Ayo Edebiri Recalls the Time She Emailed Maura Tierney for a Job


(Editor’s note: This interview was recorded prior to the SAG strike.)

The Big Picture

  • Ayo Edebiri has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in theaters now and the movie Bottoms due out on August 25th.
  • She and Rachel Sennott are longtime friends and collaborators, and the two used a similar tactic when trying to jumpstart careers in Hollywood.
  • Edebiri cold-emailed Maura Tierney looking for a job.

Collider Ladies Night is all about emphasizing how many different paths there can be to pursue one’s dreams in film and television. Oftentimes we repeat certain questions in an effort to highlight that fact. No answer is exactly the same when discussing one’s earliest influences, invaluable mentors, career turning points, and then some, but we did recently have some curious crossover with two different guests’ answers to a key Ladies Night question. Those two guests happen to be close friends who jump-started their careers together — Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri.

While on Ladies Night for the release of Bodies Bodies Bodies, I asked Sennott what she thought was step one to making it in Hollywood when she was first starting out, and now having done it, would she recommend that first step to another aspiring actor. She admitted, “I did some embarrassing things.” One of those embarrassing things? Emailing the Twilight casting director because she thought she “could be a really good background vampire.” She went on to note, “Honestly, sometimes a cold email works! So I think when I was a kid, I just wanted any way to break in, because I think that if you don’t come from the world of the industry, it’s sort of mystical where you’re like, ‘How do I even get in there?’”

Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott in Bottoms
Image via Orion Releasing

Given Sennott’s answer to that question was quite memorable and the fact that she and Edebiri are close friends who shared one of their first big credits (the Comedy Central series Rachel and Ayo are Single) and now have a feature film coming out on August 25th called Bottoms, I opted to bring back the question for Edebiri for her episode of Ladies Night in celebration of the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. I wasn’t prepared for how similar their answers would be. Edebiri began:

“I think I thought the first step, I don’t know, is just getting signed? And I didn’t know what that meant or how to do it, so I was just cold calling people nonstop. I was just sending crazy emails to managers and agents.”

When I told Edebiri that Sennott’s answer was quite similar, she laughed and said, “That’s why we’re friends! Rachel gave me the idea probably, now that I’m thinking about it.”

Just like Sennott with Twilight, Edebiri also had a very specific memory come to mind. She cold-emailed The Affair‘s Maura Tierney trying to get a job.

“This is so insane. Did you ever watch The Affair? Maura Tierney who’s from Boston, somebody my dad worked with is her cousin and so I got her email and I sent her my resume. Mind you, I was in college. So this isn’t like an early dream — I could vote. And I sent her an email with my resume and my headshot, and I was like, ‘I write, I produce, I act. I’ll do whatever. I’ll clean up the porta potties. Please Maura Tierney, what do you need girl?’ And obviously she never emailed me back. Don’t ever do that.”

Maura Tierney and Dominic West in The Affair.
Image via Showtime

Looking for more of Edebiri’s memories during her journey to a downright incredible 2023 that now includes an Emmy nomination, a new season of a hit TV show, and three excellent feature film releases? Check out her episode of Collider Ladies Night at the top of this article or listen to the conversation in podcast form below:

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