Abbott Elementary Creator Quinta Brunson Talks Playing Oprah, Her Relationship With Husband and More
2022 has been quite successful for Abbott Elementary star and creator Quinta Brunson. The comedian, actor, producer, and writer joins Matthew McConaughey, Mila Kunis, and Jennifer Hudson as one of PEOPLE's 2022 People of the Year!
The West Philly native received the title for her success on the screen, especially "Abbott Elementary," the hit show nominated for seven Emmys and won three, including Oustanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Brunson made history with her win, becoming the youngest Black woman ever to be nominated in comedy writing. She was also the first Black woman to secure three comedy nominations in the same year.
In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, Brunson said she created "Abbott Elementary" because she wanted a comedy series that appealed to all generations. She added that she loves that so many people have found representation through the show.
"Having the same laugh is really important to me. I think it's spiritual. I think it's healing," said Brunson. "I love that teachers have found such representation in it. I love that young Black people and young Black educators have found representation in it. The queer community has found representation in it with Jacob, but to me, the goal was if it is not a workplace comedy, then I'm not doing my job."
The 32-year-old shared how she struggled to break into the industry but used content creating on social media to make a name for herself.
"I was doing improv around L.A. and broke. Very, very, very broke. A hearty meal was a banana and a Cup Noodles," she said" If I could get both or get two bananas in one day, I was doing well. I was working at [an] Apple [Store], but I still loved comedy so much. At the time SNL was kind of a goal. Then Instagram added video. I loved making my friends laugh, and then it took off, and that kind of changed my life.
Brunson recently played Oprah Winfrey in the Weird Al Yankovic biopic. She shared her reaction when the role was presented to her but after reading the script, she felt she could do the role justice.
"When the script got sent to my agent, and they said Daniel Radcliffe was playing Weird Al, I was like, "Yeah, I would love to come hang with him." And then they said Oprah, and I was like, "Whoa, hold on!" But I read it and thought I could do it justice," she said. "It wasn't too serious, but it also wasn't too dumb, because I didn't want to insult Oprah or tarnish her legacy. The movie is so stupid, and I say that in the best way. I love dumb comedies. Austin Powers in Goldmember was my favorite movie growing up. My mom wanted to burn the DVD. She hates stupid stuff."
Brunson's award-winning TV Show is currently in its second season and will air 22 episodes. Brunson said he co-showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker saw it right away when asked what it took to bring the show to life. "I was fortunate," she said. "It's most certainly not a common L.A. story for Black creators, but I think [I'm] a sign that times are changing."
She also went into detail about who didn't see a vision for Abbott Elementary. "To be honest, I didn't have to deal with much "I don't see it." There was one other network that will remain nameless that didn't understand the value of it, but that's how it goes. ABC won that bidding war," said Brunson.
Amid her recent success, Brunson has had the support of her husband, Kevin Jay Anik. Although she hasn't posted about him on social media, she did give him a shoutout during her recent acceptance speech at the Emmy's in 2022. In her interview with People, she shared why she's decided to keep their relationship private.
"I don't talk about my relationship that often, because it's something that I like to keep sacred and safe. Nor do I bring him out to be analyzed or attacked by the world. We've had such a year together," she said.
Though Brunson has had a lot on her plate this year, she balances work/life pretty well. She shared that she doesn't have a method to keep things together but is just "passionate" about her work.
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