Issa Rae, the mastermind behind HBO鈥檚 hit series Insecure, recently added a fresh role to her lengthy resume: the newest face of COVERGIRL. And it鈥檚 a natural fit for the actress, writer, director, and producer whose bathroom pep talks have made her (or rather, her character) someone we can laugh with 鈥斅and relate to. So when Brit + Co sat down with the towering beauty in New York City to chat about the brand鈥檚 newest launch,聽we felt like we were catching up with an old friend. Here, Rae names her favorite shades from COVERGIRL鈥檚 Melting Pout Metallics Collection (out today), the beauty treatment she can鈥檛 live without, and her take on beauty in Hollywood.

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 the first thing you did when you found out you were the newest face of COVERGIRL?聽

Issa Rae: I either called my mom or my friends. I鈥檓 bad about that. If [my mom] finds out I called my friends first, she鈥檒l be mad. I called her and it was supposed to be a secret, and she told the whole family at my grandmother鈥檚 90-something birthday. I was like, 鈥淢om, you weren鈥檛 supposed to tell anybody; I signed documents,鈥 and she was like, 鈥淥h, but YAY!鈥

B+C: What鈥檚 your favorite product from the new Melting Pout Metallics collection?

IR: I didn鈥檛 really think I could pull off Banger, which is what I wore in the COVERGIRL commercial, but I really, really like that shade. The one I wear a lot is VIP because it鈥檚 just the perfect color for me since it鈥檚 casual but also pops. It feels more down-to-earth. And I also love Extra, and that鈥檚 another one that just feels nude for those days when I want to be more down-to-earth and casual.

B+C: Best advice for someone who鈥檚 afraid to try metallics?聽

IR: Just try it on at home first. I think that鈥檚 what the COVERGIRL ad gets across well; you鈥檙e doing it for yourself. And sometimes you don鈥檛 need to go out 鈥 sometimes you just need to feel good about it, and feel comfortable in it alone. And then my advice is to always try it out with your best friends. My friends will quickly tell me to go back inside and try something else! There have definitely been moments where my friends have been like, 鈥淕irl, no,鈥 but I like it, and they鈥檒l learn to love it!

B+C: What was your best Cyber Monday purchase?

IR: I鈥檓 so basic. It was the first time I could afford a computer so it was a Mac purchase, after my broke college days. And I was like, 鈥淚 can buy a computer at a discount on Cyber Monday.鈥

B+C: Can you recall any Covergirls that influenced your look growing up?

IR: Queen Latifah, hands down! Watching her on Living Single and identifying with her character, Khadijah, and feeling like we had so much in common. Just seeing her, and seeing that she can be a Covergirl, made me feel like she was so approachable. Not that I could do it because I still think Queen Latifah is absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. But I just felt like in her style and in her demeanor, and she has tomboy tendencies, I was like, 鈥淥h, I should be wearing makeup too. I could wear makeup.鈥 And then Janelle Mon谩e, she鈥檚 always been flawless. I saw her as more of a deity, like of course, you deserve this. Your skin is beautiful. Skin tone-wise we more matched, so I looked up to her as a model of what I could aspire to.

B+C: What鈥檚 your best beauty secret?聽

IR: I鈥檓 big on facials. I love masks. I鈥檓 just a big clean skin freak. I do everything to make sure that before I go to bed at night my skin is clean. I don鈥檛 go to bed with makeup on my face. Otherwise, I鈥檓 pretty low-maintenance. I don鈥檛 put a lot of products on my skin. So when I put on makeup, I really like the COVERGIRL Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation聽($10) for example; it has to feel good. I don鈥檛 want to have to keep applying it over and over again so your skin gets oily and clogged. The less, the better for me.

B+C: How often do you use a face mask?

IR: I use them twice a month. I always do a reset twice a month in terms of beauty products and diet. It鈥檚 a promise to myself to do better. So if I am eating badly, and I鈥檝e been eating a lot of sugar, I can see that reflected on my face. That鈥檚 when I know it鈥檚 my reset time and I put on my mask, and change my diet and start over.

B+C: What鈥檚 the biggest beauty mistake you鈥檝e ever made?聽

IR: I make so many. I love eyebrows but I used the black eyebrow pencil to draw my brows in so I looked like a villain. Or I used foundation as lotion when I used it for the first time. I wanted to go out with my girls and they were great with makeup. I felt like to ride with them I had to do the same thing. But I didn鈥檛 own any makeup so I went to the nearest drugstore, bought some that probably wasn鈥檛 even in my shade, and didn鈥檛 know how to apply it. Luckily I had good friends to teach me how to do it.

But my relationship to beauty products has evolved over time. Initially I shunned them, but now there鈥檚 an appreciation and an ownership. It just felt like it was on everybody else鈥檚 terms, and not on my own, and I don鈥檛 know why I thought that. But now that I鈥檝e reclaimed my own beauty, I love it. I have such a deep relationship with it now.

B+C: The definition of beauty has shifted over the last few years; do you think Hollywood has responded accordingly?聽

IR: There鈥檚 such a negative association with Hollywood and the standard of beauty. I think in the television world more so than the film world, yes [Hollywood has responded accordingly]. I think film has to catch up to television. Television as a whole is taking more risks, incorporating more voices, and being more inclusive in a way that film used to do in a certain period. But now I think film is just focused on worldwide appeal in a way that doesn鈥檛 serve the everyday person. You know everything is larger than life, whereas television can take more risks in terms of serving a wide variety of audiences. So there鈥檚 a long, long way to go, but I like to be optimistic and say that I think we鈥檙e taking strides in a good direction.

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