Nigerian Hollywood actress, Yvonne Orji is among the 100 women featured on the Create & Cultivate 100 list, which honors women who are masters of their field, who found new roads, paved the road for others, put in the work and saw a ceiling and paid it no mind.
There, the actress talks about breaking boundaries as a woman in Hollywood, even with the differences that exist in the industry like the race, age and wage issues.
According to her, there’s no way to avoid them.
“I feel good as a woman in Hollywood. I feel good as a black woman in Hollywood. I think there is beauty and benefit to being a woman. I like being able to go into male-dominated spaces and blow people’s minds away.”
Before she got into the entertainment industry, Yvonne had been a standup commedienne and she had been faced with stereotypic moments.
According to her, there is always a moment where the announcer preparing her to come on stage would say, “Are you ready for a woman? are you ready for a woman?”
“They never do that for man. There are rules as a female standup comic. You can’t be pretty, skinny, and funny. Pick one. You can’t be all these things. To be funny, you have to be overweight, and you have to be dirty with your jokes. I do clean comedy and just really want to make people laugh in a positive way. Yes, I know how to work out and put on makeup. Why are there so many fractions in order to make people laugh as a woman? You don’t hear this from guys. You can just be funny.”
Irrespective of these challenges, Yvonne is not one to give up as she has come a long way to get here.
“I stand my ground and stand my own. This is me. I am not backing down. You may not know me now, but by the time I finish my set, you’re going to think I’m incredibly funny…. I can go toe-to-toe with the next guy. There is strength and power in being a woman: we are smart, we are creative, and we are compassionate. Are there great women out there doing amazing things, with a guy coming in not doing anything extravagant and everyone thinks what he’s doing is amazing, but yet she has to prove herself? Yes, that does still exist and it does still suck, but not to the point where I want to be something other than an African immigrant black woman. No, no, no! I’ll take my portion, I like it.”