Veronica Mannion is fast becoming a rising force in the celestial world of the Hollywood scene.
The beautiful actress–who’s also spent time as a standup comedienne–can currently be seen in the HBO comedy series, Insecure. The show, based on series creator and star Issa Rae’s web series “Awkward Black Girl”, follows the exploits and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.
Mannion plays the recurring role of Kitty—Issa’s co-worker—who tries to be her friend throughout the season but almost sabotages one of Issa’s work projects due to her gossiping and prejudiced skepticism.
In additional to an impressive resume that includes stints on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” and FX’s “American Horror Story”, Mannion has also written, directed and appeared in the film “Booze, Boys & Brownies”.
I recently spoke with her about Insecure, her career and more in this exclusive new interview.
How did your involvement in “Insecure” come about?
I was one of the lucky chosen to audition for the pilot. They booked me off tape so I didn’t even have to come in for a callback. I shot the pilot last September and then heard they wrote me into four more episodes in April. It was a dream come true scenario!
What was it that attracted you to the role?
Kitty’s the kind of person who tries too hard. She may be sweet but ends up coming across as annoying and judgmental. I think that I have that side to me, so it’s been fun channeling that version of myself.
What else can you tell me about her?
Kitty works with Issa at We Got Ya’ll and really thinks she’s making a difference at her desk job helping underprivileged kids. She loves anything vintage, her co-worker Ken, and cats… obviously.
How would you describe the series?
“Insecure” follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman, Issa Rae, and her best friend, Molly. Some people are saying it’s like the black “GIRLS” or “Sex In The City”, but I think it’s what every HBO show wants to be: laugh out loud funny, authentic and with a lot of heart!
As a woman, what’s its like for you to be a part of a series that was inspired and created by Issa?
Issa is an inspiration, not only to me but I think for all of us on set and for women everywhere. She’s so talented, funny, real and kind. She’s created not just an amazing show but a great atmosphere on set… and I think she’s going to change the world!
What’s the filming process like and working with Issa?
A typical day can last from six to twelve hours. Since this was the first season the way it was shot and the tone (and even what our characters were eating or doing) was all a collaborative feeling. Issa definitely has a strong vision and point of view, but she was also open to people bringing themselves to the role. Everyone contributed to making Insecure the best it could be. It felt like one big family!
Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment? Was it something you always aspired to do?
I was one of those little girls singing in my living room, playing dress up and dreaming about the big lights of Hollywood. My mom taught me that your thoughts create and to go for what you love to do. So here I am!
How did you become involved in doing stand-up comedy?
I started doing stand up when I moved to LA as a way to get on stage and get my acting fix! I realized that you don’t just have to tell jokes – you can do characters, sing, or even improvise with the audience. Stand up became my performance outlet. Somewhere where I could feel like I had power over my career just by making people laugh.
What’s the most challenging part of doing stand-up? What do you enjoy the most about it?
Probably the scene of it all and breaking through that next barrier. I don’t enjoy the bros, or the drunk hecklers but I love the immediate response of the crowd! You really have to be present during stand up because people will glaze over if you just go on stage and go on autopilot. You really have to be on your toes.
Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
I just filmed a small role on “FEUD!” opposite Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange. It’s Ryan Murphy’s new FX show that premieres next year! You can catch me in Episode 2.
What excites you the most about the new series and this next chapter of your career? What are you most looking forward to?
I feel very lucky to see my face on HBO! I remember watching the second episode and thinking, “This is crazy! I’ve watched HBO all my life wanting to be on it and there’s my face!” I’m looking forward to more fun parts and more work with talented, good people! Whatever happens, I’m definitely enjoying the ride and feel so lucky to be apart of such a new awesome show. I hope you watch and love it as much as I do!