Lena Waithe is having a dream year.
In September she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, for Netflix’s Master of None, in which she also costars. She created Showtime’s The Chi, about life in her Chicago hometown, which premiered in January to high praise from critics. She will appear in season 2 of Netflix’s Dear White People; and is currently starring in Steven Spielberg’s new movie Ready Player One. And in the midst of her impressive professional successes, Waithe, 33, got engaged to girlfriend Alana Mayo, 33, last Thanksgiving.
“It’s a little nutty,” the writer/actress told PEOPLE with a laugh of her busy schedule. “I’m trying to balance it out, but I’m really grateful.”
Waithe and Mayo, a production exec, are currently juggling their work demands with wedding planning.
“It’s going to be super small, crazy small,” says Waithe of their wedding. “It’s almost like an excuse to have fun with our friends.”
Their strategy so far is to keep things low-key.
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“We’re anti-stress,” she said. “We’re trying to make it not a stressful situation, that’s our goal.”
Meanwhile Waithe is excited for audiences to see a very different side of her in Spielberg’s sci-fi adventure, Ready Player One, as she plays two roles — one that exists in the real world and another that exists in a virtual one known as the OASIS.
“The acting thing to me is all fun and joy and chill,” she said of her work in front of the camera. “I will always be a television writer, but when I’m an actor on-set, I’m having the most fun because I have the least amount of stress.”
Waithe called the film, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, is “a love letter to people who love movies, games, who sometimes feel more comfortable when they’re by themselves, dreaming things up. I think it’s a classic Spielberg movie,” she added. “And you don’t get any better than that.”
Ready Player One is now in theaters.