UNCG Magazine

Oscar nominee Emily V. Gordon: Hollywood projects in works

Emily V. Gordon ’01, ’03 MS/EdS had received an Oscar nomination for “The Big Sick” when she was featured in the Fall 2018 UNCG Magazine 

The screenplay was based on her own unconventional courtship with (now-husband) Kumail Nanjiani, her co-writer. 

Their recent pandemic-era/relationship podcast “Staying in with Emily and Kumail,” part self-help and part real-life comedy, has entertained many through times of quarantine.

The therapist-turned-screenwriter told about her UNCG experience: ““I went into college expecting the world would tell me what to do, and it would be my job to rage against that. I left understanding my job was to control my destiny. It helped me understand, this is my job,” Gordon said.

“Once you realize it is your destiny, you get to control it, and you get to mess it up. I got that idea, I’m probably going to mess this up a few times, but I’m captain of this ship, and how cool is that? UNCG gave me that.”

While earning her BA in psychology and MS/EdS in couples and family counseling, she had jobs in the UNCG Writing Center and Jackson Library. Among the stacks of books and paper copies, Gordon would lose herself.

“I fell in love with it. I developed a real fondness for the hidden nooks and crannies.”

She was a practicing therapist from 2004 to 2009, working in North Carolina, Chicago and Brooklyn before turning her passion for people into a second career: writing.

Emily began freelance writing for women’s magazines like Rookie, which eventually led to a book, “Super You,” published in 2015. She wanted to write a book about what she should have read as a teenage girl.

“I wanted to take everything I’d gotten from my experience as a therapist and write it in a way I wouldn’t have rolled my eyes at.” 

Coming off her Oscar nomination, she has two projects in the works, she tells us:

In 2020, the anthology TV series “Little America,” showing heartfelt and inspiring stories of US immigrants, was rolled out on Apple TV, and the second season is filming now. 

She’s a writer, co-developer, and executive producer for that, as well as an executive producer for a new series based on the story of the Chippendales, for Hulu.

By Mike Harris ’93 MA
Courtesy photos

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