Issa Rae on Finding the Balance in Her Work: "What I'm Doing Is a Form of Self-Care"

It's fair to assume that anyone who has watched more than five minutes of Issa Rae on literally any screen would become a fan of the actress for life. It's inevitable really; whether she's bringing us laughs on HBO's Insecure, reminding us not to be afraid of being a b*tch, or just being the shining example of Black Girl Magic that she naturally is, Issa makes it easy to love her.

We can't help but admire her fearlessness when taking the reins on any of her projects. In addition to creating, writing, producing, and starring in Insecure since 2016, she stars in the Marsai Martin-produced comedy Little and has a couple of upcoming rom-coms in the works, including The Photograph and The Lovebirds. Seriously, the woman does not stop — and she's not trying to, either.

Since Issa has been one of our favorites for years, we're pumped to have her at POPSUGAR Play/Ground this June! Check out our interview with her ahead, then read all about our Play/Ground event, and make sure to grab your tickets to see Issa IRL!

POPSUGAR: You always seem to be working on something new and exciting. How do you find balance with everything you want to do and everything you have to do? What is your own form of self-care?

Issa Rae: That's something I struggle with daily. Sometimes I'm just like, "I give up," and I just sit there and think about all the stuff that I have to do. But sometimes I have my good days, where I think, "I'm on top of everything, and nobody can stop me." So, I think I just take it one day at a time. I definitely take day breaks when I need to, where I might just cancel meetings and just chill. But for the most part, I love what I'm doing, and what I'm doing is a form of self-care.

PS: So, what would you say is your personal happily ever after?

"I want the people that I love to be content and to flourish."

IR: To be very comfortable and have the people that I love around me be very comfortable and happy in their own lives. I want the people that I love to be content, to flourish, to have long lives — if they want long lives — and to be healthy. That's my idea of happily ever after, family and friends being happy together and uplifting each other.

PS: That's really sweet! You've worked with a lot of amazing people on various projects. Who is someone on your bucket list that you would love to work with in the future?

IR: Stevie Wonder!

PS: That would be an interesting project.

IR: It would! He's a phenomenal human being. And all that he's done culturally and musically? He's just a powerhouse. So any way I could get involved with him would be amazing.

PS: Also, he's low-key really funny!

IR: Isn't he? He always seems to have jokes about his sight. He has a great sense of humor, that is true.

LITTLE, from left: Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, 2019. ph: Eli Joshua Ade /  Universal / courtesy Everett Collection
Universal | courtesy Everett Collection

PS: In your new film Little, you play a young app developer trying to make her dreams come true with a demanding boss. What advice would you have for creators who are just starting out?

IR: I'm always a big proponent of collaboration. Don't feel like you have to do everything by yourself! For me early on, I felt like "Oh, I have to do everything myself because I have to get the credit, I have to make sure that no one steals my ideas, or I just don't want to burden people to help me." The sooner that I brought other people onboard to help me, the faster my ideas took off, and that involves reaching out to your personal network of people.

PS: In the April issue of Women's Health, you said that you've gotten into working out and prioritizing your health. What's your favorite workout?

"Don't feel like you have to do everything by yourself."

IR: My favorite workout is just walking because I don't like to work out. [Laughs] I like to power walk around my neighborhood, and that's the extent of it. But sit-ups, weights, all that shi*t, you can keep it — even though I know I need it. I am making a resolution that I want to have the toned body I've always wanted by the time I turn 35, so it's baby steps for me.

PS: I'm crossing my fingers for you. One of us has to do it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

IR: Thank you! [Laughs] I'll take that.

PS: What's your favorite book?

IR: There are two that I've loved recently, one fiction and nonfiction. I loved An American Marriage, I thought it was just incredible. And I just read Edwin Catmull's book [Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration]. He was former president of Pixar, and that sh*t was incredible.

PS: I got to check that out! What is your happy place?

IR: My new home is my happy place — I'm slowly making it into that.