sassy yet SHY
Playing strong female characters has helped Natasha Rothwell
Natasha Rothwell claims she is shy in real life, but her scene-stealing supporting roles in HBO’s hit show Insecure and the film Love, Simon have proved otherwise. Rothwell’s outspoken TV character, Kelli, shines with witty one-liners and brash behaviour, sometimes even more than Insecure series’ star Issa Rae.
One of her most epic moments came during an episode when Kelli urinates on herself after police used a stun gun on her after getting kicked out of Coachella because of a fight.
In Love, Simon, Rothwell’s screen time was limited in the romantic teen comedy, but she made her presence felt as a passionate teacher with strong opinions.
Rothwell says both roles have helped her become more confident in her skin as a woman.
“I get to put on someone who is truly unapologetic in every aspect of life,” says Rothwell, a former drama teacher in New York who used to write for Saturday Night Live. She is also a coproducer on Insecure.
“As a black woman, I feel like much of my young adult life I was trying to apologise for being black or being a woman,” she says. “Kelli is someone who has never known that. Now, as a woman, I’m proud on both sides.”
Rothwell, 38, will have the opportunity to grow even more. She will join the cast of the Gal Gadotled Wonder Woman 1984, which will arrive in theatres in summer 2020. Rothwell also will appear alongside Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne in the comedy Limited Partners, set for next year.
In the future, Rothwell wants to play a lead in a romantic comedy and do animation voiceover work.
“I’m not afraid to be a superhero,” she says before bursting into laughter.
Natasha Rothwell has been named one of eight Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year by the Associated Press.