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Issa Rae Talks Newlywed Life, Self-Care & Navigating Friendships In Your 30s

"I'm extremely happy. I like my life, I like this selfishness."

Issa Rae

Issa Rae might be revving up for the much-anticipated return of her hit HBO series, Insecure, in the coming weeks. But sis isn't letting work stop her from slaying covers left and right this year. Her latest one? The cover story for SELF. In it, the star talks about current and future projects, being a workaholic, self-care, and enjoying newlywed life.


Issa's work life is absolutely insane. The 36-year-old entertainer has inked an exclusive five-year deal with HBO and WarnerMedia. So while we're in the mist of saying farewell to Insecure, sis has been booked and busy with the release of television projects like the unscripted show, Sweet Life: Los Angeles and the forthcoming Rap Sh*t for HBO Max. And that doesn't even touch the surface of her money moves with her record label, as a part-owner of a coffee shop and natural hair company, or her work with her own production company.

In addition to her professional wins, over the years, it has become increasingly important to Issa to make room in her life for the personal as well.

Earlier this summer, she took a pause from her hectic work schedule to make time to get married. Issa nearly broke the internet with her epic wedding photos of her big day in France where she married partner, Louis Diame. But sis said the pause didn't feel like a true one.

"France was something to look forward to, for sure, but I, again, really, really foolishly worked up until it, ended 'Insecure,' then was obviously editing it, and then went to go shoot another show for a couple weeks, then went to go scout in Miami, just did everything up until that event.
"Then I did festivities in France, and that was still...it wasn't vacation. It was still like you're planning an event. It was fun, it was blissful, and coming back was hard. Coming back knowing that I had to go to work again and I was only out there a week was pretty devastating."

2020 was a year of stillness for many of us; and Issa admitted that she lost some of the lessons she picked up about self-care in the wake of taking on more in her work life. While she likes feeling productive in the present, she can't deny how pleasurable leisure felt during that time.

"I got a lot of stuff done that I've been wanting to do. I do like being productive just for myself and feeling like I get things done for me that are on a deadline because I want to do [them], and I miss that."

She also described how that translates over to her personal life too, and had this to say about navigating friendships at this stage of her life:

"It's really disheartening to realize, 'Oh, we have to really, really make an effort to see one another.' I just reached out to my group chat of friends to be like, 'Can we at least have a standing brunch or dinner once a month?' and everybody was down, and then I was like, 'Oh, shit, I'm going to be out of town. I'm going to be gone.' That's so fucking whack."

And about that question so many newly married folks get almost as soon as they walk down the aisle, Issa says she's not pressed to start a family. To keep it a buck, she's not sure if she wants kids ever. Ultimately, as a Black woman in Hollywood, she feels like there's an expiration date on her time allowed on-screen and on the scene. She is enjoying being a newlywed and living her life on her own terms.

"I'm extremely happy. I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window. I've always felt that way, that women, Black women especially—unless you're Viola Davis or Angela Bassett—you have a window when people are going to want to continue to see you and see what you can do."
"Then there are so many limitations placed upon you, and that does keep me up. I want to do as much as I can while I still can. I know it's not the proper mentality to think that kids will slow you down, but I do feel that way."

Read Issa's full cover story with SELF here.

Featured image by Rich Fury/Getty Images

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