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'SNL' star Cecily Strong on Michigan Avenue magazine cover

Luis Gomez

About Last Night

7:49 AM CST, February 19, 2014

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As legend has it, iO co-founder Charna Halpern was nearing the end of her annual search for potential “Saturday Night Live” cast members when she spotted Cecily Strong working the iO box office one night on her way out. Halpern encouraged the Oak Park native to audition, even though she was planning on skipping it because she didn’t feel ready, and, well, you can figure out what happened from there.

But if you’d like to read about Strong’s path to “Saturday Night Live” and her “Weekend Update” co-anchor role, she’s featured on the upcoming cover of Michigan Avenue magazine. The interview was conducted by “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch over the phone in January.

"It was crazy," Strong told Michigan Avenue. "Well, every call was like, 'I passed.' And every taxi ride to the airport I was crying to even be that close. But the day I met with Lorne--and you always leave a little confused--and then [producer] Lindsay [Shookus] called me up and was like, 'You’re hired. Get out here Monday.'

"I left the building and just walked around New York; I mean it was so dramatic in my head: 'This is my city!' And you get to work in NYC and enjoy this club that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I think it was just a lot of crying."

If you’d like to meet Strong, she will attend Planned Parenthood’s fourth annual Generations Celebration April 23 at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. Strong revealed in the Michigan Avenue interview she once worked at Planned Parenthood in Chicago in the corporate office.

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

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