1 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
We have all seen her bright smile on commercial spots and television sitcoms. So when Yvette Nicole Brown, star of the new NBC comedy “Community,” stopped by the ESSENCE office in New York City, we decided to set her up on her first blind date. See photos of the outing and find out what life’s like for a curvy brown girl in Hollywood.
By Bridgette Bartlett and Charreah Jackson
2 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Veteran actress Yvette opened up that dating in Hollywood has been difficult.
“Sometimes it feels like unless you are a size two with straight hair, you don’t exist,” she shared. “If you’re not careful, you can start to believe there’s something wrong with you.”
3 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette sees a picture of her date Mo for the first time and is all smiles. He’s a professor and poet based in Brooklyn.
“He’s cute!” she shares. “This is totally the type of guy I would go for.”
4 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
At 5’2, Yvette pumps up her height with sexy shoes. She is pushing herself to date more.
“In the past I have ended up dating men who started off as friends,” she says. “I’m a one-guy kind of girl.”
5 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette puts her dating skills to the test by taking a relationships quiz in a previous issue of ESSENCE. Her answers revealed she was good at gauging a man’s interest. We also reminded her not to settle for one guy until he makes the move to be exclusive.
6 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Fresh off her appearance on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Yvette contemplates a quick wardrobe change with editors at ESSENCE. We vote she continue to work the colorful dress she’s wearing, which she picked up from Macy’s in Manhattan. It seemed like a better fit for Brown’s bubbly personality.
Date Tip: We’ve all gotten comfortable dressing up jeans, but for a first date consider wearing a dress or skirt. Embrace your femininity.
7 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
The ESSENCE beauty team supplied Yvette with some fun goodies for her afternoon date. She wore her own fragrance, a light oil she wouldn’t give the name of but described it as an affordable find you can purchase around town.
8 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
While in New York to promote her new show “Community,” Yvette stayed with good friend Sherri Shepherd. “The View” cohost loaned Yvette her gold-toned bracelet for good luck and to also spice up her look.
9 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Getting out of Tinseltown is a good dose of reality for Yvette to meet guys who appreciate a woman for who she is.
“Going back home to Ohio or east to New York reminds me that there are guys out there who appreciate a lady with a woman’s body and her natural God-given hair texture.”
10 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette continues to embrace her natural hair in the entertainment world—and doesn’t plan on changing for a man.
“Though I have encountered men who want me to straighten my hair, I take that as a sign that they can’t be my guy,” she says. “My guy, the one God has sent for me, will love me as I am… and I have curly hair.”
11 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette is proud to show another side of beauty on her new sitcom “Community,” airing Thursdays on NBC.
“With women like Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Chandra Wilson, and hopefully, me working in the industry, we’re starting to see more ‘normal-sized’ women alongside the tiny ones,” she says. “That way little girls can see women that look like them and not feel pressured to starve themselves to fit some unrealistic ideal.”
12 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
On her way to the date, Yvette is stopped by a young fan who wants her autograph. Life in the limelight!
13 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette arrives first for the date at Bobby Van’s Restaurant in midtown New York City. She has a few words for fellow voluptuous women.
“We curvy girls need to remember that hips and boobs and such are what women are supposed to have. We are the softer sex,” she says. “We were designed by God this way. I’m not advocating being unhealthy, but being a size 14 or 16 is not a horrible thing!”
14 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Poet and professor Mo Beasley heads inside the restaurant to meet Yvette for their blind date!
15 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette and Mo share a quick hug before sitting down for an early dinner.
“He reminded me of Cleveland, and that’s the highest compliment I can pay a man,” she laughs. “Midwestern guys have their own look, their own swagger. He had that. I liked that. He’s also creative and intelligent!”
16 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
17 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette and Mo enjoy their meal over good conversation. During her visit in New York, Yvette enjoyed the attention from Black men who appreciated her just as she was.
“The biggest challenge being a curvy girl with curls dating in Los Angeles has been the feeling of being invisible,” she says.
18 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette is all smiles after dinner with Mo.
“I took away a renewed faith that my guy is out there,” she says.
19 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette says farewell to Mo, before heading out.
“My date with Mo reminded me that there are awesome guys out there who think I’m pretty cute – curvy with curls, and all!”
20 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
After a great date, Yvette is off to another acting gig, with a new attitude on dating.
“This experience has totally opened me up to blind dates!” she says. “It wasn’t nearly as scary as I expected it to be.”
Catch Yvette Nicole Brown every Thursday in “Community” on NBC.
21 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
The Hollywood actress took a second to answer your questions:
“Thanks so much for the kind comments! Mo was a cool dude and we’re keeping in touch as friends. I’m so glad you guys liked the outfit. As you know I raced to Macy’s the night before. LOL!
The top is actually a dress by I.N.C. and it’s available for all sizes. The jeans are by “Silver” sold at Torrid stores and I LOVE them! Spandex is a curvy girl’s friend and these jeans are 2%!
As for my hair, I posted my products on my website www.yvettenicolebrown.com and my facebook fan page.
Thanks so much for rooting for me on my “quest for love” :) And a MIGHTY thanks to the Ladies of Essence for hooking a sister up!
22 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
23 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
Yvette puts her dating skills to the test with a relationships quiz in ESSENCE.
24 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
25 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
26 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
27 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
28 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
29 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
30 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
31 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
32 of 32 Jennifer Cooper
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!