The "Insecure" alum and comedian Yvonne Orji in a red blazer has a T.J. Maxx mentorship program
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Vulture


Yvonne Orji Wants To Help You Live Your Best Life

The Insecure alum and comedian discusses her favorite wardrobe staples, go-to sad songs, and her T.J. Maxx mentorship program.

From the recent announcement of her upcoming Netflix drama Stronger to her reigning hit comedy special My Mom, Your Dad, Yvonne Orji is doing it all. The Nigerian-American star first landed on our radar back in 2016 in her role as Molly on the Emmy-winning show Insecure, and after the series concluded back in December, the 38-year-old has been definitely keeping busy — though she’s trying not to be.

Between her jam-packed schedule putting on comedy shows in-and-out different cities to landing new roles, the star also found time to work on yet another project — this time, partnering with T.J. Maxx.

Her latest collaboration with the beloved department store, titled “Maxx Your Mindset,” is part of the brand’s The Maxx You Project, an ongoing initiative that supports women throughout their journey of discovering themselves. Six years into the program, the Maxx You Project is now launching workshops via livestream that provide women with the necessary resources and support they need in reaching their ultimate “Maxx.”

Leveling up is different for everyone, the actress tells NYLON. “For some people, finding their max means doing less if they've been doing the most, so leveling up might actually be taking time for yourself and setting boundaries. For other people, leveling up means doing the max if you feel you haven’t been doing enough. Here’s where we step in and ask, ‘Okay, what's stopping you from doing these things?’”

Ahead, NYLON caught up with Yvonne for her take on the NYLON 19, chatting about everything from her first-ever concert, moving on from her Insecure character, and more.

1. What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?

I'm a Sagittarius and we're fire individuals to know. I’d say we're the best of the best, so I guess I believe it. We’re the life of the party.

2. Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?

No, and I hope I never do.

3. What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)

Lychee Martini or ginger beer. I’ve also started liking a Saint Germain spritz, it's very refreshing for the summertime. I drink but then I stop once I’m like “Oh my god, I'm feeling something,” because I still have to drive home.

4. What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

Getting home and not washing my face when I have makeup on. I stopped doing it as much recently, but some days I have so many places to go ... by the end of it, you’re already knocked out in bed like a mummy. I’d take a nap and then at 2 o'clock in the morning, I’d finally wash my face because I don’t want my pores to clog. Yeah, it’s become a whole routine.

5. What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

Issa actually sent me down a rabbit hole trying to figure out what happened to this girl from Making The Band. She first mentioned it on Instagram and then I was like, “Well, I'm going with it but I was like girl, why am I doing this?” Now, I've learned so much that I can’t “unknow” it even though it was unnecessary information.

6. What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?

I was in the eighth grade and believe it or not, it was for the group Immature and a little unknown group called Destiny's Child opened up for them.

I remember just being so excited about Immature at the time because I used to always go to the library or purchase magazines to take the picture out and put them in my room. So seeing them was like “Woah, the people from my magazine are on stage!”

7. What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?

I just saw the Jennifer Lopez documentary and I have to say I would say her green Versace dress. I mean, it’s pretty iconic that 20-something years later, she can wear the same dress and look even more amazing.

8. If you could be in any music video, what would it be?

I'm gonna go all the way back and say Eve’s “Who’s That Girl” and “Tambourine.” Oh, and something with DMX, I would love to have just been his backup hype man.

9. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

One thing everyone should buy for under $10 is those hydration sheet masks, especially if you’re flying — your face gets so dehydrated on the planes even in the summertime. It helps put some moisture back because I know y'all be outside. Oh, and also sunscreen, please.

10. What piece of clothing from high school do you wish you kept?

I went to an all-girls boarding school so I wore a uniform. I definitely wasn't keeping anything from then, and definitely not the glitter eyeshadow, either. God bless those years, I hope those pictures never surface.

11. What is one question you never want to be asked again?

“How are you similar to Molly?”

Yes, I know we love her but I’m not, she’s just a character.

12. What is your go-to sad song?

I’d have to say Toni Braxton’s “Nothin’.” Recently, I’ve also been getting into Givēon and his song “Heartbreak Anniversary.”

13. What is your best beauty tip or trick?

I actually don't like bright red blush, so I usually opt for brown and use it as a contour. It looks so natural, especially on brown skin.

14. What is your favorite pair of shoes that you own, and why?

I just became a sneakerhead. I didn't know I was missing out on life!

I had to do my tour and it was called the “comfortable sexy tour,” so I matched all my sneakers with my outfits. The one that I wear all the time would have to be these high-top platinum Diesels that zip up on the side and they really just shine on stage.

15. What was your favorite movie as a kid?

Love and Basketball.

16. What is your favorite fast food place, and what’s your order?

In my struggle years, I'm not gonna lie — I really like El Pollo Loco because they had this secret menu and if you knew, you knew. I also really liked Burger King’s Whopper or Wendy’s one-dollar menu and get the bacon Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.

17. What is your coffee order?

I actually don't drink coffee, but my go-to drink is usually something with matcha in it but I really don’t know. As long as they make it sweet and green, I’m good.

18. What pieces or trends you’ve been wearing?

I love a bold earring especially as my hair changes all the time. I also love gold jewelry like statement earrings that can transition your outfit from casual to a little bit of “Oh, we going out tonight, I see.”

19. How did the concept of the Find Your Maxx program come to be?

My agents actually introduced me to the campaign, and when I read more about it, I felt really aligned with it. I only like to partner with folks that line up with things that I'm already doing or it won't feel authentic, because trust me, I don't need to be busy.

I was attracted to the concept of how I’ll be helping one lucky winner tap into their most authentic self and live their life to the max, and it reminded me of what I've been doing throughout the pandemic.

20. You mention that the mentorship program essentially helps women find their true selves. What part of your journey do you feel you’re at right now?

I'm in the season where I want to do less. I haven't quite mastered doing less yet, but it’s coming. Sometimes when I do tap into it, it feels really good.