Today we’d like to introduce you to Dyani Rejae.
I’m originally from Houston, TX but I’ve lived in LA for 9 years now. I majored in dance in college so my original plan was to perform with a company and open a dance studio in the neighborhood I grew up in. My last year of school I decided I didn’t want to do any of that. I wanted to model! Unfortunately, because I’m 5’5, no one else wanted that. After one million “No’s” I finally found an agency in Austin to sign me. I graduated a semester early and moved to Austin. I think I modeled twice, they mostly sent me out on commercial auditions. One day I saw a funny Swiffer commercial on TV and decided that I should move to Los Angeles to be in one, nobody stopped me and none of this makes sense when I say it now.
While I was working at Maggiano’s in LA, one of my coworkers told me I was REALLY funny. I don’t think I’d ever had someone say that to me. I knew I made people laugh every now and then but I wasn’t consciously funny. She said she thought I’d be good at a thing called improv and told me about classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I signed up immediately and have been performing ever since. My simple dream of being in a Swiffer commercial grew into something much much bigger.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I love making people laugh, it’s my absolute favorite thing to do! I’m an improviser, stand-up comedian, actor and writer. I mostly perform with ‘Oreo’, a two person team with one of my best-friends, Adrian Snow. We try to deliver grounded comedy and lots of times end up letting out a bit of our real-life on stage, which is a fun inside joke for us!
Originally we were a three person team but our lovely third moved away. Besides being a delicious cookie, Oreo is also a reference to the view of Black people who don’t fit into traditional Black stereotypes. Adrian and I were both called Oreos growing up so the name still fit. After four years of performing together we decided to create a web series loosely based on our lives, we named it ‘Crazy Sexy Oreos’. We took our terrible experiences of microaggressions, dating, and code-switching and turn it into something fun!
I also have a mini-series that I created for social media called Self-Care Struggles. The series consists of really short skits on self-care attempts gone wrong.
I want people to feel seen in the things I create, I love when people say something I created was very relatable. There are so many different stories to tell, so many different versions of being Black.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Don’t let self-doubt get in the way of creating. I spent so many years waiting for other people to invite me to work on their things because I was scared my ideas wouldn’t work. Turns out, I have amazing ideas!
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
For my personal work follow @dyanirejae on Instagram or checkout my website: www.dyanirejae.com. For information on improv shows, people can follow @oreoimprov and @SandraOMGimprov.
Headshot: Joanna DeGeneres