Saturday Night Live actress Sasheer Zamata is one of the faces of Portland-based brand Wildfang's new Wild Feminist campaign. Here, she gets candid about the politics of dressing as a female comedian.
I've always enjoyed dressing up, but in comedy, it's not encouraged. There's an attitude that's not spoken about. A lot of comedians go onstage with a roll-out-of-bed look that implies, "We're cool, we're casual, we don't care—we just write and talk." But it's okay to care about our appearance. People paid for these shows, so why not look nice?
I would love to say that women can wear whatever we want onstage, but I'm aware that if I wear a skirt that's shorter than some people would like, they'll be focused on my legs. If my cleavage is out, they'll focus on that. I want people to focus on my words, so I try to cater my appearance to that.
At first, I felt self-conscious about going onstage in a skirt or dress. I would be really apologetic about it. Then I get over it and thought, "No, I look awesome." And looking awesome makes me feel awesome, so I should just keep wearing what I want to wear because I want to keep doing what I'm doing.
I've definitely gone through different phases with fashion: There were times when I incorporated more masculine pieces in my outfits like vests and ties and bow ties—I was really into suspenders at one point. I loved experimenting with different looks that make my body look good to me.
My main goal is to wear stuff that I feel comfortable in, because sometimes I'll be sitting on a plane for hours rushing from city to city for shows, so I need things that help me move but also make me look good. Jumpsuits are my jam right now because they're easy—I can just put it on and be done with it.
Hopefully, we'll get to a time where we don't analyze every aspect of what a woman's wearing and then compare it to what other women are wearing. It's silly to think that everyone is making a huge statement by what they're wearing. If someone wants to wear pants, they should wear pants. If they want to wear a dress, they should wear a dress.
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When it comes to fashion, I don't think about rules. I'll pair certain patterns or pieces together because I like the way it looks. And if people like it, that's cool. If not, that's not my business. I try to dictate my actions by what is the most fun to me in the moment. There's no point in doing what I'm doing if I'm not having fun.
As told to Claire Stern.