In Person of Interest we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Next up is Quinta Brunson, comedian, actress, viral video star, and author of the new memoir She Memes Well.

For the past seven years, Quinta Brunson’s largely been recognized as the delightfully awestruck Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date, her first foray into online comedy back in 2014. Clips of her have since been shared millions of times, whether it’s her deadpan rendition of the Space Jam theme song, or the spat between her and her disgruntled eyebrows from the Facebook Watch series Quinta vs. Everything. But just as the social media landscape has evolved over the past decade, so, too, has Brunson.

Offline, the 31-year-old West Philadelphia native has spring-boarded to television, doing voice work for animated series like Big Mouth and Lazor Wulf. In 2019, she made her HBO debut as a cast member of the Emmy-nominated A Black Lady Sketch Show; her new workplace sitcom, Abbott Elementary, is set to air on ABC later this year; and her latest project, a memoir titled She Memes Well, reveals a series of relatable missteps and milestones designed to show her fellow “kids of the internet” what it looks like to keep going and growing, IRL.

She Memes Well: Essays$25 $12 at Amazon$25 $23 at Bookshop

Brunson’s also dedicated to making strides in the kitchen. In one of the book’s essays, “On Cooking,” she owns up to her lacking culinary skills. “I hold cooking on this pedestal that unlocks the necessary elements for me to be a grown woman,” she writes. “I don’t think I can be as strong a performer or worker if my home life isn’t strong.” Since moving in with her fiancé in Los Angeles, she’s committed herself to cooking dinner at least once a week, despite the fact that, as she wrote, working in the kitchen scares her “more than public speaking, nuclear war, and leaving [her] phone in an Uber combined.”

On a phone call, I learn Brunson’s every bit as straightforward and down-to-earth as she seems online. In the run up to the book’s June 15 release, we chat about her quest for meal-making mastery, her biggest hometown hankerings, and the importance of establishing boundaries in comedy.

Somebody once told me… there’s a difference between a comic, a comedian, and a clown, and you have to choose which one you want to be in your career. With a clown, it’s like: “Be silly for me!” Being a comic is about controlling the narrative coming out of your life. And being a comedian is about seeing the funny in everything. I’ve said to myself: “I’ll live between comic and comedian, but I’ll never be a clown.”

I am a human being… and not my work. I made a decision early on that my life would not be my product. I’ve set a boundary for myself: I’ll give people the work, which was made with the intent to make them happy and laugh. I have no opinion on people who are their work, because that serves a purpose in and of itself. But I knew for me, that approach was not going to work.

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