Quinta Brunson is clearing the air after the awkward moment at the Emmys following her first win.
The actress-writer-showrunner spoke with Variety for the cover story of their latest issue about the success of smash-hit “Abbott Elementary” and the overwhelmingly positive reception at the Emmys.
Brunson made her Emmys debut memorable by landing three nominations with her show for Comedy Series, Comedy Writing and Lead Actress in a Comedy. She made history that night by taking home the Emmy for Comedy Writing, making her the second Black woman in television history to win in that category. Lena Waithe won the award in 2017 for “Master of None”.
Reflecting on the win, she admitted her biggest fan was the one most excited about the win.
“My mom was losing it,” Brunson said. “I talked to her last night, and she was just so proud.”
While the Cinderella moment felt like a blur for the actress, there were a few moments that she’ll never forget.
“Henry Winkler’s wife came up and told me how much she loved the show,” she shared. “That meant a lot to me. I love when people’s mates or family members come up and tell me that they love the show, because that’s how I know they really are watching as a family. And that makes me happy.”
For the internet, however, the most controversial moment that night came during Brunson’s speech when Jimmy Kimmel remained lying down onstage as a continuation of a bit.
Fans criticized the move as insensitive, especially given the life-changing moment for Brunson.
“The internet is doing its own thing in defence of me and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God,’” she said of the reaction. “It’s a whole beast. I used to be in it, very inundated in it. But now I feel a little bit more removed. And I was like, yeah, this is the difference in being at home, watching an award show and me being mad about stuff and me at award show, being like, oh shit, it’s a totally different world now.”
She wanted to reassure everyone, however, that the prank didn’t dampen the moment for her.
“I was totally in my own world and having a really beautiful moment that I will never forget or let be,” recalled Brunson. “I also understand that as public figures, you exist for people’s own politics. I know that I exist for my own life. But when you become a public figure, you become something for people to talk about. So there’s nothing I can do. I understand how it looks to people. And if I was home, I probably would’ve been pissed if I saw that on TV, but my moment did not feel that way. I’m fine. I do want them to know I’m fine and happy and have loving people.”
As the glow from the night fades, the actress is now focusing on producing the next season of the show after ABC ordered a rare 22-episode season.
With the extra breathing room, Brunson hopes to change the pace for the show and explore other areas.
“[In season 1] every single episode, the goal was to show people what we can do, what a banger the show can be,” she explained. “But now we’ve got episodes that are just chill. They have no real stakes. And I hope that audiences are OK with that.”
The busy 32-year-old currently has her hands full with multiple upcoming projects, but is hoping to work with everyone she can.
“Right now, I don’t really have time, unless I wanted to work myself to death, to focus on anything but ‘Abbott’, and I’m OK with that,” she added. “I’m trying to find out where other people find the time. I was talking to Zendaya yesterday. She’s like, ‘We have to work on something.’ I was like, ‘When? You are in every major franchise in the world!’ I don’t get it. Do people have different time than I do?”