Being a millennial woman of color has its challenges, as we struggle to find the balance between love, work, and everything else life throws at us. While we all have big dreams, sometimes the path to that dream is not a straight and narrow one. We’ve all been there, and new web series #LoveMyRoomie helps remind us that while the struggle is real, we are never facing it alone.
#LoveMyRoomie focuses on three women Giselle, U’Moriah and Yasmine as they attempt to navigate the rocky roads of millennial life in New York City. With one quirky spirit, one outgoing spirit, and one I’d-rather-be-sleep spirit, the trio captures the dynamics of all friend groups, while giving us a peak at how the real world can change you.
We sat down with executive producer and creator Yhá Mourhia Wright and got behind the scenes info on the production process of her show!
What made you decide to create #LoveMyRoomie?
#LoveMyRoomie was originally the tagline I conceived for a short film I wrote entitled Expulsion, which is about two roommates in NYC who have fallen on some hard times. The tagline of the film was actually, “I Love My Roomie.”
Expulsion was filmed, for the most part, in September and then production had to be put on hold. During that time, the original Creative team and I threw ideas around about filming shorts that would showcase backstory of the lives of the original characters in Expulsion. #LoveMyRoomie took off and became an entire life of it’s own. It’s still growing and now it’s a sketch style web-series.
Was it difficult to build your production team and cast?
It has been difficult to build my production team because I work and am performing in different projects/managing #LoveMyRoomie full time. So, it’s a lot of work BUT I have found some wonderful people over just the past week who are all very interested in joining the production team. So, this time in seven days I should have a full production team BUT I am searching for an Associate Producer and Producer. If anyone with experience is reading this, please email me your headshot and resume at: firstname.lastname@example.org : )
Casting is evolving and changing around but hasn’t been a challenge if I am honest. Finding the people hasn’t been a challenge because I’ve pulled from those I already know for the initial cast, as I grow Season II, I am excited to see what will come of casting but now with a production team underway, I anticipate that even though the work will be hard, it won’t be overwhelming.
Your series focuses on three millennial women of color. Why do you think our narratives aren’t shared more often?
Yes, I’ll speak to my personal experience. I think these narratives are shared, but there might be a “where do I fit?” element that overwhelms writers and creators. You know, even I struggle with that – like, everyday! The trick is, to keep going and literally to plow through those thoughts because if you dialogue with the questions in your head, you’ll prevent yourself from moving forward. That’s my opinion from my experience. I’m learning as I go and I’ve tread some of this ground before when I had a natural hair Vlog, Profound Coils, which was most active in 2012-2013…I’m going to begin working on it again here and there. Anyhow, I think that’s one factor. Another factor is also resources. There are a lot of resources out there that can even become overwhelming and also maybe people have an idea but don’t really have the people around them to help execute that idea.
One thing is for sure, I think that the narratives must be shared and continuously diversified because if you remember, TV was pretty diverse for the Black Family, and Black women specifically, back in the 90s and early 21st century even with shows like Girlfriends. So, with digital content, I think we can do the same thing and we can continue to create these stories that have similarities and differences and, ultimately, are human stories. That’s important to me.
Characters Giselle, U’Moriah and Yasmine seem so down to earth. Are their personalities just extensions of the actresses portraying them?
Aww! Here’s a secret that..isn’t about to be a secret, Season I happened fast and there wasn’t necessarily the time to spend on the text like I would have wanted because of our tight production schedule. I play Giselle Carter and definitely just went all out with her but she’s not like me, though I, of course, naturally have similarities with her and as the writer I think it finds its way into the character.
U’Moriah Walters is played by Ashley Versher and I wrote her into the dynamic very last minute. She (Ashley) does enjoy various arts and crafts, I wrote that as a part of U’Moriah’s personality then checked in with Ashley, like, “Hey, do you like crafts?” She did, so, score! Her character is the newest when it comes to concept and Ashley really brought her to life and lifted U’Moriah off the page and has begun to help me see where I can go with her in Season II.
Yasmine Castillo, played by Katherine George, is a lot like the original version of her character written earlier last year. Katherine is Dominican and I really wanted to begin to crack things open in media and be sure that she plays a role that is Afro-Latina, like her. There’s no mention of ethnicity, culture, or anything like that in Season I but I still wanted to add elements of these women to the characters. Truly though, they’ve taken what’s on the page and just elevated it and made it their own, they’re great actresses!
Women such as Issa Rae have made great strides starting with creating a web series. Do you see a similar path in your future?
Well, I’m in pre-production for Expulsion and it is the spin-off short film of #LoveMyRoomie. Part of me is unwilling to part with G.U.Y (Giselle, U’Moriah and Yasmine) just yet but we’ll see what the future holds. I definitely admire Issa Rae for creating and I often will just go online and read interviews she’s had when I need the extra encouragement – because it can get hard building from the ground up.
Even when this becomes challenging, which is all the time, I find so much joy and inspiration in it – it’s a part of my path and what I’m called to do and so, in that regard, perhaps strides will be made with my career and #LoveMyRoomie. I think they’ve already started to happen just by way of taking ownership of my career and no longer having the feeling of waiting on someone to cast me or pick me for something – I’m already doing it and I’ll keep on keeping on. It’s a magnificent feeling!
But wait… there’s more!
Before you go, make sure you tune in to the newest episode of #LoveMyRoomie NOW on Youtube! Watch it HERE