04/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT
A consulting producer for NBC's sitcom, Nissel, 31, is author of The Broke Diaries
, about being a penniless student; and Mixed
, about life in the multiracial lane (both optioned by Halle Berry
). Thoughts on the latter:
• "Mixed people have a sense about other mixed people that's like gaydar. I have a friend who's biracial, and white people compliment her on her tan; black or mixed people can tell she's partly black."
• "White people try to test you out: They ask you how your parents met, or they say, 'Are you Puerto Rican?' They want to know how to talk to you. I've gotten cursed out by old ladies in L.A. who think I'm Mexican but I can't speak Spanish."
• Nissel taped a speed-dating segment on The Tyra Banks Show
(to air April 27) in which a Black. White. makeup team made her look, yes, black, then white—with eye-opening results. In a 10-minute chat when she was "white," one black man "spoke very properly and told me he'd gone to white schools all his life." When she was "black," he relaxed and said he dated only black women because there was no "stuff" involved.