The Self-Lover: Nicole Byer

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Nicole Byer is wildly ribald and totally inappropriate, but she might just be the best friend you need. She’s the type of person who will tell you straight up what is wrong with your love life — whether or not you’re prepared to listen to it. And, as a featured comic on MTV’s Girl Code, a show dedicated to the sacred session of R-rated girl talk, Byer is full of sage and wickedly hilarious relationship insights that all women really do need to hear.
In addition to making people laugh on television, Byer is half the brains behind the raunchy web series, The Pursuit of Sexiness, about the ridiculous trials and tribulations of dating and finding happiness (alongside Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata). She’s also a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles. Below, Byer gives us a sampling of the love advice she most abides by — and why, even when you’re in a relationship, you still need to love yourself first.
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Photographed by Ben Ritter.
The best advice I can give
“On [Girl Code’s Twitter], girls ask us stuff like, ‘How do I know he likes me?’ A lot of times my answers are just, ‘Worry about yourself.’ If you like yourself, other people will like you. Just do you. Love is about focusing on yourself so that you can open your heart and let others love you. I think focusing on loving yourself is what [my work is] about.”
When you should break up with someone
“If you think about it, everyone already knows the answers. People just ask questions to validate the wrong answer that they want to hear. It’s like, ‘My boyfriend yells at me. Do you think I should break up with him?’ You know you should. You’re just waiting for someone to say, ‘He’ll change.’ Really? Don’t do that to yourself. You have to say, ‘I don’t need you.’”
Don’t get ahead of yourself
“I had a really big crush on this guy named George. Whenever I saw him, my heart would start beating, and then I would hide. Later, I got to know him, and I realized he wasn’t for me. I didn’t even know him before I started acting like a crazy person.”
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Why love makes for great comedy
“I think it’s because everyone has felt love. Everyone has felt that romantic friendship to somebody. And, everyone has fucked it up. No one in the history of people has had one perfect relationship. That’s why most TV shows are about finding love. Anything and everything can go wrong. If you have a perfect relationship, you need to ask yourself, ‘What’s happening?’”
I draw upon my own life
“Everything I do is based on my life. I did this diversity showcase where I wrote sketches, and the director asked, ‘How will this show you as a big, black woman?’ I was like, ‘I think when I walk on stage, they’re all going to know. It’s not a secret that I’m big and black.’”
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Model's own dress, flats, rings, bracelet, and necklace.
Photographed by Ben Ritter; Styled by Sasha Kelly; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Hair by Adam Maclay.
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