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A Conversation with Yvonne Orji at Slippery Rock University!

By: Paige K. Mitchell Not only do I love Yvonne Orji because she’s my homegirl (in my head), or because her birthday is December 2nd the day before mine; but most importantly because I love how she fills the shoes of Molly in her starring role on Insecure! My first time watching the show, I was instantly hooked! My first time watching her interview on the Breakfast Club, I fell in love! I say all of this to say, when I received word that she was coming to Slippery Rock University; I knew I had to attend. I quickly reached out to the PR department and spoke with Julie Varnish about providing media coverage, and the next thing you know I was clearing my schedule and headed to Slippery Rock! The Conversation with Yvonne Orji took place at 7pm February 26, 2018 in the student ballroom. A professor moderated the conversation. Yvonne had no problem diving right in and telling all the juicy stuff we were eager to know. What makes her story/journey so interested is that she moved to the states from Nigeria when she was a young girl, along with her family. “I was pretty much the nerd in school. My accent was very strong, and I didn’t have any friends. The kids were cruel and called me ‘African Booty Scratcher’ and things like that. I went home one day and decided to tell my mom what was happening at school, and she said that they didn’t bring me to the states to make friends. They brought me here to get a good education. So I pretty much sucked it up,” Yvonne Orji said. Pause: This was a shocker for me because I love her personality! How can you not befriend Yvonne, were those kids nuts? Wander what they have to say now? But Yvonne is extremely smart, so as her mom told her she decided to keep her head in the books. It wasn’t until her senior year of college when she suddenly came to the realization that she did not want to pursue being a doctor or working in health care at all. However, she was so afraid to tell her parents that she continued on with school and the pursuit of being a doctor until the end and obtained all of her degrees. Crazy right? “I finally broke down about the age of 25 and told my parents I wanted to pursue comedy and being an actress. Of course they didn’t understand, and were hurt. But my mind was set, and I moved to LA and was forced to figure things out on my own,” Yvonne said. Yvonne opened up about how she had a breakdown when she looked in her bank account and only had 27 cents. She was pretty much hungry, homeless, and alone. She had the option to go back to living within her parents dream and pursue being a doctor, but she decided to keep pressing forward until opportunity knocked and she opened the door. Oprah found Yvonne through a film she was looking to produce. Shortly after she auditioned for the role of Molly five times! After booking the deal on Insecure and taking on the guidance of Oprah, Yvonne is an icon. Her world has literally transformed. She came to Slippery Rock right after winning an award at the American Black Film Festival Honors! “I know when your in college your eager to get out and take over the world and become President and what not (lol). But take this time to learn, and explore. You don’t have it all figured out. And know that it’s okay to fall, mess up, and bump your head. Just make sure you keep going and don’t give up,” Yvonne said.  

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