Courtesy of Arielle Simone

'Holistic Mami' Arielle Simone On How To Romanticize Your Life


Arielle Simone, also known across social media as the Holistic Mami,” has gained an audience online for talking about wellness and her holistic approach to health.

Whether she’s advocating for hot yoga or telling people to take their gut health seriously, Simone is always giving us the tea on how to get physically and spiritually aligned. xoNecole spoke with Simone about how to romanticize your life and start your wellness journey as a Holistic Mami too.

xoNecole: Have you always been into wellness and if not what made you want to get into it?

Arielle Simone: I was not always into wellness, but I was always into moving my body. I used to eat whatever whenever. I noticed that my skin was really bad. My balance was really bad. I was consistently bloated and constipated. I was a model originally. I used to model and I was very dehydrated, not taking care of myself. Now my skin is really clear. I take care of my diet. Things have definitely started to get better.

xoNecole: What does an average day look like for you?

AS: I wake up at six A.M. and I pray, journal, meditate, stretch – in that very order. And I read a lot. My morning routine is two hours, I’m gonna be honest it’s a solid two hours. Then I cook or I go to the gym. I get on the computer and do some work. I write some wellness content. I spend time with my snake.

Some days, I don’t eat super super nutritious, but I think it’s important to find a balance between what feels good and what is good.

Arielle Simone

Courtesy of Arielle Simone

xoNecole: In your Vogue interview you spoke about romanticizing your life. What does that look like for you?

AS: I find the luxuries in everything, and I mean everything. Finding the luxury of having time in the morning. The sun started piercing through the window and hitting your skin. Finding the luxury in having more time to journal. Having an able working body that you can massage yourself, wash yourself, brush your teeth. I try to find the luxury in every little thing.

I do want to add that the five love languages, it's important to practice that on yourself. That's a good way that I have been romanticizing my life. So I really like gifts and I really like physical touch. So I'd love to massage myself. I love to touch on myself. I be looking at my little scars and my cuts like, “you gonna be alright; you gonna be fine.” It’s things like that that I find to be very romantic.

xoNecole: You are intentional about directing much of your advice towards Black women, can you talk a bit about that?

AS: Black women are the highest demographic in high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and heart attacks. And that’s alarming. And I feel like because we go through so much on a day-to-day basis, it's hard for us to understand and listen to our bodies. It’s hard when you’re taking care of the family, when we are dealing with work and just dealing with people on a day to day basis, it's hard to check in and see: “Hey, do I have energy? Have you stretched? Maybe I need to spend time in nature. Maybe I need to call my friends.”

Everything feeds us–from the conversations that we have to the music that we listen to, the podcast we get into. Everything we engage in is a part of our diet.

xoNecole: What are the unique barriers you think Black women face when trying to engage in wellness that you see?

AS: Not knowing where to start or not having the resources or not being around a healthy bodega or a healthy food store or not being able to afford to invest into wellness. But I think for sure just not knowing where to start and not seeing people like us talk about [wellness].

xoNecole: What are the ways in which Black women can start their wellness journeys?

AS: I think it’s really important to start off with a morning routine. I’m a big believer in how you start your day is how you start your life. And if we wake up scrambled or we pick up the phone immediately and we’re looking at everybody else’s business before we can even see, like, do my legs work? Can I get up?

So if you have no idea how to start with wellness, I would absolutely start with how you start your day. Waking up a little earlier. Finding out what you need and breaking it down into three small categories like mind, body, soul. What does my mind need right now to be stimulated? Should I be reading or should I be meditating? What does my body need? Do I need to stretch? Do I need some fresh air? Do I need a warm cup of tea? Do I need silence? Should I go on a hike? You can just start the day catering to yourself.

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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