Melissa Villaseñor is opening up about why she chose to leave Saturday Night Live.
"It was my decision. I gave myself a lot of time in the summer to think on it and play it out in my head," she shared during an appearance on The Daily Beast's Last Laugh podcast. "At the end of the day it was about my mental health. Last season, I had a couple of panic attacks. I think it was just… I was struggling. I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week. I was like, I don’t want to be doing that to myself anymore"
Villaseñor announced last month that she was leaving the sketch series after six seasons, joining the likes of Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Alex Moffat, and Aristotle Athari. She made history in 2018 as the first Latina in SNL's run to be promoted to repertory status.
"It’s not like the show was mean towards me or anyone. It was just how I handle things. I think I’m an introvert," Villaseñor clarified. "When I’m in a big group of a lot of amazing people, and everyone’s speaking over everyone else, I think I tend to get small. I get nervous, like, where do I fit? What am I supposed to do?... I was like, I think I’m OK. I feel like there’s nothing else that I feel like, oh, I need to be sharing this, I want to do this on the show. I think I’m ready. There was just something telling me, I think I could part ways."
She also expressed her gratitude for her time on the show and the opportunities it provided her, though she admitted she would not miss the work schedule. "I am so grateful for all of them for having me. And I shared with them that this was my kid dream. This is all I wanted as a kid," she said.
"So I’m going to carry that forever in my heart, that I got to experience that in my life."
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Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.