This has already been such a big week in the Curvy Celeb world, with Emmy wins for Melissa McCarthy and Loretta Devine on Sunday night. The crowning of Melissa McCarthy as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series was particularly sweet given the negative reaction to her show in Marie Claire magazine. (I refuse to link to an article asking whether “fatties should get a room (even on tv)” – but if you want to know what happened, you can read about it here.)
Keeping up with the curvy celeb trend, I bring to you this EXCLUSIVE interview with stand-up comic Erin Jackson. You might recognize her from the Ellen DeGeneres Show or as a semi-finalist from NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Or, you might have seen her as the opening act at the taping of Bill Maher’s last HBO comedy special or BET’s “Black Girls Rock!” In addition to being absolutely hilarious, she always represents for the “big girls” without being over-the-top and in-your-face about it. It’s not a big deal, it just is. As such, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview her for Curvy CEO. So, without further delay, comin’ to the stage . . . ladies and gentlemen, show some love for Erin Jackson!
Do you feel pressure to counteract stereotypes about black women in the world of entertainment? That’s a really great question. I am super conscious of the stereotypes about Black females in entertainment – comedy especially; I’m confronted with them on a daily basis as I hustle to book gigs. “We don’t need to watch her tape. She’s puffy and brown. We already know what she’s gonna talk about.” But I can’t say that I’ve ever felt pressure or really had to work to steer my act away from perpetuating them on stage. Stand-up comedy – good stand-up comedy, that is – is all about bringing your truth to the stage. And since those stereotypes aren’t a part of who I am I don’t worry about it too much.
Now, off stage is a totally different story. Working in an industry where folks think they can talk to you any type of way because you should be able to “take a joke,” I have come dangerously close to going “angry brown girl” on a whole bunch of folks. But I figure hey, if Michelle Obama hasn’t unleashed all that south side Chicago with all she’s been through, then I can hold it together too.
What are some of your favorite of clothing items to wear on stage? Any stores you particularly favor? I gotta say I’m nobody’s fashionista. I’ve recently experimented, seven plus years in, with wearing dresses or skirts on stage, but that experiment failed. It’s important for me to be completely comfortable when I work. And by that I mean a cute pair of jeans, heels so tall I feel like I’m gonna topple over and a pair of one-size-too-small Spanx. I don’t shop a ton of places. I’m basically a Macy’s girl with a little Laney B’s thrown in. I love the DKNY collection over there. Haha, I can tell you what store I’ll never go in again though. (Hear about Erin’s first and last visit to Abercrombie & Fitch.)
As a professional comic, you have to travel a lot. What are your must have travel items? Any tips for frequent travelers? My two travel must-haves are a good book, because I love to read and a digital camera – because you never know when you might have to take a crazy person’s photo and blast them on Facebook. (SIDEBAR: She does this with great frequency. Friend her right away!)
How can fans keep tabs on you? I’m glad you asked. *evil laugh.* Here’s where I spend my time when I should be somewhere else being productive.
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/Erinj2
If you haven’t had the chance to see Erin live, be sure to check her out. You will laugh. I promise.
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