Laverne Cox recently sat down with comedian and actress Nicole Byer for a new episode of her show, If We’re Being Honest. The pair discussed their experiences in the entertainment industry, including a request made by a casting director that “didn’t feel good” for Byer.
Byer Recalls Casting Director Who Told Her To ‘Talk More Black’
Cox has been sitting down with many of the stars nominated for Emmys this year, including Byer. The actress picked up two nominations this year, including one for her role as the host of the Netflix reality competition show Nailed It! She also made history in 2020 as the first Black woman to be nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.
The pair talked about one of Byer’s most uncomfortable audition moments. “Allegedly, a casting director asked you to ‘talk more Black’ at one point?” Cox asked Byer. She replied, “’Allegedly?’ It happened so much.”
“Usually, they say ‘sassy, more street, more urban,”” Byer explained. “But I read it, and she was like, ‘Can you be Blacker?’ I was just playing a fairy. And she was like, ‘Be as Black as you can be. If you go too Black, I’ll bring you back.’”
Cox asked the race of the casting director, to which Byer responded, laughing, “Oh, you know she was white like the snow.” Byer went on to say that while she didn’t fully understand the casting director’s direction, she went along with it.
“It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t great,” she shared. “It didn’t feel good to do it.” Cox asked, “Did you ever go too Black and need to be pulled back?” Byer joked, “She never had to pull me back, but I wish I’d gone far enough.”
Others Share Their Similar Experiences
This clip of their interview was posted to Cox’s Instagram, and the comments section soon filled with others’ thoughts on the situation, as well as their own experiences. “Oooooo girl. Me too!” actress Amber Stevens West wrote. “But get this, from a black casting director.”
“There’s a Broadway show that I LOVE…would love to do it… been in front of the casting director twice… and I will very likely never book that role… because they wanted me to be ‘more urban,’” someone else commented. “Um.. she’s a damn woodland creature, y’all. I can’t.”
Fans of Byer and Cox loved the frank conversation the pair had about this uncomfortable moment in Byer’s career, and can’t wait to see if she finally takes home an Emmy!