Ziwe’s Hot Streak! Talks all about her new Book “Black Friend: Essays”, her comedy tour & what’s next!

Ziwe is in her bag. The writer and comedian has created a name for herself with a successful YouTube channel and later on her very own talk show. Between producing and writing Ziwe has kept busy with her many gigs such as Modeling for both Victoria’s Secret and Mugler. Fresh off publishing her first book titled “Black Friend: Essays”, we caught up with her and talked all about her booming career, her early days and what’s next for Hollywood’s rising star. Read our full Interview below.

Featured Interview:

You got your start by creating a live show on Instagram & YouTube in 2016 where you talked about race with various guests. Where did the idea to bring this series to life come from?

The inspiration was really to create a medium in support of Black women everywhere – and one Black woman in particular – me! There wasn’t one particular moment in my life where I thought, these conversations were hilarious and needed to be broadcasted to a wide audience! Every person who tuned in was able to relate to at least one, or both sides of the conversation, and probably had their own
versions of them in their own lives.

You have a unique interview style where you mix serious topics with humor that makes your guests think about things differently. How long did it take you to create this interview genre and get comfortable with it?

This is how I’ve always processed traumatic situations – I make a joke out of it. I can’t say whether that’s a healthy mechanism or not, but it’s my process. It always has been.

Givenchy Vintage Earrings, Vivienne Westwood FW 1991 Coat.

What was it like growing up in Massachusetts? Did that experience shape your perspective on race relations?

It was like living in a Normal Rockwell painting.

How did you go from doing Instagram Lives to having your series on Showtime?

During the pandemic, every person on Instagram, it seemed like, was going live every other second. I
thought to myself, what if I did a weekly show? As it grew in popularity and bigger guests signed on to join me each Thursday, it became a form of television. The show did a lot of the work for me. It became
something so big, that the natural progression was to figure out a way to scale it even wider and put it on a network.

Vivienne Westwood FW 1993 Shorts, YSL Vintage Heels.

While building your brand you’ve worked various odd jobs over the years. What motivated you to
keep investing in your craft instead of giving up on it

In everything I’ve worked on, my feelings for myself have always been a mix of extreme excitement and responsibility. I’ve been extremely lucky to have many people who have paved the way for me to thrive, and my goal has always been to push that door open even wider for those who are trying to walk in behind me.

For those who don’t know you’re also a writer. You’ve been a part of shows like Dickinson, Desus & Mero, and many more. What was this experience like and what was your biggest takeaway from writing for shows?

Through my experiences, I learned the power and importance of refining my voice and understanding
audiences and tastes. The way I write and work on one show is not necessarily going to directly carry over to another. I also learned about ‘traditional’ structure, re-structure, and de-structure, depending on the audience, and I’ve carried all of that into my works.

Celine Pearl Earrings, Vivienne Westwood SS 1994 Shirt.

Not only are you the creator of your shows, but you produce, have been a showrunner & writer and I’m sure much more. Out of all of these skills, which is your favorite and which is the most challenging and why?

I think all of these roles have provided me with similar rewards and challenges – and a lot of that has to do with giving me the space to find my voice. Part of that comes with personal responsibility and stake in something, and how that evolves, but you learn in all of these arenas to be incredibly steadfast in who you are and what is important to you. But to answer your question my favorite skill is being a boss.

Your guests span from all walks of life. How do you decide who you want to interview and the subjects you choose to discuss?

Everyone I’ve ever interviewed is an icon in their own right. I talk to the people who have something to say and are willing to stand behind their words.

You’ve spoken about Ziwe, the character being a little different from who you are in your personal
life. Explain to us the difference between the two and how you find balance in being your character and your normal self.

My character wears pink, but I prefer lilac.

Take us back to your live show days. What is the process from start to finish and what was your biggest takeaway from having live shows?

The process evolved, but it came out of the drive I grew to adopt and how I learned to hustle, create things for myself, and build my community. I’ve had a self-financed web series that evolved into a live show, and that evolved into a pandemic-born Instagram Live series which evolved into a TV show. It’s a natural progression in my eyes when thinking about how you scale a process. You reflect on what worked and what didn’t, what resonated and what didn’t . . . those things stick with you as you evolve your craft.

Vivienne Westwood SS 1994 Shirt
Gucci 1970’s High-Waisted Leather Pants, Calvin Klein Heels 

You recently released a new book “Black Friend: Essays”. What is the inspiration behind it?

I may be well-known for my interviewing capabilities, but I’ve been really good at not getting personal on
my end. I’ve never been able to share. Being on the receiving end of a line of questioning was an entirely new challenge and experience for me I wanted to tackle head-on. I realized I needed to chip away at that, and that’s how Black Friend: Essays was born.

You’re finishing up your first comedy tour (several sold-out dates), how has that experience changed your perspective on performing, and what have you enjoyed most?

Performing a show live prepares you to do any other kind of show imaginable. You do all of the prep and then submit to the chaos of all the elements you can’t control. The venue. The interview guests. The
audience. No two shows are the same. It’s magic.

You completed a vanity table talk with Elf Cosmetics where you did your makeup and had a full
episode on their platform. What other beauty brands would you like to collaborate with and what
are some of your favorite everyday beauty items?

I am always excited about the possibility of collaborating in the beauty space! I love Urban Decay, Makeup Forever lip liners, and a good Fenty, Glossier, or Rhode lip balm. I love brands!


Editor-in-chief Prince Chenoa @princechenoastudio

Galore Features Editor Perrin Johnson @Editsbyperry

Interviewed by: @Taylor Winter

Cover Art Design: Carlos Graciano @sadpapi666 

Wardrobe Stylist: Julia McCamish @miss__museum 

Wardrobe: @redefine_vintage 

MUA: Karina Milan | @karinamilan__

Hair: Dharius Thomas | @Dhairiusnyc 

Photography: JD Barnes: @jdthecombo

Assistant: Oren Siddo @orensiddo

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