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Sasheer Zamata has been added to the cast of Saturday Night Live and will make her debut in the upcoming Jan. 18 episode.
Zamata was part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York and graduated only three years ago from the University of Virginia, reports Deadline, who first wrote on the cast addition.
She is the first African-American female cast member on SNL since Maya Rudolph left several years ago. She was added after the late-night comedy program came under fire for its lack of diversity and so creator Lorne Michaels has been hosting a quiet talent search to add someone to the cast.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the talent search was the first to exclusively look for an African-American woman to join the show's cast.
After two talent-search auditions, one at the Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles and the other in New York, Zamata and Amber Ruffin were named as two finalists before the former won the coveted spot. Cast member Jay Pharoah's personally suggested choice of addition Darmirra Brunson also tried out for a spot.
Zamata joins an SNL cast that has added six other new faces at the beginning of the current season, with all but Noel Wells being white.