Issa Rae seems to have known her destiny early on, devoting her childhood to writing and the arts. At age 11, she wrote her first spec script for the sitcom “Cosby,” which she patterned after an old “Moesha” script that she had once won at a live taping (per NPR). Shortly thereafter, Rae wrote a script for a new sitcom that she titled “Ronnie,” and sent it to NBC. “I got those rejection letters fairly quickly,” she joked in a Rolling Stone profile.
A few years later, she wrote a script and submitted to the ABC writers program, though she was ultimately unsuccessful due to the amount of profanity in her script (per Rolling Stone). And though it all started with writing, Rae started incorporating acting into her orbit in high school. She told Glamour magazine that she played the lead in school plays at the King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science four years in a row, and it was at Stanford University that she began to explore the idea of entertainment as a career. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not as good at calculus as I thought I was,'” Rae told Rolling Stone. “For me, I found success in creating plays for black people, directing and adapting them. I don’t even remember much about my grades. They were OK, but it was just really about creating a community and discovering my love for the arts.”