Bustle Huddle Podcast: 6 Things We Learned From Emily Arlook

by Esther Bell

New Year’s is the perfect time to hit refresh - new year, new me, right? It’s a time to practice self-care and rid yourself of last year’s negativity, be it dating struggles, friend struggles, or just general life struggles. That’s why for our first episode of 2019, we sat down with Emily Arlook (aka Nomi on Freeform’s Grown-ish) to talk all things self-discovery, self-care, and of course, what we can expect from Nomi on this season of Grown-ish.

In case you haven’t seen Grown-ish, let me tell you, it’s the perfect show for twentysomethings who might be riding the struggle bus through life. The show follows the girl squad of Zoey, Ana, Nomi, Sky, and Jazz through the ups and downs of college life, as they date, cope with stress, and find their identities in the “grown-up world”. In Season 2, there’s going to be more self-discovery from the squad, and from Nomi in particular, as she grapples with hiding her bisexuality from her family, and avoids emotional vulnerability at all costs.

Bustle Huddle got real with Arlook about making resolutions, being true to yourself, and what she’s learned from playing Nomi. Here are six things we love about Arlook’s attitude towards life, and make sure to listen to the whole podcast here.

*Quotes have been edited and/or condensed for clarity.

New Year’s Resolutions are a No

I’m sure many of you have made the seemingly perfect list of resolutions, only to give up halfway through January. We often have larger than life expectations of what the new year will help us achieve, and are promptly discouraged upon realizing we overestimated our abilities. Arlook opts to just skip the resolution in the first place, which might be a better way to start the new year.

“I’m not opposed to them, it’s just they never resonated with me,” Arlook tells Bustle. “I don’t know, I probably could use a little more New Year’s resolution in me...but it just never stuck with me.”

She’s a Homebody

More cancelled plans in 2019 is the new motto, and Arlook agrees. Preferring a relaxing night in over a wild night out is a major vibe for the new year - starting with New Year’s Eve.

“I hit New Year’s in REM state, I was sleeping,” Arlook says. “This is a very deep insight into who I am by the way. My sister came over and we watched half of the new Mary Poppins and then watched the Great British Baking Show for hours, and I was asleep by 11 p.m.”

She Always Makes Time For Self-Care

Everyone loves a self-care queen. Arlook sees self-care as an integral part of living life, and prioritizes taking care of herself. Whether that means going to yoga or enjoying some much-needed "me time" (Real Housewives marathon, anyone?), Arlook finds ways to practice self-care every single day.

“I don't really see [self-care] as a craze, I just see it as part of being a human,” Arlook says. “You have to take care of yourself. It's the same thing as the concept of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before someone else on an airplane. If you can't breathe, you can't help someone else breathe.”

Meditation is Life

Meditation is one of Arlook’s preferred methods of self-care, and it’s easy to see why. Meditation is one of the easiest and most effective self-care methods to incorporate into everyday life, and Arlook is here to debunk meditation myths.

“Breathe, seriously. Meditation is huge, huge, huge and if I take days off from it I really, really feel the ramifications,” Arlook says. “Even if it's literally two minutes, just sit and be quiet and close your eyes and breathe. I think part of the misconception about [meditation] is, ‘oh I don't have 10 minutes’ and the truth is you probably do, but if it feels like that just take one minute. Take three good breaths. It doesn't need to be this lofty thing with a cushion and this glamorous incense burning, just go sit and close your eyes for two minutes.”

FOMO? Don’t Know Her.

Arlook has definitely conquered self-care, and that means no FOMO. You have to care of yourself, and sometimes that means staying in with a face mask and a good book (or just crashing at 10 p.m.).

“I'm always just wanting to be home anyway, so I don't really envy...Let me put it this way. I don't ever really experience FOMO because I just like to be home,” Arlook says. “I'm never like, ‘I wish I was there.’ I’m like, so glad I’m home.”

Arlook May Think She Can Be Boring, But Her Role on 'Grown-ish' is Not

Despite being a majority of the LGBTQ+ community, bisexual people are vastly underrepresented (and often misrepresented) in the media. An important part of playing Nomi has been bringing representation to bisexuality, particularly young bisexual people who may be going through a lot of the same struggles at home or at school.

“To bring that kind of visibility to [bisexuality] was huge for me...it sends a message that your story is an important telling,” Arlook says. “It sends a very clear message if you don’t see yourself reflected in the stories that are told in film and in TV and in books ... and so I think that right now this movement of having more visibility of all different kinds of people, whether what you look like or what you feel like or what your sexual preferences are, that’s what everything’s about right now, as it should be. We're so complex and so complicated and so why would we expect our sexual preferences to be simple when nothing about us is simple. Like how weird would that be if like the one thing simple about us was who were attracted to?”