Fresh off of an intense press day and a night out on the town with adopted Houstonian, Drake Drizzy Rogers, the hilarious and candid Amanda Seales welcomed us into her hotel room with open arms. When we caught up with the actress and comedian, who plays Tiffany on the hit HBO series Insecure, she was in the middle of glam and getting ready to hit the red carpet for an Insecure Season 2 premiere event.
If you aren’t familiar with Amanda it’s time for you to “Get Your Life”, literally and figuratively.
Amanda Seales got her big break as a child star when she played Deonne Wilburn in 1994 on Nickelodeon’s, My Brother and Me. You may have also seen her face grace your television screen during her time as a commentator on VH1’s Best Week Ever, or as host on MTV2’s Sucker Free Sunday’s. Amanda is also the creator of her very own show, Get Your Life, a scripted comedy about her unscripted life.
To add to the accomplishments, Amanda was recently featured in the LA Times: Black While Funny And Female list alongside actresses like Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, and more.
Is there anything she hasn’t done yet?
Amanda is using comedy as her vessel to not only make people laugh, but to also bring about change. From her gem-dropping moments on IG, to her very necessary and viral moment with Caitlyn Jenner, Amanda is all about the progression of society.
Amanda is pretty much an open book via social media, but the Live Civil team got the chance to dig deeper into Amanda’s life and get to know a bit more about this trailblazing multimedia star. – Pennie Anassi
Talk about season 2 of Insecure and all of the success the show has seen thus far.
Amanda: “I’m very excited about the show. I think for a lot of us we are just so shocked that we came back so quick. For the fan’s it doesn’t seem as quick, but for us it is. We finished shooting last year in September and t went on air in October. It aired until December and we were back shooting again in April. It’s not the typical schedule for HBO shows, so we’re all just like okay we’re doing it, it’s season two, we’re ready, let’s get it.”
We met your character Tiffany last season and quickly learned she’s that one boujee friend, who can’t do much wrong. Is there more to Tiffany we should know? Is that just who she is?
Amanda: “See here’s the thing, that is the real her like legit. Tiffany really is boujee, pulled up and tight. When I say the ‘real her’ what I mean is, she is somebody who is private. Where as some of the other girls let it all hang out, she doesn’t do that. She believes that what happens in between her and her man should stay between her and her man. She’s not the type of gal to blab her business so much, but what we do get to see from her this season is just her warmth. Last season she was a little bit icier and this season she’s a lot warmer. She is definitely not there to shade.”
How do you as Amanda Seales relate to what Insecure represents for us as black women?
Amanda: “I’m really about us being the bearers of our own message and the tellers of our own stories. So the fact that Insecure is written by a black woman and it is her story – it’s something that doesn’t happen too often these days. I mean we’re getting it a little more [in entertainment], but in Television for far too long, we haven’t really had our stories being told. And for me, as someone who is ardently about defining myself, you aren’t going to tell me who I am – I’m going to decide who I am. Insecure really speaks to that spirit about me.”
Your family is originally from Grenada. How was that experience like for you growing up as a 1st generation American?
Amanda: “I mean for one, I feel like my manners level is on another level because culturally, they just don’t play that. My mother has taken me back to someone’s house because she said I didn’t fold my linens after a sleepover and I was returned to the home. Culturally we just have more manners it feels like. I had something different with my West Indian mother that a lot of other first generation kids I feel like don’t have, which is that my mom was very supportive of my work in the arts. My mom was always a very, “do you” type of parent and from an early age, I was always ardent about the stuff I was pursuing whether it be in the arts or academically and so she really just supported that.”
So, you used to be a rapper, correct?
Amanda: Yes…..*Amanda gets bashful and starts giggling*
Do you mind spitting a bar for us?
Amanda: “Smile in their face even though they’re green with envy, I don’t call em haters I call them eco – friendly!”
Did being a female rapper teach you anything about female empowerment, if so what did it teach you?
Amanda: “A lot of times hip hop makes you feel like women empowerment means being more like a man and what society has deemed manhood to be which is: lacking emotion, hyper tough, and loud. That to me is not accurate. Women empowerment is really just about speaking your truth fearlessly and not letting the male gaze define how you define yourself and that can be really hard in a world that is still based on how men view things. Our reproductive rights are being determined right now by a bunch of white men sitting in an office that doesn’t know shit. They’ve never seen a black titty off of a porn site. So, what are you going to tell me about a mammogram?!”
You have been selling shirts that read, “I’m Not Hostile I’m Passionate”. Can you tell all of the haters who think that you are hostile what this message means and where it came from?
Amanda: “That message came out of the incident that took place with Caitlyn Jenner that I now call the Caitlyn clinic where I had to school her on her privilege and on the difference between her America, and America for people of color. She had gotten upset with me because I was saying that Donald Trump was speaking and behaving in a way that made me say he could eventually be as bad as Hitler. She said well that’s hostile and I don’t want to talk anymore. I had to explain to her that I am not being hostile, I’m passionate about these issues because they affect us. They affect all of us.
When I say, ‘I’m not hostile I’m passionate’ that means just because something makes you uncomfortable or somebody is speaking in a way that is direct and that is sure and that is intelligent, doesn’t mean that it is an attack. When that comes from black women, far too often it’s considered as an attack.
So, “I’m not hostile I’m just passionate” is really about black women especially but anybody can wear it who identifies with it, it’s about taking ownership of the fact that when we say things and we say it earnestly doesn’t mean that it’s invalid because when people put violence behind something it makes it invalid.”
(You can purchase the t-shirts here: teespring.com)
As a “revolutionary woman” and a comedian who is described as having a huge personality, how do you handle people who think that you are “too much’?
Amanda: “F*ck Em. Next question. I am not for everyone, have you seen my Instagram bio?”
Can you tell us about the Smart, Funny, & Black comedy show?
Amanda: “Smart, Funny, & Black is a show that I do every first Tuesday at Nerd Mount in LA. We’ve had amazing guests that range from Wayne Brady to Issa Rae to Ron Funches. It’s my brain child and it’s basically using the game show format to celebrate black culture through various games that explore black history, the black experience, and black pop culture in front of a live audience. I just really was tired of seeing a number of negative images of black people in media outside of the comedies face but on the news, etc.”
What’s next for you?
Amanda: “I am working on a book so for all the people that ask me on IG when I am going to write a book. It is in the works, it’s happening and moving forward you can always catch me doing stand up. I’m going to be hitting the road for some things as well.”
Lastly, what do you want the world to know about Amanda Seales?
Amanda: “That what you see is what you get. I think sometimes when people see people with big personalities they think that it’s being put on or that it’s coming from a fake place or insecurity and it’s not. It’s really coming from a place of I feel like I have really started to become and figure out how to live my best life and I am really fortunate to have a platform and people who are interested in my thoughts on how to do that and apply that to themselves.”