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Kit Rich interviews her beloved Pilates client, actress Simone Missick. Read on as one of Hollywood’s biggest rising stars discusses her greatest female influencers, self-care, and advice to women who have lost inspiration.
Although I train Simone in Pilates now, we have a unique and cosmic beginning to our story. A beginning that is etched in my mind forever and will go down as one of my greatest and sweetest memories. Many people don’t know this about me, but I moonlight as a playwright. A few years ago I was in the process of casting for my play “See You, Maybe” and in walked Simone. She was absolutely captivating. She was strong, grounded, commanding, and stunningly beautiful. So much so, that about an hour after she had left the audition, I turned to my director and said, “I feel like she’s still here. That’s the lead of my play.” Simone brought to life a character that was first seeded deep in my heart and made it grow into something so much more powerful and magical than I could have ever envisioned. It’s no surprise that only two years later, Simone is now one of Hollywood’s biggest rising stars.
From my tiny little black box theater to starring as Misty Knight on the series Luke Cage—Simone is my superhero and a woman to admire.
You play Misty Knight on the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage. How does it feel to be portraying Marvel’s first African American female superhero on television?
It feels amazing to be the first! The first to give this character life and breath, and to represent a character who broke barriers during a time when superheroes were homogeneous. Representation matters, even in comic books. And I hope my portrayal not only opens up the Marvel universe to new fans, but also to new writers, animators, and dreamers who want to contribute to this form of art. I also hope it inspires little boys and girls from all over.
How are you a superhero in your everyday life?
I think all artists are superheroes. We observe humanity and figure out a way to understand it and share it with others to help the world gain insight and empathy for people or places that aren't their own. It's not always pretty, and sometimes people don't want to see what they choose to ignore. But the task of art is to open up people's minds, to create dialogue, to inspire and challenge. Look at the success of "Moonlight." That story made history by shining a light on poverty, LGBTQ issues, black masculinity, and family. It opened its viewers up to a world they otherwise may have never cared to understand, and it invited dialogue about inclusion and love. Whether it's the photographer or the writer, the composer or the actor, we are all reaching out to connect, to bring us all closer to one another. Especially during these times when we are all being made acutely aware of our differences—to go against this is heroic.
Who are your greatest female influencers? What did they teach you?
My mom is my greatest female influence. She always taught me independence and confidence in my gifts, and encouraged me to not give up on my dreams. She is also a student of life, always trying something new. Right now, she's in ballroom dancing, weight training, yoga, and Spanish class! She sews, refurbishes furniture, and stays active and healthy. If I can grow up to be half the woman she is, I will be happy.
How do take care of yourself? What kind of workouts do you do? What is your healthy eating regimen?
I have a tribe of people that I entrust with my health. Throughout my adult life, I've struggled with maintaining a healthy body, often suffering from low energy and poor self-care. Now, I'm learning how to keep myself well, but it's a process. I have a chiropractor, a nutritionist, and an amazing Pilates instructor (Kit!) who help me maintain balance when I'm in Los Angeles. I also have an amazing trainer/Muay Thai boxing instructor in New York, Dasha, who is teaching me fighting and self defense along with traditional weight training. I love to sweat! I try to get protein in throughout the day - egg whites and meat for breakfast, a protein shake after a workout, salad for lunch and protein and veggies for dinner. I eat nuts and avocados for healthy fat (although I'm in New York for the winter, so they aren't as available). But my weakness is potato chips and french fries! It's hard to avoid the salty snacks on set! So I will opt for veggies and hummus when I'm being strict.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
After a workout, I feel like I'm my most beautiful. I have the fortune of getting glammed up at work or for appearances, but when I'm sweaty, a little flushed, and I've pushed my body to its limit, I feel the most confident and pleased with myself. Also, whenever I'm with my husband. He always makes me feel beautiful.
Do you have a life motto? What is it?
Be the best you that you can be.
What advice would you give to women who have lost inspiration in their own lives?
Seek and you shall find. I'm a Christian, and my faith helps me to stay focused on the positive things in life. But, I'm human. We all lose inspiration from time to time. And when we realize it, take a moment to ask for help. Say a prayer. Phone a friend or a loved one. Share your heart with someone and ask them to believe with you for a change. And then get out and help someone else. One of my spiritual mentors always says the moment you open your arms to help someone, your arms are now open to receive something back. It doesn't mean do things expecting to get something in return. But when you look outside of your own circumstances and try to help someone else, you always end up blessed in return. And usually in ways you would never have imagined.