Quantcast

Actress Nafessa Williams Had To Learn The Power Of Pressing Pause To Win At Life

"Having financial stability is nice but by no means does it mean you are successful."

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

The only Black female superheroes that I can name off of the top of my head are my mother and "Thunder" from CW's Black Lightning. If you're not familiar with Black Lightning, I don't know what you are doing with your free time because it is one of the single best shows I've started watching. Nafessa Williams, alongside Cress Williams and China Anne McClain, effortlessly portrays a 21st century Black woman as she ebbs and flows through relationships, mental health and family drama - all while being a superhuman. Adding to that, she has broken ground playing the first African-American lesbian superhero on television. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg for Nafessa.

The 30-year-old actress has starred in the recent Deon Taylor feature Black & Blue alongside Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo and Tyrese Gibson for Screen Gems, had a season-long arc on the CBS series Code Black, and recurred on the hit Showtime series Twin Peaks.

For this installment of "Finding Balance", xoNecole had the chance to discuss with actress Nafessa Williams about meditation, traveling with her friends, and exercising as part of her daily lifestyle.

At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause and finding balance in both your personal and professional life? 

I remember it was right before I booked Black Lightning, I was auditioning every day, sometimes two to three times a day and I was drained mentally and physically. I was all about my work and busy trying to make it. I wasn't really enjoying life though, and I hadn't gone on a trip in about seven years, didn't have a self-care regimen, and was all work. A friend of mine advised me to press the pause button and live a little so I could give over to my craft and, more importantly, so I wouldn't drive myself crazy. So, it was at that moment I started to live more and take care of myself.

"I remember it was right before I booked Black Lightning, I was auditioning every day, sometimes two to three times a day and I was drained mentally and physically. I was all about my work and busy trying to make it. I wasn't really enjoying life though, and I hadn't gone on a trip in about seven years, didn't have a self-care regimen, and was all work. A friend of mine advised me to press the pause button and live a little so I could give over to my craft and, more importantly, so I wouldn't drive myself crazy."

Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of. 

A typical day in my life consists of prayer, meditation, [and a] morning workout. If I'm filming, I head to set; if not, I'm knocking out a to-do list. My favorite things to eat for breakfast are Beyond sausage and avocado toast, oatmeal and fruit, but if I'm pressed for time I'll have a banana and a green juice. I typically meditate for about 20 minutes everyday. I love the guided meditations with Deepak Chopra and Oprah on the Chopra Center Meditation website.

How do you wind down at night? 

I love to wind down at night with a shower, candles, and some relaxing music. My favorites to listen to are Lauryn Hill, Sade, Jill Scott, and H.E.R.. I lowkey go to bed watching Martin every night as if I don't already know every episode word for word.

When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?

A busy week for me is when I'm filming every day that week. It's kinda tough being on set all day and night and needing to run errands because by the time I'm off work everything is closed; that can be hectic for me. But, I try to organize my weekend to handle the things I couldn't during the week. Oh, and trying to maintain my workouts when I'm filming can be tough when I have early call times.

Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you? 

Yes, mediation, workouts and therapy are a part of my self-care routine. I also treat myself to massages pretty often and quality time with myself.

"Mediation, workouts and therapy are a part of my self-care routine. I also treat myself to massages pretty often and quality time with myself."

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care? 

I would tell women, "You are what matters the most and if you aren't balanced, happy, centered, you can't give your best self to anything or anyone else." Self-love and our happiness should be at the top of the list. Make self-care a priority!

How do you find balance with:

Friends?

I talk to my close friends just about every day. When I'm filming the show, I don't really get to kick it until the weekends though. I love to travel with my friends. I'm a true Sagittarius who loves adventure. My favorite [memory] with my friends is my 30th bday trip to the Bahamas with seven of my girlfriends. We partied, jumped off boats, swam in a cage and watched sharks being fed. Literally my most memorable trip so far.

Love/Relationships? Dating?

Work has been the priority for me over the last six years, but I am learning to find the balance when it comes to dating. I do want to have a family soon, so I'm starting to mentally prepare myself for the sacrifices that I'll need to make.

Exercise?

Exercising is a part of my lifestyle. I try to workout at least five days a week. The workout schedule varies depending on my shooting schedule. So I work out with my trainer Justin Shaw who created a dope 15-minute ab workout. It's intense as hell but knowing it's only 15 minutes is the incentive. I also switch it up and do some of my workouts on my own which typically last for about an hour. I like to do full body workouts. Legs, arms, back and abs.

"Exercising is a part of my lifestyle. I try to workout at least five days a week."

What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?

I've been a pescatarian for the last eight years and it works for me. I've actually been in the kitchen lately, trying new recipes, cooking for my friends, enjoying my own food at home. Every now and then, I order out but not as much as I used to.

Do you ever detox?

I've detoxed before but it's not something that I do regularly. I've done a juice cleansing detox where I juiced for a couple of days. I loved the idea of the cleanse but I lost weight which is why I don't do it often. I love my weight and at the moment I'm just interested in toning.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?

My spirituality is very important to me. Prayer and meditation help me get through moments of uncertainty. Journaling helps as well.

"My spirituality is very important to me. Prayer and meditation help me get through moments of uncertainty."

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Girlboss Rally NYC 2018

What do you do when you have a creative block on a project or feel like you have to clear your head before going into character?

When I feel blocked creatively or need to clear my head, I do a couple breathing exercises or go on a run. This tends to help me get centered.

Honestly, what does success and happiness mean to you? 

Being aware of and walking in your purpose is what I call success. I've learned tangible things don't equate to success, the intangible is what I'm after. For me, happiness and success is being fulfilled Spiritually, Physically, Psychologically and Mentally. Everything else will fall in alignment. I'll be honest, having financial stability is nice but by no means does it mean you are successful.

For more of Nafessa, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image via Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Sign up today and be the first to get notified on new updates, exclusive events, retreats and giveaways!

More Posts

When Kara Stevensara Stevens started Frugal Feminista, she was on a mission to offer something she didn't see enough of as a young Black woman looking to become debt-free. She'd taken her personal finance matters into her own hands, turning to library books and other free resources to get out of $65,000 in debt. "During that process, I'd found books—some written by Black women, some by white men—and they were all helpful, but I noticed that there was a dearth of literature really speaking to what Black women in their 20s and 30s were facing. I couldn't relate," she recalls.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

It's Pride Month, and what better time to highlight amazing Black LGBTQ leaders and advocates killing it in business? Yep, now is the perfect occasion. These entrepreneurs and executives are providing spaces for inclusion, disrupting and innovating in fashion, tech, entertainment, and finance, and giving voice to the struggles, issues, and vibrancy of LGBTQ communities. They are exemplary examples of brilliance we all can admire and take a nod from in our own lives both professionally and personally.

Keep reading... Show less

You know, love is a funny, funny thing. I once read that 90 percent of it is based on the friendship developed by the two of you, and only 10 percent is actually based on love. And oftentimes, your marriage will boil down to the work put into maintaining and nurturing that 90 percent. Ain't that sumthin?

Keep reading... Show less

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

When the pandemic hit, it really changed the way we connected with one another. While yes, social media has always been around, it has never been relied on as much as it is now. Especially within the last year. Social media became instrumental in building relationships as it continues to be a main source in making new friends, business partners, and, of course love interests. I mean, when it comes to love interests we are all familiar with the swipe left, swipe right, and the DM slide. But it is much more special when social media is actually the motivator for you to fly out and meet the woman of your dreams, who lives almost 1,000 miles away.

A simple scroll and a nice charming smile is what caught Andrea Fernandes' eye to really see what Jibre Hordges was all about. The 25- and 27-year-old were able to connect and after a couple of weeks of text messages and phone calls, the now-couple decided that distance or a pandemic was not going to hold them back. Andrea mentions, "I felt like time flew by when we were together. When we met in-person, we were able to talk for hours and hours."

The couple made it official in June 2020. Since their initial meeting online, Andrea and Jibre have been positive influences in each other's lives. They have been complementing each other's strengths and challenging each other's areas of improvement. They support each other through their own individual journeys of growth and never losing sight of faith. While Andrea and Jibre are still in a long-distance relationship, they are dedicated to spending that quality time together. For these two, they are only one call and a flight away.

In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, the publicist and actor shares how their love continues to grow by honest communication, speaking each other's love languages, and keeping God as a shared value.

How We Met

Andrea: I was scrolling through Instagram one day and I came across Jibre's page. I saw that one of my friends followed him too. So I sent his photo to my friend and asked, "Who is this man?" (laughs) I will say that if it wasn't for my friend also following him, I probably wouldn't have tried to connect with him. After some time, I decided to reply to one of his IG stories. This is something I have never done to a guy, I honestly don't know. But I liked his teeth, so I decided to give it a shot (laughs).

Jibre: After our mutual friend told Andrea who I was, we started following each other. We followed each other for about two weeks before we even said anything to each other. I lowkey had my eye on her, but it's all about timing. Since she reached out to me when I was already planning to reach out to her, I thought, Say less, let's do it (laughs). When we started following each other, I already noticed that she stayed in New York. But I work for an airline. So I was willing to fly out to see her, no problem. We talked for a couple weeks before we decided to finally meet in-person. We worked with each other's schedules and I flew out to see her.

"When we started following each other, I already noticed that she stayed in New York. But I work for an airline. So I was willing to fly out to see her, no problem. We talked for a couple weeks before we decided to finally meet in-person. We worked with each other's schedules and I flew out to see her."

Courtesy of Andrea Fernandes

First Impressions

Jibre: From talking those few weeks, I already knew that I liked her. But when I met her in-person, I immediately thought she was beautiful. We talked to each other for hours and just picked each other's brain. Her brain is definitely a reflection of her beauty.

Andrea: I thought he was very nice. Overall, he exceeded my expectations. I felt like time just flew by when we were together. We actually had dinner reservations that night, but ended up skipping it because we continued to just talk and get to know each other more. The chemistry between us was there from the start.

Courtship

Jibre: So after we met, I flew out a couple of more times to hang out with her. But after the second time we hung out, Andrea was honestly a little skeptical about moving forward with us. Initially, I was down for it. I was thinking about her all the time. I was calling her, texting her, and telling my friends about her. But she was trying to ghost me the whole time (laughs).

Andrea: I know I am in the hot seat now (laughs). But yes, I was definitely second-guessing myself. I felt that I was moving kind of fast with him and it honestly scared me. I was coming into the year where I was focusing on myself and self-love. So even though I did like him, I thought maybe I like him a little too much (laughs). So I tried to distance myself from him. My thinking behind it was, I would rather save myself now before I fall too deep and there's no turning back. But it wasn't until one day I was with my mom and she saw me ignoring his calls. She was the one who told me to answer and I listened (laughs).

Jibre: I didn't know that was how she felt. It really caught me by surprise because I thought things were going well. But thankfully, I was persistent.

Courtesy of Andrea Fernandes

Making Things Official

Andrea: So a month later, I invited him on a group trip with my friends. That was when I could picture myself being with him. The way he put in the effort to actually make it to the trip meant a lot. It was a little challenging, but he was dedicated to making it happen. My friends also loved him, so that was a plus (smiles).

Jibre: It was around the same time for me too. When we met, she mentioned that she mainly focuses on herself and self-love. So when I started seeing changes where she was including me in her life, it made me feel like she was choosing me to stick around. At first, I was thinking about making things official on Valentine's Day. But even though it didn't happen right then, the weekend with her friends was a huge weekend for the both of us.

The "L" Word

Jibre: We were having a lot of difficulties starting out. For one thing, I am a Gemini and she is a Taurus. And if you know about astrology, Tauruses can be some tough cookies. I was getting that stubborn side of her and we clashed a lot. Some people would agree that when you keep clashing, it's easier to walk away. But as time went on, any time I felt I wanted to walk away, I just couldn't. My heart would keep telling me to stay and make it work. It had been years since I had been in love. So I knew this had to be real love because I didn't want to be with anyone else.

Andrea: We did conflict quite a bit in the beginning. I always told him that we would clash over our differences and our similarities. It was tough. I am usually the person that can walk away from things easily, but I couldn't with him. So I knew it was different. My heart was truly in this and he was honestly everything I ever wanted. There's this song that says, "I would rather have bad times with you than good times with someone else." It's so true with him and I just love him.

"I am usually the person that can walk away from things easily, but I couldn't with him. So I knew it was different. My heart was truly in this and he was honestly everything I ever wanted. There's this song that says, 'I would rather have bad times with you than good times with someone else.' It's so true with him and I just love him."

Courtesy of Andrea Fernandes

Favorite Things

Andrea: My favorite thing about him is also the main thing I complain about the most (laughs). Jibre is kind of a neat freak. I jokingly make fun of him all the time for it. But his organization actually pushes me to be more organized in my life. So I don't think he knows how much of a positive influence that has been for me.

Jibre: My favorite thing about Andrea is that she genuinely wants me to be a better person. She is willing to tell me the things that other people won't tell me. Like the things that I don't want to hear, but I need to hear. I can really appreciate that because it just means she wants me to be the best version of myself.

Early Challenges

Andrea: I grew up an only child. So I was always focused on myself, even if I was in a relationship. When Jibre and I got together, I struggled a little with providing what he needed from me. I am a huge advocate for self-love. But I am learning now that I can balance loving myself and prioritizing him as well in my life. Jibre and I worked together on what I could do more of to show that I am still considering him, while I still work towards my personal goals.

Jibre: In conflict, I have noticed that when I get angry or emotional, I tend to just react and not think things through. I have learned that sometimes in a relationship, you have to look at yourself and give yourself grace. You have to know yourself enough to be honest and hold yourself accountable when you may be wrong. We have strengths and weaknesses. So learning what your weaknesses are and then working on them, is a good way that has helped us be better together as a couple.

"We have strengths and weaknesses. So learning what your weaknesses are and then working on them, is a good way that has helped us be better together as a couple."

Courtesy of Andrea Fernandes

Love Languages

Andrea: I still tell Jibre that I think he changed my love language. At first, when I took the test, all the areas were even (laughs). So I figured, I guess I need all of them (laughs). But when you truly love someone, you want to be loved in a different way by that person. So when I took the test again, it showed I value physical touch and words of affirmation more than the other areas.

Jibre: My number one is physical touch. Growing up, my mom was very affectionate with me. So that stuck with me as I got older and now I am a very affectionate person. My number two was quality time, but while being with Andrea, it has grown into acts of service. At the end of the day, we make sure we give each other the entire spectrum.

Love Lessons

Jibre: Man, love is so complex. But true love wins every time. Being in a relationship has definitely taught me that you have to be patient with your partner. It's important that we are still learning from each other and with that you have to have patience through each other's growth. God is also the center in everything we do. So keeping him as a foundation in our relationship is very important to us.

Andrea: Keeping our faith is definitely something we share. I think another thing that has been an important lesson is a sense of understanding who your partner is. To really get out of your head sometimes and put yourself in your partner's shoes. Like how something I do may make him feel and vice versa. People can be really set in their own ways. But if you make it a point to understand your partner's point of view on things, it is really essential.

For more of Andrea and Jibre, follow them on Instagram @drea.lisanna, @jibrehordges, and @jibreandrea.

Featured image courtesy of Andrea Fernandes

In a move that makes us so happy, the ever-so-stunning Ryan Destiny has been making her rounds lately, showing off her subtle but enamoring vibe in recent appearances with Vogue, HelloBeautiful, and even Doja Cat's new "Need to Know" music video. The former Star actress and singer also took a moment to join Harper Baazar for their 'Go to Bed With Me' segment, a video series where various celebs show off their nighttime skincare routines.

This appearance was our absolute fave because to see her demonstrating how to maintain her beautifully radiant skin is something we all want to know, right?! Right. So, sis...we gotchu just in time for summer!

Here a guide on how to achieve Ryan Destiny's poppin and oh so melanated skin:

What you'll need:

La Mer The Cleansing Oil ($95)

Black Opal Blemish Control Bar ($6.50)

Black Opal Lip Oil ($6.25)

CosMedix Clarity Serum ($42, or $35 with subscription)

Black Opal Brightening and Plumping Serum ($14.95)

​Harper’s Bazaar/YouTube

Rocking a blow-out for the gawds, after a cute intro, Ryan opens with this one simple, but loud, tip:

"Wash your hands. Wash your hands before you start anything."

She then proceeds to use the La Mer Cleansing oil and thoroughly massages the product all over her face and neck. Get in there good ladies, this step is important!

"Rub it all over my face, get down on my neck. And once I feel that it's all broken down, I am going to rinse."

Harper's Bazaar/YouTube

Next up, Ryan focuses on a problem area that many of us have: hyperpigmentation. To combat this, she uses the Black Opal Blemish Control Bar, a brand she has used since she was 16 years old. She is also the face of the brand, which is Black woman-owned.

"What's really really great for the hyperpigmentation that I sort of have a lot of right now, is the . It's like extra, extra important to me to take of all of the makeup before you go to bed. It just makes such a difference. It's the worst when you go to sleep with your makeup still on, and you just know it just sets you back like a whole week."

Harper's Bazaar/YouTube

Destiny then moves on to hydrating her lips with the Black Opal Lip Oil.

"I kinda sorta sorta kinda kinda have chapped lips. But not anymore becuase I did a lot of trial and error, and I found something that works for me. It works with my makeup as well. It nourishes and hydrates my lips, it's not there to just look pretty, you know."

Harper's Bazaar/YouTube

As a final step, she moves on to her serums for pigmented skin and dark spots. Here she uses the CosMedix Clarity Serum and Black Opal Brightening and Plumping Serum.

"This is also really great for prepping your makeup. I use this serum right before I start doing my makeup. It like, glides right on and helps my makeup look better and apply on my skin better."

We stan a simple but effective routine, sis!

Watch the full video below:

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Exclusive Interviews

Michelle Williams On Depression, Healing & Why It’s Important To Check In With Yourself

"Now, the only label I've got that matters is God's: God's creation. God's work. God's child."

Do you have a story to share?

Latest Posts