This article was written by Jen Cassamajor.
You know that feeling when you have a new crush and it becomes the only thing you want to talk about ? Well, that’s how we feel about some of the women that inspire us. So we’ve decided to introduce them to you in our new segment: Women Crush Of The Month. We hope you love as much as we do to look up to amazing women, real life heroes who shine throughout their career, their voice or their experiences.
Today, we’d like for you to meet Michaela Coel. This name might not ring a bell but maybe you’ve recognized her face as she’s starring in the now iconic TV show I May Destroy You. Did you know that she has actually created, written and co-directed it ? But before we tell you more about that show that has shaken the world in the best way possible, let’s get to know the mind behind it.
Who is Michaela Coel ?
The actress and screenwriter was born in East London from Ghanaian immigrants and raised by a single mom. Growing up, Michaela Coel has always been drawn to arts and especially literature. After studying English literature in university, she attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she created her one-woman show, Chewing Gum Dreams, that eventually led to the creation of her first TV show : Chewing Gum. It follows 24-year-old Tracey, a restricted, religious virgin, who wants to have sex and learn more about the world. The sitcom was a success and definitely put Michaela Coel - who won the Best Female Comedy Performance Bafta - on the map.
I May Destroy You, the TV show we didn’t know we needed
They always say it is hard to compete with yourself when your first work is strongly acclaimed. Well, Michaela must be the exception to the rule as her second show I May Destroy You has not only met a huge success but has actually exceeded expectations and it is not hard to understand why. The tragicomedy addresses topics that many of us can relate to, such as friendships and fears but also sexual aggressions as we follow the journey of Arabella, a Black writer, after she’s been sexually assaulted. The character is actually based on Michaela Coel's experience making the story we’re being told feel so raw and honest. I May Destroy You has been highly praised by the public and the critics as the win of several Bafta awards in 2020 and an Emmy award for best scenario in 2021 illustrates it. The semi-fictional TV show raised questions about subjects that are still not represented enough : sexist and sexual violences but also the idea of consent especially in queer communities. Even though some scenes are hard to watch it never feels as if it responds to a search for drama but only a search for truth, justice and the start of a much needed social conversation making Michaela Coel one of the most inspiring screenwriters of the last decade.
What’s next ?
After the success of I May Destroy You that led to her international breakthrough, Michaela Coel has been seen in Black Panther : Wakanda Forever in which she portrays Aneka, a character romantically involved with another woman - rare enough in the Marvel universe to be worthy of note. On another note, we recommend you have a look at the actress’s first book : Misfits, a Personal Manifesto in which she focuses on her experiences with racism and misogyny. And if just like us you’ve fallen in love with Michaela Coel and can’t wait for her new project, mark May 1st in your agenda as our woman crush of the day is one of the co-chairs of the 2023 Met Gala next to Penélope Cruz, Dua Lipa, Roger Federer and of course Anna Wintour.
Next up to read: 5 Movies About Inspiring Women To Watch This Weekend