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.
I hate to break it to you, sis, but you've been living a lie.
All these years, you've been taught that big girls don't cry so you've done it in private. You learned that the key to success is to act out of logic, not emotion so you've suppressed them. But Novi Brown of Tyler Perry's Sistas wants you to know that pretending to be unbothered is not only sabotaging your mental health, but it's blocking your bag.
Until my impassioned conversation with the 33-year-old actress, I believed that I was the weak one in my family. As an empath with some serious boundary issues, I can admit that I have let my feelings control my life in the past; but according to Novi, that's not always such a bad thing. She shared, "Ignoring things is what we were taught to do as human beings. And it's the most toxic trait we have. We've learned hide, to not express, to not emote, when honestly, emotions are just giving you information on how to move next."
"Ignoring things is what we were taught to do as human beings. And it's the most toxic trait we have. We've learned hide, to not express, to not emote, when honestly, emotions are just giving you information on how to move next."
Novi, who interprets her emotions as messages from God, explained that this pattern of internalized self-sabotage is more than a fleeting feeling, issa generational curse that needs to be broken expeditiously. She continued, "It's such a complex conversation because we've been taught by the white oppressor, honey. We've been taught how to deal with our emotions by people who don't fuck with us. But us breaking these generational curses means we're moving on from surviving and now we're moving into thriving. So what does thriving really look like [for you]?"
When asked how she stays positive in moments of frustration, Novi simply explained that she doesn't. The actress expressed that as a creative professional who literally thrives on emotion, she holds nothing back when it comes to feeling her feelings. "Baby girl, if I wasn't upset, if I wasn't enraged, if I wasn't sad, then I wouldn't do what I'm doing. If I was not able to cry this morning, I wouldn't be able to go on Sistas and cry. I wouldn't be able to do that shit if I don't do it in my own life." She then asked, "Do you have everything you want? What's the return on investment for not expressing how you actually truly feel? Who are you helping by not being honest today?"
In our conversation, Novi and I talked more about emotional release, spiritual baths, and other self-care practices that keep her all the way in alignment and it wasn't long before our interview turned into a certified soul searching session.
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xoNecole: With the pandemic and global protests underway, how are you handling everything?
Novi Brown: I know a lot of people are feeling sad or whatever, but the black community should really feel fucking liberated. We don't have to hide anymore now. It's not cool to be racist. Now, you will not be rewarded for that. Don't you think God stopped everything just so we can get our shit together? Like, don't you? This is probably bigger than we could even imagine. And look at the conversations, Taylor, at 27, that you're having––that parents' parents' parents' parents died never having. I feel fucking free.
"I feel fucking free."
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.
I love waking up early and then walking my dog, Castor Troy, who is my everything. The reason why I got a dog was obviously a spiritual reason but now that I've grown up and I've seen that what I need is to be outside every day. I need to touch the ground. I need the sun to touch my skin. Being outside and connecting with nature is really, really helpful for me, And then I spend a lot of my time researching and studying astrology. For me, astrology is God's first official language. It's the language of symbols and energy and it's super powerful.
And then for most of the day, I'm studying astrology, I am doing interviews, I am doing auditions. I'm also developing TV shows and then I'm going on with my life, just trying to teach people about self-confidence––specifically black women––encouraging and pouring back into the black female community. So that's how my day looks.
What is your nighttime routine?
I'm a cannabis lover, so that's part of my nighttime routine, as well as having conversations, and doing research. I'm a student of life, so I'm always reading some kind of book. Now that you got me thinking about it, I don't have a nighttime routine. I might need to get one, shit. I'm working myself.
"I need to touch the ground. I need the sun to touch my skin. Being outside and connecting with nature is really, really helpful for me, And then I spend a lot of my time researching and studying astrology. For me, astrology is God's first official language. It's the language of symbols and energy and it's super powerful."
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
Organizing is really difficult. Like, I'm not writing down my schedule. A lot of people use their planner and all that other shit––I'm really bad at that. I just go day-to-day because I'm a Cancer rising. Some days are more hectic than others, some days aren't. This is essentially my first year in the business like hardcore and I'm trying to forgive myself and just allow myself to be who I am, which is just a person who just moves with vibes and things. I'm not a schedule-oriented person. And I feel like that's OK.
Do you practice any type of self-care? What does that look like for you?
I think the biggest part of my self-care routine is my spiritual work. For me, that is a foundation and a pinnacle, it's something that I can literally build something on top of. However, I love me a massage, now. I love getting my nails done. And I love getting my hair braided. I love sitting in the chair and having my hair braider do my hair. Or even if I want to do my own hairstyles, I love standing in the mirror for seven hours watching documentaries and braiding my hair. I find something really soothing about it and I can turn the whole world off and just really focus on watching what I want to watch and, and doing my hair and beautifying myself.
"So self-care is really me taking care of my body more and making sure that my body feels as good as my mind because of those things don't feel good––both of them––I can't be at full capacity."
I also do spiritual baths. February 2019, I did a spiritual bath for ultimate love and money. I met my man in April and I got a job in July. OK, look, ancestors don't play. They want us to win. We're just not doing what we need to do. We're doing it the human way. We're not doing it the spirit way. And that's why we feel like it takes so long. But if we're spirited, I'm telling you, your life will change very fast.
How do you find balance with:
I'm very lucky right now because my partner does the same thing that I do. We're in the same business and really understand each other. So I'll be gone for a few months, he'll be gone for a few months and that's our relationship and we respect each other. I really feel like the number one thing is respect in a relationship and understanding that person you're with has their own purpose that is contracted between them and God. It has nothing to do with you. So sometimes we have to get out of our own way when it comes to relationships. I'm just very, very, very, very, very blessed in my partnership to have somebody who's in my field who sees me as an individual who sees me as a person here to fulfill a purpose and he gets to enjoy my company. That's how he sees it.
"I really feel like the number one thing is respect in a relationship and understanding that person you're with has their own purpose that is contracted between them and God. It has nothing to do with you. So sometimes we have to get out of our own way when it comes to relationships. I'm just very, very, very, very, very blessed in my partnership to have somebody who's in my field who sees me as an individual who sees me as a person here to fulfill a purpose and he gets to enjoy my company. That's how he sees it."
I'm very blessed in my friendships. I've come to realize now, after my full first year [in the industry], my friends haven't changed at all. It's really just about getting a tribe who understands you and who understands your purpose will understand how you move in life and your methods. They mean everything to me. I want to see them succeed, but they are also very well aware that, OK, she's in this position now she has to make moves so that she can succeed. And then by default, they will succeed.
Honestly, I'm just glad I'm vegan. That helps me a lot by default. I makes sure I eat salad every day. But exercise, I mean, you just gotta be in the mood, shit. You just gotta be in the mood to want to work on your body. And lately, I have not been in the mood. For the last two years, I have not been in the mood to consistently work out. However, because I have a dog, I'm out every single day for hours. And sometimes in my life, I'm a little thicker and I got a FUPA and it's all good. And sometimes in life, I'm a little slimmer. So it's all good, man. It's all good. I'm not trying to stress myself. But I do say you have to move your body every day.
Do you find yourself cooking or eating out more?
When I first became vegan, I was cooking all the time, but I worked in restaurants for so long. I'm a bougie restaurant chick. Like I love being in a good, cute spot with food being delivered. I feel like people should just get paychecks to eat. I love to cook as well, but it is a lot of work. And it's not a passion of mine. It's just something I'm good at. I guess maybe I feel like I'm giving out so much all the time that the restaurant experience, I just feel like I'm receiving. So that's why I really enjoy going out.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful in the morning, right when I wake up because I'm new and fresh and I'm not painted. I'm not dated. And I feel like I'm mad cute in the morning. I feel like our skin looks really good. Like the skin is nice and the lips might be a little more juicy and puffed up. Your stomach is flatter cause you done digested stuff. So yeah, I love the mornings. All that other stuff is great, but that takes a lot of energy. I like who I am when I wake up.
"I feel the most beautiful in the morning, right when I wake up because I'm new and fresh and I'm not painted. I'm not dated... All that other stuff is great, but that takes a lot of energy. I like who I am when I wake up."
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I have to talk to my friends. I have to talk to somebody outside of my own mind so I could see things more clearly. I go through my emotions. I contact my friends. It's really important for me to get feedback from somebody else, to get another mind, because remember, again, that's God's child. And they might have a message for you that God is trying to tell you, but you're so busy trying not to tell anybody that you miss the message. I have people that I trust enough where I can tell them almost everything. And if I can't get anybody, because sometimes people are not available, I will go ahead and seek out a podcast. I will go ahead and seek out a YouTube video. I will seek out a story of an underdog just to remind you that people will sleep on you––that's just part of the game, but you have to be strong enough to talk yourself out of it like, 'OK girl, you ain't the only one.' This is part of the journey.
For more of Novi, follow her on Instagram @NoviBrown!
Featured image by Brandon Hicks via Instagram/@NoviBrown.