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Today Show Cover Photos of Ayo Edebiri

Source: Myesha Evon Gardner / NBC Universal

In July, TODAY launched a quarterly cover series that reaches an audience of over 50 million monthly readers. Each season, a celebrity TODAY readers love and admire will be featured on the cover. The multi-platform effort lives on and is featured on the broadcast as well as TODAY’s streaming channel and social platforms, reaching a total audience of more than 100M.

For Fall, TODAY is profiling Hollywood up-and-comer Ayo Edebiri, who enchanted viewers in her breakout role as sous chef Sydney in Hulu’s “The Bear” earlier this year. Edebiri opens up on her rise to fame, why she remains determined to hold on to her humility, and of course, what she knows about season two of “The Bear.”

On “The Bear” Sydney goes from an unpaid intern to the second in command. Throughout the eight episode first season, Edebiri does an amazing job of showing all of the layers that come with her character. She has been lauded for her portrayal of Sydney. She spoke on her character and how she feels they relate.

“I feel like I kind of identify with the character a lot. Her care and craft is also a product. How do you reconcile that and stay sane in that and not lose passion for it, even though it’s something that’s been commodified?”

She went on to talk about how she trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in Pasadena, California and actually worked shifts at Michelin-star restaurants such as Pasjoli in Santa Monica, Contra in New York and Elske in Chicago. Edibiri used her experience working in restaurants to bolster her performance.

“I worked in restaurants for five or six years in New York. I’ve worked in restaurants a lot in my life. Never in the kitchen, but waitstaff or hosting, reservations, and my first job was being a dishwasher. I understood, I think, the rhythm of how people spoke and the feeling of being in a kitchen, but never from the chef’s vantage point.” 

Today Show Cover Photos of Ayo Edebiri

Source: Myesha Evon Gardner / NBC Universal

Edebiri remains a bit shocked by the acclaim the show and her role have gotten. The attention her and the show are receiving makes one wonder what could possibly be in store for next season. Unfortunately, she knows as much as us.

“I really don’t know anything about Season Two, which I’m really sad to say… I know they’re just writing it right now, so hopefully I’ll know soon.”

One thing Edebiri does know though is that she’s grateful for all the support she’s receiving, especially from her other famous cohorts. She met “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson while doing voice work for Netflix’s “Big Mouth.” The two have sense become very close. Edebiri spoke on their relationship and how much it means to her.

“Quinta and I met a few years ago when I first moved out to LA…I think that’s a city that’s very easy to feel lonely in. And as soon as we met, she told me, ‘You need people. If you want me to be one of your people, I can do it.’ And ever since then, she’s just been such a great friend and person I can go to whether I need work help, or if I need a couch to sit on, and, I don’t know, order weird food and eat and just complain. I’m proud of my friends, not just the ones I can name-drop in conversations. But I’m very, very proud of the work that they’re doing, which will hopefully continue to grow.”

Today Show Cover Photos of Ayo Edebiri

Source: Myesha Evon Gardner / NBC Universal

Judging by the work she’s already put in and the company she keeps, it’s safe to say that the future is bright for Edebiri. Although she knows this, she is taking it a day at a time and letting the chips fall where they may. She stated that she doesn’t like to narrating things as they’re happening.

“I used to do like five-year goals, 10-year goals … lately I’ve just been like, ‘Let’s just see where it goes.’ It’s like you set goals and then it’s like, ‘Oh, I beat this in three days’ — turns out, doing my laundry wasn’t a five-year goal. There are some things where it will just take time, and it’s up to time to dictate what it wants. But hopefully I’ll be in a spot where I can feel challenged and feel excited. And maybe I can be in a place to have people I’m helping in whatever capacity — as a friend or as a collaborator or as a mentor.”

Congrats to Ayo for being named TODAY’s Fall cover star! To check out the entire interview, click here.