team get recognized.”
Ultimately, Insecure took home one trophy, for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, but that didn’t dampen Rae’s spirits. “I’m about to keep partying,” she said at the end of the night.
With no red carpet for Emmys night, Rae felt that “there’s no reason to feel stressed about anything”; there’s less pressure on getting the perfect photo in front of the step and repeat. But, of course, she still got glam for the socially distant event. We joined the Emmy nominee as she prepped for the big night at home. Get all of the details below.
HER DRESS …
Rae glowed in a bright orange cutout dress by Sergio Hudson, chosen by stylists Jason Rembert and Shameela Hicks. “It is super beautiful, it has me snatched. I’m wearing a color I don’t wear frequently,” Rae said.
“It makes me feel bright,” she added. Even without a carpet and flashing cameras this year, she still wanted to make a statement.
HER BEAUTY LOOK …
Makeup artist Joanna Simkin was faced with a major question: How much of Issa is America going to see? With no red carpet, the most TV viewers would see of the actress would be a shoulders-up crop fit for Zoom. “I feel a lot of pressure about her face,” Simkin said, wondering if Rae would only be seen via close-up.
Not wanting to distract from Rae’s bold, citrusy dress, Simkin gave the actress a light, slanted smoky eye with a mix of orange and brown eye shadows. “Sexy sunset” was how she described the look.
And while Rae chose her own hairstyle, hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood executed. The ‘do was sleek and “snatched” in the front, but “va-va-voom” with a voluminous curly ponytail in the back. She even embellished the pony with a few crystals.
Nail artist Eri Ishizu was in charge of Rae’s light, nude manicure.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLACK ART DURING THIS TIME …
“This is a good year for Black people to get recognized. It’s been a very hard year for so many people,” Rae said, alluding to the global health crisis and protests against ongoing police brutality and systemic racism.
“I’m just proud that so many people have turned to art, and Black art specifically, across mediums, and to be a part of that feels incredibly special,” she added.
One example is Insecure, which celebrated Black joy in a time when people are feeling so much pain. “I’ve said this before, but airing during the racial uprisings felt terrible, just because it felt like we were distracting from the message and distracting from the mission, but the number of people that found solace in our show reassured me and made the show feel dynamic and needed during a time when it might not have,” Rae said.
HER PRE-RED-CARPET MEAL …
“A pre-red-carpet meal is champagne. I had half a smoothie this morning, so I could increase my champagne intake,” she joked, while holding a glass of bubbly with a manicured hand.
To destress, she plays music around the house. The day of the Emmys, the Brandy x Monica and Gladys Knight x Patti LaBelle Verzuz battles were on rotation.
HER DATE(S) FOR THE EVENING …
For her past Emmy appearances, Rae was able to bring either one date (one time she brought costar Yvonne Orji) or no one, if she was presenting. With the virtual nature of the ceremony this year, she was able to spend the night with whomever she wanted.
“This year, I get to curate who I’m around, and it’s just gonna be one big, safe party with people I love and people who made this possible,” she said.
Costars joining Rae in the stadium included Jay Ellis, Kendrick Sampson, Christina Elmore, Alexander Hodge, and more.