Quinta Brunson Emotionally Reacts to Her History-Making Emmys Win: 'It Was a Sensory Overload' (Exclusive)

The 'Abbott Elementary' creator, star and writer chatted with ET moments after her historic win on Monday night.

Quinta Brunson was flying high after her historic win at Monday night's 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards.

The creator, writer, executive producer and star of ABC's beloved comedy series, Abbott Elementary, earned the show's sole trophy of the night, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and marked the second time a Black star has won the honor since The Jeffersons star Isabel Sanford won in 1981.

"I'm starting to [exhale]," Brunson told ET's Nischelle Turner fresh from her win backstage. "This show has been very emotional for me from beginning to end."

Brunson has always been a strong advocate for comedy as a genre, from her beginnings as a writer on Buzzfeed to becoming a household name thanks to her creating Abbott Elementary. Premiering its third season next month, the workplace comedy quickly became a beloved staple in households as it follows a group of teachers at a public school in Philadelphia who, despite their lack of resources, work toward helping their students succeed. 

"I feel like it's such an underappreciated genre, and it's the thing that raised me and like artistically guided me, so, you know. I get emotional about it," she shared.

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As a lover of comedy, Brunson confessed that she was overwhelmed by the dedications paying tribute to the history of TV for the award's diamond anniversary with reunions such as the cast of MartinCheers and more.

"The comedy appreciation that was happening -- I ran into Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence, and Tichina Arnold on the red carpet and that did me in because I grew watching them. They were so loving, and that made me cry there," she recalled. "And then, as soon as I heard the Facts of Life theme song, that did something for me. And then, seeing Carol Burnett [and] I just met Marla Gibbs before the show started. It was a sensory overload."

Even more overwhelming for Brunson was the knowledge that not only had she made history with her win, but with her and close friend Ayo Edebiri's win, they became the first Black women to ever win Best Lead Actress and Supporting Actress in the same year.

"I can't believe it, I know," Brunson exclaimed happily. "It's crazy! I don't know what to do -- and it's Martin Luther King Day, it's too much." 

Edebiri became the third Black woman to win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category, a year after Abbott Elementary's Sheryl Lee Ralph became the second

The Bear star told ET she's "pretty floored" by becoming an Emmy winner.

"My name was in league with a lot of really amazing performances and shows in their final season and all that stuff. I'm just really, really floored," she said before acknowledging the success of The Bear overall at the Emmys, calling herself and her co-workers "very, very, very fortunate." 

"I think that's really all you can say," she said. "It's weird, these things, they make it win or lose, but I love TV. I love watching TV. The shows and performances that we were nominated alongside are so good. To have any sort of recognition really, especially from our peers, is stunning and humbling and really nice."

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, originally set to take place last September, was postponed due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Hosted by Anthony Anderson at L.A. Live's Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, the ceremony aired live Monday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET on Fox, and will be streamed Tuesday, Jan. 16 on Hulu. Keep checking ETonline.com for complete Emmys coverage and for the full winners' list.


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