We gotta do better. Since its premiere, Issa Rae‘s hit show Insecure has captured our hearts because of its accurate depiction of the late 20s, early 30s Black experience. As fans, we’ve gotten caught up in the plot lines by live tweeting and picking sides of a factious relationship. But at the end of the day, the characters are played by actors. Actors whose real lives are not the same as their roles.
Consider this a PSA when talking about Dominique Perry, who convincingly plays Tasha, Lawrence‘s (Jay Ellis) new flame. Perry plays the role so well, fans have confused her acting for real life.
“She’s such a love/hate character,” Perry told ESSENCE. “I get so much hate mail. I’ve even had a girl be like, ‘Oh, my God, you know I want to fight you, right?'”
Perry, who hails from Houston and has been acting since the age of seven, has been called every derogatory name in the book with “bank teller” attached to the end. Despite the flack she takes from playing Lawrence’s new love interest, Perry understands the perspective so many women have.
“For a lot of women, she [Tasha] represents that side chick or that other woman that ruined a happy home. [But] I really don’t feel like Tasha is like that at all. She’s just caught in the middle of Issa and Lawrence’s situation. I feel like she’s just innocent in it all, to be honest. I think she just sees good in him and she just wants to instill some knowledge in him and some self esteem and some confidence to let him know, ‘This is just a phase you’re going through in life and it will be great. And I would love to walk that walk with you, if you’ll have me.'”
Adding, “I don’t think that she was scheming or trying to get him like she has a back story or some kind of alternative motive. She’s just going with the flow. What’s wrong with that?”
Watch: Sorry, Issa, Lawrence Still Doesn’t Want You
Playing a bank teller with goals of being a manager isn’t the only position we’ve seen Tasha in. As the co-star in what Complex deemed “the backshot heard around the world,” Perry has had to be naked and in sexual positions more than once on screen with Ellis.
“Being a dancer in college, I’ve always had to have some kind of nudity in front of people,” she said. “I guess I’ve grown into being okay. And my thing is, I’m okay with being nude on television as long as it’s for a reason or my character has some kind of substance. I wouldn’t be naked just to be naked.”
“It’s so good that me and Jay are able to make it look so real and authentic because shooting sex scenes, to me, is very tiring. You had Melina [Matsoukas] in the back like, ‘Pull her hair. Smack her [chuckles].'”
We’ve already seen Lawrence take Tasha out for sushi in episode one, so the question remains: Will we be seeing more of Ms. Tasha this season?
“You definitely will learn a lot more about her,” Perry revealed. “I can’t say too much more, but you will learn a lot about her, which is good because they really went in depth with Tasha, tried to give her her backstory and things like that. Hopefully people will learn to love her more or people will hate her more. We’ll just see what happens with that. But it will be a lot of surprises. I will say that. It’s super sexy. Not just from me, but the show period. It’s super sexy, super funny.”
The ever-positive Perry, whose genuinely happy demeanor can be felt from the phone call we shared, is excited for what will come but also honored to be a part of Issa’s story.
“I think this is one of the most lit shows on television,” she said. “It was definitely needed, so I’m just happy to be a part of it whether people hate me, I mean, hate Tasha, love Tasha—it’s whatever. I’m just so happy to be a part of it. It doesn’t get to Tasha or me.”