She may be having lots of sex on the hit HBO series Insecure. But in real life, Yvonne Orji, aka Issa Rae’s bestie Molly, is proud to be a 33-year-old-virgin.
“I wasn’t going to hide it just because I’m on TV,” the Nigerian-born star told People Magazine. “I’m grounded in who I am.”
The devout Christian said she plans on remaining a virgin until marriage. And in a pop culture-fueled world where promiscuity is the norm, we find Orji’s moral stance refreshing.
“Before any of [the fame] happened, I sat down with myself and with God and thought, when I make it, how do you want me to represent you while I’m here?” The HBO star said she answered her own question: “It was like, OK, I know why I’m here. It’s to make you proud.”
Orji added in the People interview that she’s always open to explaining her decision to anyone who inquires.
“People ask about it because they’re curious, or they may not understand,” she said. “How will they ever get understand if I don’t talk about it? I can inform your curiosity, as opposed to everyone being in the dark and just sort of creating their own narrative about it.”
As for her personal narrative, Orji emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 6. “It was the traditional immigrant story of my parents wanting the best for us and bringing us here.”
But growing up in Laurel, Maryland wasn’t always easy.
“I was bullied because I have this thick Nigerian accent,” she recalled. “My mom would say, ‘We didn’t come to America for you to be popular.’ Which is fair, but as a kid, you’re just like, it would be really nice to have this thing that everyone else has.”
Later, after graduating with a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University, Orji said she shocked her family (who had always hoped she’d be a doctor), by announcing she wanted to move to New York to pursue stand-up comedy.
“There was no signs of me wanting to do this,” Orji said in the interview. “We didn’t grow up with TV as a viable means of supporting yourself. [I told them] it would take me eight years to become a doctor, but give me eight years to make it in entertainment.’ And I’m happy to say, we did it in seven.”
The actress is riding high on the breakout success of Insecure, which was renewed for a third season. And she appreciates that the show and her character resonate with viewers.
“I get people coming up to me and saying like, ‘I’m Molly!’ or ‘We just love that we’re seeing a black woman on TV who’s a lawyer because I’m a lawyer, too!’ ” Orji told People.
“It’s giving people an alternative. So much is happening in our community, in our nation, and now we get a chance to look on television and see a version of ourselves that we can actually relate to. I think that’s what speaks to the heart of a lot of people. It’s super cool to be in the middle of that.”