Issa Rae might be revving up for the much-anticipated return of her hit HBO series, Insecure, in the coming weeks. But sis isn't letting work stop her from slaying covers left and right this year. Her latest one? The cover story for SELF. In it, the star talks about current and future projects, being a workaholic, self-care, and enjoying newlywed life.
Issa's work life is absolutely insane. The 36-year-old entertainer has inked an exclusive five-year deal with HBO and WarnerMedia. So while we're in the mist of saying farewell to Insecure, sis has been booked and busy with the release of television projects like the unscripted show, Sweet Life: Los Angeles and the forthcoming Rap Sh*t for HBO Max. And that doesn't even touch the surface of her money moves with her record label, as a part-owner of a coffee shop and natural hair company, or her work with her own production company.
In addition to her professional wins, over the years, it has become increasingly important to Issa to make room in her life for the personal as well.
Earlier this summer, she took a pause from her hectic work schedule to make time to get married. Issa nearly broke the internet with her epic wedding photos of her big day in France where she married partner, Louis Diame. But sis said the pause didn't feel like a true one.
"France was something to look forward to, for sure, but I, again, really, really foolishly worked up until it, ended 'Insecure,' then was obviously editing it, and then went to go shoot another show for a couple weeks, then went to go scout in Miami, just did everything up until that event.
"Then I did festivities in France, and that was still...it wasn't vacation. It was still like you're planning an event. It was fun, it was blissful, and coming back was hard. Coming back knowing that I had to go to work again and I was only out there a week was pretty devastating."
2020 was a year of stillness for many of us; and Issa admitted that she lost some of the lessons she picked up about self-care in the wake of taking on more in her work life. While she likes feeling productive in the present, she can't deny how pleasurable leisure felt during that time.
"I got a lot of stuff done that I've been wanting to do. I do like being productive just for myself and feeling like I get things done for me that are on a deadline because I want to do [them], and I miss that."
She also described how that translates over to her personal life too, and had this to say about navigating friendships at this stage of her life:
"It's really disheartening to realize, 'Oh, we have to really, really make an effort to see one another.' I just reached out to my group chat of friends to be like, 'Can we at least have a standing brunch or dinner once a month?' and everybody was down, and then I was like, 'Oh, shit, I'm going to be out of town. I'm going to be gone.' That's so fucking whack."
And about that question so many newly married folks get almost as soon as they walk down the aisle, Issa says she's not pressed to start a family. To keep it a buck, she's not sure if she wants kids ever. Ultimately, as a Black woman in Hollywood, she feels like there's an expiration date on her time allowed on-screen and on the scene. She is enjoying being a newlywed and living her life on her own terms.
"I'm extremely happy. I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window. I've always felt that way, that women, Black women especially—unless you're Viola Davis or Angela Bassett—you have a window when people are going to want to continue to see you and see what you can do."
"Then there are so many limitations placed upon you, and that does keep me up. I want to do as much as I can while I still can. I know it's not the proper mentality to think that kids will slow you down, but I do feel that way."
Read Issa's full cover story withSELF here.
Featured image by Rich Fury/Getty Images
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports