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Nicole Byer Recalls a Casting Director Once Asked Her to “Be Blacker” During an Audition


Nicole Byer Recalls Casting Director Telling Her to Talk “Blacker”

This casting director’s request is one Nicole Byer and other Hollywood actors have grown all too familiar with.

Live From E!‘s Laverne Cox chatted with some of this year’s biggest Emmy-nominated stars on the Sept. 5 E! special If We’re Being Honest. Nominated a third time this year for her role as host on Netflix‘s Nailed It!, Byer recalled one her most uncomfortable audition experiences.

“Allegedly, a casting director asked you to ‘talk more Black’ at one point?” Cox asked Byer, who made history as the first Black female nominee for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program in 2020. Byer responded, “Allegedly? It happened so much.”

And while Byer can crack a joke in any situation, she got real when looking back at the experience. “Usually, they say ‘sassy, more street, more urban,'” she continued. “But I read it, and she was like, ‘Can you be Blacker?’ I was just playing a fairy. And she was like, ‘Be as Black as you can be. If you go too Black, I’ll bring you back.'”

Cox followed up by asking Byer about the race of the casting director, to which the latter hilariously responded, “Oh, you know she was white like the snow.”

And although she didn’t fully understand the woman’s note, Byer—who was in her twenties at the time—decided to go along with the request, although she did not enjoy it.

Clifton Prescod/Netflix

“It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t great,” the now 36-year-old shared. “It didn’t feel good to do it.”

Cox asked at the end of the clip,

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