Natasha Rothwell on the final season of ‘Insecure:’ ‘I am so grateful’

Rothwell recalled the last days of shooting season 5 as 'highly emotional.'

From The White Lotus to the final season of Insecure, Natasha Rothwell is having a busy year. In the latest episode of Acting Up, the actress, writer, and director opened up to theGrio‘s Cortney Wills about Insecure, representation and what’s next for her career.

Rothwell’s said her experience on Insecure has been “an incredible journey,” as she started in the writer’s room of the show before eventually nabbing the role of Kelli.

“I just feel so privileged to be able to have done it for five seasons,” she said. “In this industry nothing is guaranteed, you can shoot something and it can never see the light of day. But to be a part of something that we were able to just really dig into the nuances of the Black experience in a way that I haven’t seen as a consumer of content…it is definitely going to break my heart when I finally come to terms [with it ending.]”

Los Angeles Premiere Of New HBO Limited Series "The White Lotus" - Arrivals
PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 07: Natasha Rothwell attends the Los Angeles premiere of the new HBO Limited Series “The White Lotus” at Bel-Air Bay Club on July 07, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images,)

She also noted that the last few days of shooting were “highly emotional.” She added, “Some of our crew have been with us for all five seasons and just to see the sentimentality of a surly grip or our boom operator who would just kind of look at you…because they’re coming to terms too! We really did create a family.”

The role of Kelli quickly became a fan-favorite for Insecure watchers, with her confidence and witty dialogue often sparking memes on Twitter. Rothwell shared that portraying Kelli not only changed how Black women are portrayed on screen, but it also stretched her idea of “what it means to be a Black woman as a person.”

“I often think of her as someone who was born in the world without anyone ever telling her to doubt herself…I, unfortunately, was not born that way, and so over the last five years I have learned from playing her that I can move through the world and not be in my head and not care about what other people think so much and I am so grateful for it,” she said.

What has made Insecure revolutionary for so many is that it avoids common tropes when it comes to Black characters in media. “A lot of us are just real regular, you know?” Rothwell said. “We’re neurotic, we make mistakes, we apologize to the furniture we bump into, we have social awkward moments.”

HBO Celebrates New Season Of "Insecure" With Block Party In Inglewood
INGLEWOOD, CA – JULY 15: (L-R) Amanda Seales, Yvonne Orji, executive producer and star Issa Rae, Jay Ellis and Natasha Rothwell attend a block party celebrating HBO’s new season of “Insecure” on July 15, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for HBO)

Speaking to Issa Rae’s work and impact, Rothwell said, “I think Issa speaks to that part of our culture that helps the world at large see that we are not a monolith. We have nuance, we have the beauty in the ordinary without feeling the pressure to be extraordinary and that being us is enough. To be a part of a show that has inserted that conversation in the zeitgeist…I’m just honored.”

The full episode of Acting Up is available now.

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