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Reggie Conquest Insecure TSA Bae

Insecure’s TSA Bae Reggie Conquest Talks Big Guy Love Scenes

HBO’s Insecure returned for season 4 with a surprise in the form of Issa D’s big guy love interest, Calvin, played by comedian Reggie Conquest. The series also gives viewers something we don’t often see: love scenes featuring a big guy with the main character. We talked to Conquest about getting the role, people’s reaction to the character, and why you always put on deodorant before a sex scene.

How did you get the role of Calvin on Insecure?
I started out in comedy, and I went to this festival and it went really well. I got an agent from that, and I flew out to L.A. to audition. This was the first audition I went on, and I got it. Issa’s character’s wasn’t name on the script – it was some other made up character’s name. I was going around asking my sisters and people who watch the show, “who is this character?” They said it must be someone new. So I show up, and it’s Issa. I’m like holy shit [laughs]. I was blown away like everybody else when I showed up to work.

I had some time to do some push ups and all that, but I thought, you know what? They hired a fat guy, they’re getting a fat guy.

Did you know that you’d be doing sex scenes when you auditioned?
I knew that when I auditioned. I had some time to do some push ups and all that, but I thought, you know what? They hired a fat guy, they’re getting a fat guy. I didn’t even bother to work out. I had a good month or so before [shooting the scenes] and I went as-is, and I’m glad I did, you know?

My understanding of sex scenes in film in TV is that there’s a specific process that’s followed. Can you talk about how that works and what it’s like?
They have a sex coordinator who came to talk to me and spoke with me to ask what I’m comfortable with. They even ask about touch – are you comfortable with her touching your back, the side of your hip. They’re checking boxes on a list, and there’s lawyers involved and all that, and I guess Issa does the same thing. There’s a whole process and the coordinator explains in-depth how to do it.

From there they give you a cup and the costume person comes in and tapes it down so it wouldn’t move. So your balls are cupped, but your ass is out, and [the cup] blends in with your complexion. On the set, the sex coordinator is the only other person in the room. Other than that, it’s a closed set. Then they call action, you throw your robe over the wall, and you go. So it’s just me and Issa in the room, for about 16 hours, taking on and off our robes.

I was so nervous, and as a big guy, I like to smell good, but I didn’t do anything. I was like, what if she’s allergic? I didn’t want to go in there smelling good and her think I was trying to flirt. My mind was going so left, so I went in there straight nothin’: no smelling good, no deodorant, nothin’.

Comedian Reggie Conquest

Oh god!
So when we started acting, I started sweating and it was the most embarrassing thing – I had to ask them “hey, can I get a little deodorant? I’m starting to get a little sweaty.” And she shows up and she’s smelling great and I’m just like, oh my god, I’m an idiot [laughs].

So you did this for 16 hours?
We were on the set for like 12 of those hours. Sometimes they’ll keep you in your trailer butt naked with your robe on and they’ll call for you. But most of the time, we were on set. It was a lot of just laying around naked, a lot of being on top of each other, getting different shots. It was crazy.

Now that you’ve done it and it’s out there, what kind of feedback are you getting from people?
People have gotten a kick out of it. That first night, it was nuts. It was like I had an extra birthday or something. Everybody was hitting me up. I still haven’t watched the whole episode. I just watched the scene and was like, what? I almost forgot I did it because we shot it almost a year ago.

The feedback was good, and TSA Bae was like a hashtag, and then on the internet they were talking about fat shaming and people being grossed out and joking. My friends showed me some of it, but I didn’t see any the negative comments until later, but it was like, whatever.

The negative comments are how you know you’re making an impression
Yeah, and I can handle it, you know? I thought I was really gonna get it with the booty button line, but no, it was more love than it was anything else.

I think just seeing a show like this featuring a bigger guy in this way feels like a step in the right direction.
I’ve gotten so many posts and tags with big dudes just saying “legend,” and “GOAT,” [laughs]. It’s been pretty cool. The ones that really surprise me are the think pieces that talk about me being brave, and I’m like, I wasn’t hurt. I’m good! That’s what I learned about this whole thing: people take TV really, really seriously.

I didnt realize that you dont see this much at all until after I did it and it came out. I do like that it represented for the big guys.

Seeing yourself represented in media is such a big thing. I think when you’re a bigger guy and you don’t see other bigger guys being portrayed in a positive way, things like this stand out.
Absolutely. It’s been exciting. I didnt realize that you dont see this much at all until after I did it and it came out. I do like that it represented for the big guys. I wish this [coronavirus] wasn’t happening right now. I’d like to be out going to parties and all that.

How are you keeping sane through all this?
I still work out at home, and I’ve got friends and family around me. I’ve been reading and still auditioning, so it hasn’t broken me yet. I’ve been cooking more, and trying new stuff in the kitchen.

Nice! Is there anything you’ve tried that you’re feeling good about?
I made some monkey bread and some buffalo chicken egg rolls that turned out really, really good. I’ve been trying stuff, man. You’ve got all this time to sit in the house, so I’ve been trying stuff.

Once the quarantine is over, what’s next for you?
I’m just continuing to work. I told myself I’ll probably never do this again, as far as getting naked. I’m blessed to have done it this time, and I’m going to continue to try to do new stuff. I’m just gonna keep working and god willing, I’ll be in more stuff.

Catch Reggie Conquest on HBO’s Insecure and follow him on Instagram @reggieconquest.