When it comes to comedy, Cecily Strong knows her stuff. She’s currently a Saturday Night Live cast member, where her skills as a sly, tongue-in-cheek political commentator behind the desk of “Weekend Update” and her spot-on celebrity impersonations have made her a breakout star. This weekend, Strong will be adding another role to her résumé: event emcee and hostess. The comedienne will join the ranks of Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, and Seth Meyers as she headlines the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in DC, becoming only the fourth woman ever to do so, and the youngest host in over four decades.
We spoke with Strong about her plans for the event, as well as about one of our favorite topics: fashion. See below for some insight into her personal style and to find out a bit more about this weekend’s WHCD.
The Window: We’re huge SNL fans—any favorite characters you’ve gotten to play over the course of your time on the show?
Cecily Strong: I’ve gotten to play a lot of fun characters so far. Obviously it’s been super fun playing the former porn stars and the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. This year, I’ve really enjoyed Cathy Anne—she’s based on a woman I used to see outside in the parking lot of a place I worked in L.A. I also loved getting to play Sarah Koenig in the Serial sketch we wrote. That was a real love letter to her and to the podcast.
TW: How did you hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner come about? You’re known for your sly and edgy political humor from SNL, but how will that manifest itself during the dinner?
CS: I got the call about the WHCD from my dad, actually! The White House Correspondents Association president, Christi Parsons, knew my dad from his job at the Associated Press in Springfield, IL, 30 years ago. When he got the email and called me, it took about three days to figure out if it was real or not! I have some ideas about what I want to say, but I still have a lot to finalize. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t think I’ll go very “mean.” I don’t mind joking about most things, but I think I’d rather be silly than very cutting. Who knows, though. I still have a lot of work to do!
TW: Rumor has it that President Obama will also crack a few jokes during the dinner. Have you two met before?
CS: I actually have met the President a couple of times in Chicago, when I was working as an intern at my dad’s former PR firm. I met him first at the AFL-CIO democratic presidential primary debate in 2004, then I met him briefly while working a couple more events in the city. So I’m positive he will remember me. If not, I’ll be crazy mad.
TW: How would you describe your personal style?
CS: My personal style is anything short, black, or white! I am very high-waisted, so I sometimes shop in petites. I also love a heel. I didn’t know this about myself until being forced to wear them at work. I usually stay with classic looks, but every now and then I have to wear something bright and sparkly and colorful because New York style can feel so dark and sleek. You see so many girls with long, dark hair in sleek, black outfits. So then I feel like I should wear gold sequins to break it up.
TW: Do you have any fashion rules that you live by?
CS: There are a few rules I follow: no flared-out skirts or anything that will make me look wider or boxy. My frame does that on its own, thank you very much. And I think if you ever see me in a midriff top, it means something terrible has happened to my brain and I’m in real trouble.