The Hilarious Reason ‘Insecure’ Star Yvonne Orji Ditched Medical School to Become a Comedian

Actor and Comedian Yvonne Orji landed her big break in 2016 when Insecure premiered on HBO. The Issa Rae-led comedy-drama changed the trajectory of Orji’s career. Before the show took off, however, the 37-year-old creative almost became a doctor. 

Actor Yvonne Orji from 'Insecure' smiling in a white top and braided bun for an HBO event.
‘Insecure’ star Yvonne Orji | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Why ‘Insecure’ star Yvonne Orji didn’t think she was fit for the entertainment business

Orji was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. When she was a child, her parents moved to the U.S., where she spent most of her youth. Once Orji graduated from high school, she studied at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The actor earned a BA in Liberal Arts and a Masters Degree in Public Health at the institution. 

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As Orji wrapped up graduate school, she found herself confused about what to do next with her life. Although she always admired comedy, it didn’t seem like the right career path. In a June 2021 interview with Hailey Bieber on her YouTube channel (produced by OBB Pictures), Orji said talking to God confirmed that acting was the correct move. 

“I didn’t even know acting was a profession,” she revealed, adding, “Entertainment was not a thing I thought I could go into. So, when [God] brought me to Hollywood,  I was like ‘alright fam, so what this look like?’”

Here’s why Yvonne Orji decided not to become a doctor

Before deciding to pursue comedy and acting, Orji considered going to medical school after completing her master’s degree. Her parents always dreamed of the career, which the actor explained in Orji’s HBO special, Momma I Made It!

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While Orji’s parents were completely on board for her to become a doctor, the actor couldn’t bring herself to apply. The Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of my Dreams author stated that, in addition to not being interested in medicine, she could never be “Dr. Orji.” 

“So, I’m a child of immigrants, and I thought I was going to be a doctor, but my last name is Orji,” she explained to Bieber in the same conversation. “So can you imagine ‘paging Dr. Orji to gynecology?’ I was like, you know what ‘nahhhh,’ I should definitely be a comedian.”

Orji also said that she felt called by God to do comedy. After her studies ended, the actor moved to New York, where she went on countless auditions for TV shows. In the 2010s, Orji got offered Molly in Insecure after thinking she failed her audition. 

Orji recently signed on to produce a Disney+ movie about her childhood

After several years of auditioning, Orji shot to stardom with Insecure. Although many fans hate Molly, the actor gained a solid following from her role. In May 2021, Rae announced to Deadline that Insecure would end with season 5. That same month, Orji shared an Instagram photo of the show’s final table read. 

“The final episode,” she captioned. “Deng. This really is good-bye. I’mo miss y’all.” 
While Insecure plans on saying goodbye soon, Orji will take on a new role behind the scenes. According to Vulture, the actor is developing a half-hour comedy series with Disney+ called First Gen. The show will also include Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo as collaborators. Additionally, the series is “based on Orji’s personal experiences growing up as a Nigerian immigrant in America.”