EXCLUSIVE: 'Insecure' Breakout Yvonne Orji Talks Molly's Journey and Jill Marie Jones Comparisons

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“Step one is realizing you have an issue. Step two is trying to fix it. So Molly’s going to try, but you know…” Yvonne Orji tells ET about Molly Carter, the ambitious young lawyer and best friend to Issa Dee (Issa Rae), who audiences saw scare off man after man on season one of Insecure.

Co-created by Rae and Larry Wilmore, the HBO hit comedy about the two women navigating work and relationships in south Los Angeles explores the black female experience not really seen onscreen since UPN’s Girlfriends.

For Molly’s part, that means trying to carve out a place in a largely white, male law firm and setting standards, albeit way too high at times, for her friends and would-be suitors. Set on finding a man, she eventually crashed and burned while coming to verbal blows with Issa over her relationship with Lawrence Walker (Jay Ellis), which also came crashing down by end of season one.

The second season, which premieres Sunday, July 23, sees Molly evolve as she attempts to reform her man-eating ways. “Molly is trying to be a better version of herself from season one,” Orji says, explaining that her insecurities haven’t completely gone away “because, you know, she was a beautiful mess.”

That means seeing Molly go to therapy, which still remains a taboo subject within the black community. Yet, it’s not the only topic that Insecure will address in coming episodes. Without giving too much away, the show will deal with racism toward the Latino community and open relationships, something that one character jokes is “a white people thing.”

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“That’s what makes the show really exciting and funny and fresh,” Orji says. “Last season, we talked about homosexuality within the black community. We looked at black women who cheat. And those are things that we haven’t necessarily seen before. The show is always going to throw up a lob and see where it lands, never telling you a right or wrong.”

Instead, the actress says Insecure is starting a dialogue with its audience, letting them figure out how they feel. “A lot of times, especially in the black community, where therapy is talked about, it’s like, ‘Just go to church.’” But that’s not a solution, at least not for Molly, who needs someone to talk to who isn’t Issa. “So let’s try to get a professional who has a degree in this and see how they can help or not,” Orji says.

Photo: HBO

While Molly turns to professional help, Issa turns to dating apps as she tries to get over Lawrence and find a new man. It’s a bit of a role reversal for the two friends who Orji says have “yinged and yanged.” Molly tries to warn Issa about the woes of dating life, but “sometimes you have to experience things for yourself to learn the lessons that you need to learn,” Orji says, adding that Issa, Molly and Lawrence are all on journeys to find themselves.

And hopefully that means viewers will pay more attention to Orji, a breakout star that many still mistake for Girlfriends actress Jill Marie Jones. Before the show even premiered, the actress says people were excited that Jones had been cast. “Issa sent me this post and it was like, ‘I am so glad that Jill Marie Jones is on this show.’ And I was like, ‘That’s me. My name is Yvonne Orji.’”

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“She can’t go anywhere, poor thing, without people saying, ‘I loved you in Girlfriends,’” Rae says, adding: “They do look alike, though.”

But lack of recognition of the actress may soon change. Orji says that Jones sent her a text message the other day reading, “I was just in Trader Joe's and somebody came up to me and was like, ‘I love your show,’” before Jones revealed that the fan was talking about Insecure. “She was like, ‘That’s Yvonne Orji. That’s not me.’”

--Additional reporting by Courtney Tezeno and Hillary Crosley Coker