The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Issa Rae's character on the hit series "Insecure," who works for a nonprofit, does what most people in need of extra cash do: She becomes a Lyft driver.

But the idea of making the show's lead character a part-time driver came from Rae's own experience: The actress said she applied to become a Lyft driver and was rejected.

"I did the application, went to go get my stickers and (stuff) but then got denied because I had one traffic infraction in 2014 ... so I didn't get to do it," she said.

Season three, which returned Sunday on HBO (10:30 p.m. ET), picks up with Rae moving in with her ex, Daniel, and dealing with not being in the field for her full-time job because of a mistake she made. The 33-year-old, who earned her first Emmy nomination this year for her leading role in the show she created, explains how Jay Ellis reacted to not being a part of season three, the fashion statements she's made and appearing in Drake's "Nice for What" video.


Most of the headlines surrounding the return of "Insecure" were about how Jay Ellis' character, Lawrence, would no longer be on the show.

But how did Ellis take the news when Rae delivered it?

Rae laughs when asked the question, then says: "It took a while because we were like, 'Oh maybe he'll show up, maybe he'll show up.' We just didn't know truthfully what was going to happen and after all we were just like, 'We have to tell him, because he could be working on something else.' Don't want to waste his time."

"It was just a phone call. He took it really well," she said.


On "Insecure," and in her real life, she's made bold fashion statements: On the show she wore a sweater with the N-word on it, and when she hosted this year's CFDA Awards, she sported a belt embroidered with "Every N---- Is A Star."

"That was so dope," she said of the belt. "It's just like, 'We're here.' Why not make a statement?"


She's not Kiki, but she loves Drake: Rae said appearing in his music video for "Nice for What" was "a dream come true."

Rae makes a cameo in the clip alongside other women blazing trails in entertainment, including Tiffany Haddish, Tracee Ellis Ross, Misty Copeland and Yara Shahidi.

Though Drake wasn't on the set, Rae said she befriended director Karena Evans, who also worked on the music videos for Drake's "In My Feelings" and "God's Plan."

"We are really in a renaissance of black women getting opportunities and shouts to (Drake) for recognizing (her) 'cause she's elevated his videos. Let's be real," said Rae, who added that she, like most of the world, was disappointed in the Kanye West-directed video for Drake's first hit, "Best I Ever Had," which focused heavily on women's breasts and butts.

"What the (expletive) was that video?" she said.


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