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Melissa Villaseñor Has Opened Up About Why She Left ‘SNL’ After Six Years

There was a bit of a mass exodus at the end of SNL’s 46th season. Longtime honcho Lorne Michaels effectively blamed on the pandemic, arguing that the once-in-a-century public health crisis kept people who would have otherwise left from doing so, for stability reasons. One of the departing cast members was Melissa Villaseñor, she of, among other things, excellent impersonations of singers. Now she’s opened up about why she decided to skedaddle.

“It was my decision,” Villaseñor said during an appearance on The Daily Beast podcast The Last Laugh. The short version: It was for mental health reasons:

“I gave myself a lot of time in the summer to think on it and kind of play out in my head if I go back. 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. And I was like, I don’t want to be doing that to myself anymore. And it’s not like the show was mean toward me or anyone. It was just how I handle things.”

Still, the decision, Villaseñor said, was super hard,” in part “because I love Lorne and I am so grateful for all of them for having me.”

Now, Villaseñor, who joined the cast in 2016, has dyed her hair pink and vamoosed to Los Angeles, where she says she’s living her best life. “I almost feel reborn or something, because I have all this free time,” she said. She added that she always tried to do other things and expand her mind between SNL seasons, but it never worked out. Not anymore. “So I’m enrolling in classes, almost like a little kid. I’m taking guitar lessons and Spanish lessons. I signed up for a pottery class!”

So congrats to Melissa Villaseñor and may she enjoy her newfound freedom.

(Via The Daily Beast)