Entertainment: Nicole Byer

This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full Entertainment List Here.

Breaking all the rules. 

Loosely speaking, Nicole Byer, is a boss. The comedian, writer, and actress who stars on the semi-autobiographical comedy Loosely Exactly Nicole, her show on MTV, has broken every typecast mold. But it wasn’t something the comedic storyteller intentionally set out to do. Nicole didn’t want to be an actor, but rather, an illustrator. One hitch, she couldn’t draw. 

What she lacked in technical skill, she made up for with energy. It was the comedian's mom, the person whom Nicole credits as “being so supportive,” encouraged her to join her high school play, and work out some of that energy on stage. The performance was a comedy. 

It was the first time she received a lot of laughs and it had a life-changing effect. “Making someone laugh is magic.” Nicole shares. “It’s also powerful and therapeutic.” 

She’s been after that feeling ever since. After spending many years doing “doing a lot of free improv shows in a basement,” Nicole reticently credits her career to “being at the right place at the right time.” 

But being in said "place" has taken plenty of work. In 2013, Nicole launched her career on MTV with Hasan Minaj’s Failosophy. A few months in the network worked Nicole and her comedic chops into the reality-comedy-advice series Girl Code. There was a bit of learning curve for the actress, who didn’t fully understand the show’s concept. Basically, she went into the studio and talked. “We live in a world,” she says on the show, “where we’ve made it very easy to give opinions.” And opinions were given. The women on the show discussed feminism, slut-shaming, gay besties, and pussy power. They talked about it all. But Nicole, growing more disinterested in being a talking head, was looking to break into scripted-television. However, when the roles available weren't up to snuff (aka, fully-formed, not typical typecast bull) Nicole did what any intelligent badass woman would: wrote her own. 

For people breaking into the biz, Nicole says it’s important to, “stay in your lane,” and “keep your eyes on your own paper.” But she’s more than willing to lend an ear to an aspiring comedian. “I try and be as helpful as possible when someone has a question about comedy.” 

Nicole wants all women to know that they are “are beautiful, smart, strong as fuck and special. We also have to listen to each other and remember to be inclusive. There's feminism and intersectional feminism.”

Recently telling the Hollywood Reporter, “It went from me going out for a part of a hooker named Bertha to making my web series that I loved and I'm so proud of.” She wants to change the roles available for women, especially women of color, to be three-dimensional, fully-formed characters. 

“All women are beautiful, smart, strong as fuck and special.” 

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She knows that her humor isn’t for everyone, but adds “nothing is off limits if I find it funny.” 

As for what’s been a roadblock on her journey, “Life,” she jokes. Which is also what she says keeps her going. That and the hope of one day making Whoopi Goldberg laugh. She’s already got both her grandma and Beyoncé to giggle. We’re thinking Whoopi isn’t too far a shot. 

Hair and makeup provided by Glamsquad. Photography courtesy of Light Lab and Woodnote Photography.