Insecure's Season 4 Finale Touches on Postpartum Depression and How It Connects to Beauty

HBO series Insecure has never been afraid to tackle the obstacles of real life — no matter how awkward or private they might be — and in the season four finale that aired on June 14, it touched on the topic of postpartum depression, which was reflected in one character's beauty choices. (Warning: The below may contain spoilers. If you haven't watched the finale yet, you might want to stop here.)

In "Lowkey Lost," Tiffany DuBois's struggle with postpartum depression after the birth of her first child bubbles over, resulting in the new mom disappearing and her friends embarking on a search to locate her. Ultimately, DuBois is found safe and sound, but in the most vulnerable state that we've ever seen her — in a towel, no wig or weave, sans any makeup; it's a stark contrast from her usual done-up look.

In the aftershow, Insecure Wine Down, Amanda Seales, who plays DuBois, sat down with Insecure star and creator Issa Rae and showrunner Prentice Penny to talk about her character's storyline and how it's an important narrative to include, despite how tough it is. The buildup to DuBois's breakdown at the end of the season is slow and well thought out. "We wanted to depict this because it's commonplace and we wanted to show this struggle," Rae said. "It just felt like this was the natural opportunity to showcase this. Tiffany is the only mother, the only married one out of our group of friends, and she already started to feel isolated in a way, so unfortunately this just added to her burden."

Leading up to the season finale, Seales explained, DuBois's appearance begins to change as her struggle with postpartum depression continues; it's shown in very small details. "She set this grid up, like my hair is going to be together," Seales said. "I even made the conscious decision to over the course of the season let my nails be less done, so that by the end she doesn't even have a manicure, which for Tiffany that's like, you've never seen Tiffany without this happening."

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This is a very real aspect of depression that often goes overlooked in TV depictions, but Insecure made a very conscious decision to show it in DuBois's beauty looks. "A lot of women can relate to something that minor actually being very indicative of them falling apart," Seales said. "A lot of times it'd be those little things that you just know are like 'Oh, she's together.'"

To make the whole thing even more real, Rae and Penny didn't have DuBois's friends notice these minor changes in her appearance. "That was another factor, too, because, yes, Tiffany is going through this thing, but we also wanted it to serve as a metaphor for her actual friends missing out, like her actual friends aren't noticing that she's falling apart and that is also indicative of the friendship that they have with each other," Rae said. "They're not seeing one another."

Not only is this topic rarely discussed on TV, but it's even more seldomly discussed within the scope of a Black woman's experience, making last night's episode even more important. "We got very meticulous about this because we wanted it to feel very real," Penny said.