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Issa Rae Says Her Parents Helped & Hindered Her Self Esteem

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Issa Rae landed herself a movie role in The Hate You Give

Issa Rae reflects on her childhood in her new cover story for Essence magazine in which she pinpoints how exactly her parents helped her self esteem while simultaneously hindering it in the long run. Issa described how she grew up very much loved and always complimented on how beautiful she was, in addition to admiring the beauty of her dark skinned cousins. Once she reached adolescent age things changed for her. Issa explained:

“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.”

Issa Rae went on to express how she initially cancelled herself out in regards to being a model or a cover girl or pursuing a career in which her influence was based on her beauty. She prided herself on her intellect rather than her beauty.  Nonetheless, the future had a funny way of proving her wrong because she finds herself being exactly what she thought she would never be able to become. Issa went on to explain:

“I’ve definitely thought about middle school me looking through magazines and being perfectly content with the fact that my face wasn’t going to be used to sell makeup; that wasn’t my future,” Rae says now. “I just didn’t imagine that. So the fact that it happened is like, you just never f—ing know. And you should never discount anything. I think so many of us tend to be comfortable with what we’re not and complacent with what we’re not. You really don’t have to be. I didn’t solve world peace or anything—it’s not like that. But something that felt so small and intangible ended up being tangible. And that’s just the coolest thing in the world.”


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