Natasha Rothwell won our hearts as Kelli in the HBO series Insecure and due to her comedic style and relatable personality, she quickly became a fan favorite. However, Natasha is more than just an actress, she also writes and directs, which has also been showcased on Insecure.
The 41-year-old’s performance on the popular HBO series proves that her character is more than just the funny plus-size friend which has historically been the case for many, many television shows and movies.
When speaking to British magazine Gal-Dem, the multihyphenate acknowledges her Insecure character not falling into the old Hollywood trope plus-size women find themselves in. “I think that Kelli is very much a character and not a caricature,” Natasha said.
“She’s very consistent. She’s body positive. She rides for her friend but she’s never self-deprecating. She is not the punchline of her jokes – she’s in control. I think those are some really key differences to that trope that I think people are wanting to lump Kelli into.”
While she loves that her character resonates with a lot of viewers, it can become a lot to deal with. When you’re the only one or “other” most of the time you feel pressure to do your kind justice. We see that a lot within the Black culture.
When you’re the only Black person in a predominately white space, you may feel pressure to represent your Blackness positively and try hard to disprove the negative stereotypes.
The White Lotus star feels the same way about being the only plus-size woman on the Insecure cast. However, she refuses to let it get to her.
“It is a lot of weight for any show to carry when they are the only one tackling the humanity of people. People want to hang their experiences as a plus-size Black woman on me,” she said.
While we see the Kansas-born star displaying a lot of confidence in her craft, it wasn’t always that way for her. From 2014-2015, she wrote for Saturday Night Live, and while it may be looked at as a notable accomplishment to write for one of the most prestigious sketch-comedy shows, for Natasha it wasn’t what it was all cracked up to be.
The comedian told the Los Angeles Times that she struggled with feeling seen. "I wanted to show that I belonged. I wanted to be at the table at SNL and I wanted them to think, 'F---, she's funny. I like what she has to say. And I see her and, oh, that joke is great.' That's a lot to carry," she said.
"And I think that's also an expression of privilege for white writers: They don't know what it's like to walk into a room and feel like the audition is not over. I didn't feel seen, always. Putting my hand up was me wanting to know if my voice could be heard. It was Pavlovian for me."
Currently, Natasha can be seen on The White Lotus and the final season of Insecure.
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