During the latest episode of George Lopez’s podcast OMG Hi, the actor and comedian welcomed fellow entertainer and former Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor to the studio to talk about her career and her plans post-SNL.
After six seasons, Villaseñor, who was criminally underused during her time on SNL, decided not to return for the show’s current 48th season. She spoke to Lopez about her reason for saying goodbye, which came down to her mental health.
“I had some panic attacks at work last season,” Villaseñor said. “I was like, ‘This is too hard for me – the pressure.’ I was like, ‘I don’t think I want to keep myself there at that place.’”
She added: “Every week I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff hanging on.”
Villaseñor also told a story about an incident that happened last season where she got nervous during a sketch because she hadn’t been featured on the show in a few weeks. During the skit, Villaseñor said she kept “messing up” her lines. When she exited the stage, she broke down.
“I started crying on the side,” she said. “I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I was so mad at myself.”
On SNL, Villaseñor was best known for her spot-on impressions of celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Lady Gaga, Barbara Walters, and Britney Spears. In her final season, people were divided over a skit she performed with Selena Gomez where they both played cholas.
Although Villaseñor said she improved her skills each season on SNL, she never felt like she knew where she fit in as part of the cast. “I think I felt like me in high school where I’m like, ‘I don’t know where I belong. Who understands me here?’” she said. “When I’m around big groups of people that have more power and confidence, I tend to get small and quiet. If I get too anxious, I’ll go to my room.”
This week, Villaseñor’s new book, Whoops…I’m Awesome: A Workbook with Activities, Art, and Stories for Embracing Your Wonderfully Awesome Self, was released. The book is described as a journal “filled with…original art, laugh-out-loud stories, and heartfelt reflections [that] will help you embrace the silliness inside of you.”