Ibi Han: Exploring & Creating New Work By Having Fun
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Ibi Han, NYU Tisch Drama student and multi-hyphenate artist, about her new zoom mini-series, Mediocre.
Mediocre is the first-ever zoom series written and directed by Ibi Han. The series centers around a young black actress called Lisa and the various ways intersectionality contributes to the experience as a black actress but also as a young black woman.
Lorena (L): I follow you on Instagram and I’m subscribed to your YouTube channel. I’m a huge fan of the content you create and I would love to know, what inspires you to create? Videos, photos, your new zoom series, how do those ideas begin?
Ibi (I): Great question! Which is funny, I’m actually in a class called “The Creative Process: and we focus on where creativity comes from. So, lately, I’ve had to ask myself the question: where does my creativity come from?”
The answer that I have at this point in my life is that I think a lot of the things I make come from a place of wanting to create something fun and light. Most of the things I create is because I like when art is fun and when it teleports you; when you can watch something and not think about your plans for the day. That’s the thing that motivates me when I work.
L: What are some of your favorite creators or artists? People that you look up to or people that you follow and are inspired by their work?
I: Quick and easy, Issa Rae! She is my favorite artist because I love her style of writing and comedy. It’s just fun and easy to listen to. At this point, she’s my favorite artist.
L: How has staying at home due to the pandemic affected your creativity and motivation?
I: Honestly, I can say it has doubled it in a better way just because I have a lot of time. While I was in school, I didn’t feel like I did anything creative. I felt like I was just doing the things I had to do like go to class, take my acting classes, which were acting classes and they were fun, but I just feel like COVID helped me remember what I like to do which is really to create anything and everything. In the span of quarantine, at one moment, I thought I wanted to be a singer, dancer, filmmaker, a writer, all of it and because of COVID, I was able to try everything shamelessly. I’m still doing all of that and I will continue, but right now, my goal is Mediocre. My goal is to create more short films and create music. I don’t know what the end goal is, but at this point, I’m just going with the flow.
L: What specifically inspired you to create a storyline focused on the life of a young black actress?
I: It was literally me. I was sitting down and I said, “omg what’s the worst thing that could happen to me as an actor and I was like, “if someone called me mediocre.” And I was like that’s a great title, let me write this and I just thought of the worst possible things that could happen to me as an actress.
L: What do you want people to take away from this series?
I: I just want people to have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously. It’s just on Zoom during a pandemic. That’s the biggest takeaway. I just want people to leave it and say that it was a good hour of my life that I just spent watching people fool around on Zoom. Now here’s the second point, there’s a lot of things that I know need to be fixed with Mediocre, but I told myself not to because I just wanted to push myself to do something, which was to perform it on Zoom.
L: The main character of the series is Lisa, who is played by you. What can you tell us about her?
I: Lisa, at first, is a confident actress but her confidence gets broken very quickly in the series, as you will see. And it’s just how she copes with that and how she tries to navigate that feeling of analyzing something fundamental about herself. It’s her navigating love at the same time, her sexuality, and how she feels about it.
L: I know that there are many creatives and artists out there wishing they could bring their ideas to life much like you have, but many times they feel like there’s something stopping them. What would you want to tell them?
I: I would tell them that people make it on half your talent, so just do it. Also, in a month or two people will forget about Mediocre and that’s perfectly fine, but I just want to be proud of myself for pushing myself to do something. And I can fix it. You can always fix something, just try. You can’t take yourself too seriously, you just have to do it.
L: What other projects can we expect from you in the future?
I: I don’t even know yet.. I’ll probably end up creating something. It comes when it comes.
L: I had the opportunity to watch episodes 1 and 2 over Zoom and I really loved how the scenes felt so real between the characters. It was so nice to be able to see the work come together and I absolutely loved the soundtrack.
Don’t miss out on watching the next few episodes on zoom, you can sign up via Eventbrite. The remaining days are Saturday, Oct. 3rd, and Sunday, Oct. 4th at 2 p.m. EST