The Heartwarming Mantra That Gemma Chan Lives By

Plus, how she stays centered in uncertain times.

Gemma Chan will appear in the L'Oréal Women Of Worth 2021 special that highlights everyday heroes.
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If you’ve been struggling to find any positivity lately (and it’s been a pretty hectic year, so you’re not alone), Gemma Chan has the best advice on staying calm and centered during the chaos: Turn off the news — for a bit, at least.

“I think I realized that it's okay to take breaks from the news,” Chan tells me over Zoom. “I feel a responsibility to keep up with what's going on [but] I think it's also really important for one's own mental health to have those breaks, and to be protected and allow yourself to rest as well.”

The Eternals actor has balanced being an outspoken voice for many important causes — especially calling out anti-Asian hate and xenophobia — and taking care of her mental health by surrounding herself with things that soothe her soul: loved ones, food, and sleep. She defines beauty as being all about self-care and celebrating what makes everyone unique. (Though she does credit her mom for bestowing the best piece of beauty advice she’s ever received: don’t over-pluck your eyebrows). When she does tune into the news to stay updated, instead of harping on the negativity, she likes to take a cue from Mr. Rogers and “find the helpers.”

“I think is so simple, but in every situation, if you look, there are always people who are trying to do something big or small or somewhere in between to help,” she says.

Finding the helpers is exactly what she and beauty brand L'Oréal Paris are doing. For the second year, the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth special returns to NBC for an hour-long celebration to highlight 10 non-profit leaders making meaningful changes to combat xenophobia, homelessness, and other pressing issues the world is facing today. Chan, along with other L'Oréal Paris spokeswomen — Eva Longoria, Camila Cabello, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Katherine Langford, Andie MacDowell, and Aja Naomi King — sit down with the leaders in exclusive interviews to highlight their important philanthropic work for underrepresented communities and hope to inspire others to get involved.

“Rather than being helpless or feeling overwhelmed by helplessness, each of these women has taken the initiative and is doing something in a way to help others and to give back,” says Chan. “So I certainly am inspired by women like that.”

For her part in the special, Chan speaks with Soar Over Hate co-founder Michelle Tran. To help combat the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes and xenophobia in New York, which has risen 361 percent this year alone according to the New York Police Department, the organization equips Asian Americans with personal safety devices, need-based scholarships, and therapy. Chan praises Tran’s instinct to respond and take meaningful action to help the Asian community.

“I think people feel a lot less afraid when they realized that there [is] support,” Chan says. “There [are] people that cared and [can] give them some resources, access to bystander training and everything like that [and make them] not feel alone.”

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Chan also sits down with Briana Daniel, founder of Street Team Movement Inc, which provides those impacted by homelessness basic needs such as laundry and remedial aid. Daniel talks about her experience voluntarily living on the street and what she learned about the needs of those experiencing homelessness.

“Focusing on providing things like laundry [and] those kinds of remedial services that just aren't provided [but] are so intrinsically linked to our dignity as human beings — that's something that [Daniel] really spoke so eloquently about,” says Chan. “It absolutely makes sense. Just having people be able to feel clean [and] to have fresh clothes is so important.”

You can learn more about Tran, Daniel, and the other non-profit leaders when the special airs on Thursday, December 16, at 8 pm EST on NBC and by checking them out at It’s never too late to want to make a difference and no contribution is ever too small if you are able and inspired to help out.

“Even though things may seem pretty bad, there are things that people are doing all over the place [to help],” Chan says. “So many incredible women who are doing such amazing work to uplift their communities. We just need to look for them and uplift with them.”