Ayo Edebiri: ‘People seem to be picking up what I’m putting down’

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The second season of The Bear came out recently and it’s pretty great. It broadens the world a lot beyond the restaurant and beyond Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy, focusing on other characters. Ayo Edebiri was already the second lead on the show and in the restaurant as sous chef, and also had a much larger role to play this season. And her career is picking up steam as well, with two other movies coming out this year. Ayo spoke to W Magazine about fashion and her current/upcoming projects. Some highlights:

How has your relationship with style changed over the past few years?
I feel like my uniform is very much big t-shirt vibes, especially when I do standup. And then so much of writing became over Zoom, so definitely during COVID I had a period where I was like, “Oh, I actually miss wearing clothes that are really nice.” I was doing a Friday dress up day in my house. But within the past year, my world has opened up so much in terms of opportunities and events, so I’ve definitely have been thinking a lot more about what I wear and how I wear it.

Has that felt challenging at all?
Instead of limiting myself or my scope, I realize how much fashion can help you tell stories, really. As an actress, as a storyteller, that’s so crucial. Being able to mold and create new stories for yourself, new journeys, it’s very freeing. And being able to do it in clothes that are so carefully thought out and made and so explorative and more conceptual is very cool.

You’ve had an extremely busy year and now you have Bottoms and Theater Camp coming up. How are you feeling and what’s next?
Oh man, I’m just feeling very grateful. I love what I get to work on and the people that I get to work with. I feel very fortunate that so far people seem to be picking up what I’m putting down, and that the world has been opening for me creatively to keep following that. I’ve got some things lined up that I’m excited for, but I’m really keeping in the present right now.

[From W Magazine]

People really are picking up what Ayo is putting down. She seems to be having a moment that is slowly building momentum instead of being everywhere, all in our faces, and I think that has more staying power. She is still a relative newcomer, with The Bear being her most high profile project and I think it bodes well that a project early in her career is getting critical acclaim. As for what she says about fashion — yes. We all have a comfy uniform and I did the same thing during covid where I dressed up randomly just because I could. And I like that Ayo is appreciative of fashion and isn’t being precious about talking about it. Fashion is part of storytelling and it’s also a branding/business opportunity for actresses.

photos credit: Getty, Udo Salters/startraksphoto.com and via Instagram

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15 Responses to “Ayo Edebiri: ‘People seem to be picking up what I’m putting down’”

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  1. DrFt says:

    Love her on the bear. And I ship carmy and sydney being a couple even if it’s a slow burn.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I disagree. There was a moment I thought it was going that direction, and I thought I’d have to turn it off. They’ve fostered this big brother dynamic so a pivot to romance now would feel incestuous. Plus making Sydney a romantic lead would likely squash the character growth she’s getting to play out as a young professional figuring herself out.

      • Charlotte says:

        Agree. My guess is that if they get a Season/Act 3, it will end with Sydney having to decide whether/where to leave Chicago and go “out there” for a prestigious restaurant job.
        It’s one thing for Carmy to come home, but she hasn’t left yet …

      • Brooke says:

        I don’t think they’re going to get together – the showrunner has said they won’t – but incestuous? Really? I have to wonder if Sydney were played by a white actress would people be so repulsed by them as a couple.

      • bettyrose says:

        Brooke – That’s a really ugly accusation. Yes, they have a sibling dynamic, but also Sydney is benefiting from great writing and strong character development, and is therefore too important a character to be the “love interest,” a sewer of missed opportunities for women’s roles. I have to wonder if you’d be so quick to dismiss her potential for character development if she were white (see? works both ways if you’re going to be ugly about it).

      • Brooke says:

        @bettyrose – I have never seen anti-romance discourse around a show to this degree before. People are heated at the prospect of two characters maybe getting together at some point in the future, and I just find it strange. You said yourself you were going to turn off the show if they became a couple.
        If the writers did decide to go there with them (and like I said, I don’t think they will) I don’t know why you think they would suddenly relegate Sydney to the “love interest” role when she’s the second lead on the show and clearly an incredibly complex and richly drawn character. Ayo Edebiri was an executive producer for the “Fishes” episode, I’m sure they want to do right by her and her character.

      • bettyrose says:

        What anti-romance discourse? What was heated or negative about what I said? Okay, threatening to turn it off was hyperbole but that had less to do with the relationship and more with that being an unexpected decline in the quality of writing, going for the cheap and obvious plotline. You are looking for reasons to feel self-righteous and superior. In my experience, once someone has decided to feel arbitrarily superior there’s nothing that can be said to change their mind. I’ve said my piece. You’ve projected something ugly onto it. We’re at a standstill. I’m out.

      • tealily says:

        I completely agree with you, @bettyrose! What they have in common is that they are both deeply devoted to and driven by The Work. Like, that is what the show is about. Changing that dynamic would really change the center of the show.

  2. Pinkosaurus says:

    Well, she’s elevating that cheap-looking droopy outfit in the bottom pic way more than it deserves. Any brand would be lucky to sign her.

  3. ThatsNotOkay says:

    She is in the Joan Is Awful episode of this last season of Black Mirror and it was great to see her in another light. I’m excited about her stand-up and hope to get to see some of it soon, maybe in her own special, just to get a deeper sense of her perspectives, intelligence, and world dominance!

  4. @poppedbubble says:


  5. Aidee Kay says:

    Love Ayo Edebiri and love The Bear!!! Looking forward to her two upcoming films. I do ship Carmy and Sydney but don’t care if it never becomes canon. Their relationship is already the core of the series so if it stays platonic, great and if it becomes more, great.

  6. outoftheshadows says:

    SPOILER ALERT: She’s a real talent and I love watching her on screen. I don’t love the idea of Carmy and Sydney together; I thought she and Marcus seemed to vibe nicely, so I was surprised when she turned him down cold in the final episode. (But after the vomiting I understood–as well as watching his feelings getting in the way of the work.)

    I’m actually hoping that Sydney keeps clear of the men in the restaurant so she can continue to be the boss she is. That’s a much rarer story for women, and it would indicate that there are those of us who don’t give up our power for the D. Sydney’s too smart to get involved in some mess. And although I love Carmy, he is a mess. (I want him to straighten himself out so Clare gets the man she deserves, but I don’t have high hopes.)

  7. tealily says:

    I’ve only seen her in The Bear, but I think she’s wonderful. A friend of mine worked on a project with her right before season 1 came out and said she was just lovely. I hope we see a lot more of her!