A glow-up is often defined as a critical point in a person’s life when things change for the better. And witnessing a person’s glow-up is inspiring and motivating for those following people for quite some time. One clear example of a glow-up with the culture standing on its proverbial feet is that of Quinta Brunson.
Brunson, who was once known for her comedic skits and viral moments as a video producer for BuzzFeed, is an award-winning actress, director, and writer.
Even before the BuzzFeed days, Brunson captivated audiences, displaying her comedic chops through impersonations. According to an interview with Glamour, Brunson would do impressions for her siblings while growing up in Philadelphia, PA.
“Yeah, my brothers and sisters—they really liked to watch me imitate characters from their favorite shows. I don’t think I realized that I was doing impressions; it would just be like, “Quinta, say this.” And then I would say it, and I really enjoyed making them laugh,” Brunson stated.
That affinity for family and home is essential to her success story. Because of Philadelphia’s diversity and communal environment, Brunson could explore and feel connected to different cultures. This connection impacted her character work and creative development.
“It feels more like the city is one big messed-up family, but one big family. I feel like all of that lent itself to me being able to get through this industry because another thing about Philly: It’s a big underdog city, and we like it that way,” Brunson declared to the outlet. “And I feel that way about myself in this industry. It’s like, “I know that I’m good. I’m not really proving that part; I’m just…”
The fight of the underdog would pay dividends, especially during the beginning of her career. Rising to cultural popularity from her Instagram series “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date,” Brunson catapulted to new viral heights, eventually leaving BuzzFeed to pursue her dreams of writing, creating, and starring in original content, which would lead to her current space in fame.
Since her departure from BuzzFeed, Brunson starred in HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and voiced a recurring character on Netflix’s “Big Mouth.” However, in 2021, the 34-year-old would get her most significant opportunity with the premiere of ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.”
Brunson’s hard work and persistence would break barriers and lead her to an estimated net worth of $3 million.
“Abbott Elementary” has had critics roaring since its debut. With an all-star cast that includes Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams, the weekday sitcom has made history in television awards and rankings, earning Brunson a 2023 Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. She would be the first Black woman to earn the award since Isabel Sanford’s role as Weezy in “The Jeffersons” over 40 years ago.
According to Rolling Stones, Brunson had been going full force since the breakout success of “Abbott Elementary.” From writing, directing, and acting in the show to attending events, Brunson filled her days with the hustle of making it all happen. However, things recently slowed down for her.
During the strikes by the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild, she supported her industry peers and learned a valuable lesson — the importance of self-care.
“I used it [the strike] as a period to get my mental and physical health together,” Brunson said to Rolling Stone. “Because I realized that that was something I wasn’t focused on while we were making ‘Abbott.’ To be transparent, I started actually thinking about my mental health and feeling that a therapist was necessary. That was something I was really proud of because I don’t think I would have gotten the time to think to do that if I had gone straight into another season of ‘Abbott.’”
Brunson is a long way from her humble beginnings and is living out realities that were only dreams and hopes back then.
“It’s weird how I was like, ‘I’ll probably live in apartments for the rest of my life,’” Brunson told Rolling Stone. “I never thought I’d have a house. Isn’t that crazy?”
Although she has reached boss status, she credits her connection to the community as fuel for her leadership and drive.
“For me, I feel like every job I had before ‘Abbott’ led to being able to manage the show the way I would like to,” Brunson explained to Glamour. “I didn’t really have an image in my head of who to be like. I thought about what I appreciated every time I was an employee, and I thought about being a good community member. …Even though I am the boss and head manager, I still try to just think of being a good community member more than anything.”