I actually wasn’t that aware of Michaela Coel before this past weekend when I binge watched her hit HBO series “I May Destroy You” in two days. After being brought into Coel’s special world, I have no other word to describe her but brilliant.
After doing more research on her background, her play “Chewing Gum Dreams” was her first starring role which brought more attention to her talents and helped put her on the map. “Chewing Gum Dreams” is another series that she created, wrote, and directed that won her the BAFTA for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme and Breakthrough Talent in 2016.
According to time.com, “You don’t just watch Michaela Coel shows; you experience them.” And I can’t seem to agree more with that statement. It’s literally the best way to describe her craft and I have been captivated by her essence ever since. She’s now been listed in TIME as one of the 100 most influential people of 2020.
I think Coel is a force to be reckoned with. It’s important for our generation to know who she is because she advocates for being resilient no matter what you’ve been through. She is a firm believer in the facts that the way to conquer your fears is not to go around them, but through them, and to not settle or accept anything less than what you think you deserve. Another thing we should all learn from Coel is whether you’re dealing with people in your personal life or those involved in your craft–know your worth.
Originally, Netflix offered Coel $1 million to create and star in “I May Destroy You,” but the contract wouldn’t grant her any percentage to the rights of it. Ultimately, she ended up walking away from that deal and kept searching for what she thought her series and craft deserved. According to variety.com she stated, “I’m not anti-Netflix, but I am pro ‘the creator, writer, director, actor should probably have a right.’”
After watching “I May Destroy You,” I researched Coel’s inspiration beyond the intriguing and captivating series and learned that she pulled things from her own sexual assault experience. It was surprising to me that she produced, wrote, starred, and directed in something inspired by her own trauma and made it into something that was bigger than herself. She stands as a sexual assault survivor and advocates that what happens to you doesn’t define you. Her strength and the way her mind works is liberating.
By Kori Barnes, Junior, UNLV