Writer and actress Lena Waithe has worked on some pretty amazing films and series including Transparent and Hello Cupid as well as being an assistant on Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Secret Life of Bees.

During her chat with ESSENCE’S Yes, Girl! podcast, Waithe shared some of the memorable lessons she learned from Bythewood, who she considers her Hollywood mom.

“Always maintain your composure,’’ Waithe said, explaining that Bythewood’s attitude under pressure was always relaxed. “She’s never rattled, like, I never saw her rattled. I never saw her raise her voice, she’s always super polite even to people who aren’t always being polite to her, which is a thing I definitely learned that, I think, a lot of Black women have.”

The famed director’s second piece of advice, “Be great.”

“That’s it. Be great. And, she would always say that to me even when I wasn’t working for her. She would always repeat it. And, that’s the thing that always stayed with me and it’s the thing that I realized in my life and my career that when I’m great, people can’t deny me.”

Listen above for more gems from the rising Hollywood talent.