Anyone who has watched the past three seasons of grown-ish can say that Saweetie is an almost natural addition to the cast. The rapper is making her acting debut on the Freeform series when it returns for its midseason premiere on Jan. 21—and she fits right in. The “My Type” rapper is playing the role of Indigo, a famous rapper who hires Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) as her stylist. Saweetie says her character is a “monster” and that their personalities are entirely different, but she still learned so much from playing her. Saweetie didn’t audition for the role, but she took the offer to bring the character to life seriously from the start.
“It was brought to me. They asked me if I was interested, and I said, ‘Hell yeah.’ It was a no-brainer for me,” she said to Complex. “So immediately I hired an acting coach, shout out to James, and we prepared for the role.” From her sizzling performances on stage to her out-of-this-world music videos, the musician is no stranger to being in front of the camera. She says this experience is unlike anything she had done before because she wanted to do right by the creators. “The fact that it's not my content, and I'm a creative, and I know what it feels like to want to bring my vision to life. So I wanted to bring their creation, their vision to life,” she said. “I work well under pressure, but it was definitely completely different being on someone else's set, but I'm happy they were happy because I worked really hard and I prepared to do well.”
While it was a high-pressure situation, she quickly learned that she was at her best when she was simply having fun with her role and not just memorizing lines. “The first time on set, it was just a little nerve-wracking because I want it to be perfect for them,” she said. “But I found when I was just in my vibe, in my moment with Yara, that's when the best scenes would come.”
Since Indigo is part of Zoey’s new life outside of school, Saweetie’s character doesn’t have interactions with the other cast members aside from Shahidi and Joey Badass. “It was me, Yara, and Joey for the first one. And then after that, it was pretty much just me and Yara one-on-one,” the rapper said. “She's like my little sister. She's like, I just want to squeeze her cheeks and give her a hug. She's so precious and cute, and I know she's grown, but she's still like a baby girl to me. She was so helpful, great energy, and I love working with her. A lot of people will see this on the show, but a lot of our scenes were one-on-one, so it's very intimate.”
The remainder of Season 3 will explore what happens after Zoey drops out of school to pursue her career as a full-time celebrity stylist. Saweetie graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in communications and business in May 2016 and has encouraged her fans to do the same. She knows education is important, but as someone who has also pursued her dream of becoming a musician, she understands that everyone has different paths. “What I will say is I think everyone should experience college. So whether it's a semester or a year, just go and experience it because coming in, later on, it's not the same thing,” she said. “For those who are in school, we don't get too many moments to break into the entertainment industry. So if you do have a promising opportunity—I mean, I don't want your moms to get mad at me—but take it. Because once you experience college, the classes are always there, but sometimes the opportunity may not be. So if it's just promising, if it's fulfilling, and it is financially stable, take it.”
The “Back to the Streets” rapper hasn’t stopped working during the pandemic. Besides her music, she has also been creating some of the most entertaining social media content, like making an Instagram page for her Birkin bags. Her videos are so hilarious and get such great feedback from fans that she calls herself the content queen. “What inspired me was just the pandemic. There were no meet and greets, there were no festivals, no concerts, no pop-ups. So I was just trying to think of creative ways to stay in touch with my fans without losing that connection,” she explained. “For me, it's not a matter of [staying] current. It’s a matter of connection.” Not only does she make her content, but she is also on top of every trend that her fans take part in, mainly when they include her songs. “Fans put all this hard work, they get ready, they do their glam. Sometimes they buy props and outfits. So it's an investment, and I think it's important to recognize the people who are putting in work to bring more life and different challenges to songs," she said. "As an artist, I can say that we really appreciate that.”
The “Tap In” rapper says guest-starring on grown-ish won’t be her last time acting, but it also hasn’t been her first. She has been putting on a show on her “The Icy Life” YouTube series, and in one episode she even said that she dreams of one day winning an Emmy or an Oscar. “My dream role is to be a supervillain. Like [in] a Marvel or DC [film]. I really want to be Harley Quinn, but you know, I have to start somewhere. So definitely something in that realm. I love fantasy and I love Batman, too,” she said, adding that she could also do drama or comedies. “Anything but horror. I don't like scary films. I don't like that.”
Whatever role she takes on next, Saweetie is bound to make it her own. From flawlessly recreating a famous scene from Friday to remaking music videos like Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” to hosting her own “Icy University” show, it’s clear that her talent is endless. Fans have only seen a glimpse of what the charismatic rapper is setting out to achieve, and there’s no doubt that she won’t quit until that Emmy or Oscar is sitting on a shelf in her home.
Tune in to watch Saweetie’s acting debut on grown-ish this Thursday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.