While some people may equate Yvonne Orji with the type-A character of Molly that she plays on Issa Rae’s Insecure, the real Yvonne Orji isn’t as anal-retentive. In fact, the author of Bamboozled By Jesus is all about resting and prioritizing her health and wellness.
Yvonne Orji: Putting Our Health First as Black Women
“I’ve been working on resetting my mind, body, and soul so that I can be more present in the now,” she told Vogue.
The actress has made it her mission to ensure that black women prioritize their health, especially because they’re not only often guilty of putting everybody before themselves, but also because they face a heightened risk of certain cancers.
Black women and cancer
According to research, black women not only face a three-fold increased risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer, but they’re also 28% more likely to die than white women with the same diagnosis.
With these startling statistics, the Insecure actor partnered with pharmaceutical company Merck for their Uncovering TNBC initiative, which is aimed at raising awareness around triple-negative breast cancer.
With a master’s degree in public health, Orji is well aware of the increased risk that black women face, and she also knows first-hand how it feels to have a cancer experience,
“I had a breast cancer scare my senior year of high school. There was a lump, and I was the one who found it. My mom was a nurse for 27 years so we always had an awareness of [how to check]. So I knew the general gist of how to do that. One particular day something moved and as I’m touching it I’m like, ‘I don’t know, that feels different.’”
Education is key
Thankfully, the lump was benign and after having it surgically removed, Orji has made it her mission to continuously advocate for regular screenings and checkups, and that’s something she hopes the Uncovering TNBC initiative will help achieve,
“Through open and honest conversations, the series aims to help educate black women about their higher risk for developing TNBC than women of other racial/ethnic backgrounds and help to equip them to advocate for themselves in a biased system.”
In addition to educating them about their increased cancer risk, Orji also has a few ways in which Black women can put their health first.
1. Check up on your health
“I commit to my own check-ups and screenings so that others will be influenced to be proactive about their health and so we can all receive consistent and high-quality care, regardless of health insurance or demographics.”
Regular check-ups and screenings are very important, especially if you’re already at an increased risk for chronic disease. While you should monitor your body and be conscious of any changes, it’s critical that you also get into the habit of visiting the doctor and letting them do their own evaluation.
2. Rest and replenish
While Yvonne Orji has been an incredibly busy girl, what with the release of her new film and comedy special, that doesn’t mean that the Nigerian-born actress doesn’t rest.
“One of the things I’m saying goodbye to in 2021 is the hustle and grind. I want to grant myself time to rest and let abundance find its way to me.”
So how does the 37-year-old relax and unwind? The same way we all do – with a relaxing bath, “Baths have been really important in helping me wind down” she says, adding that she incorporates Epsom salt baths into her routine.
3. Ask for Help
Unfortunately for black women, asking for help can almost feel like admitting defeat, but that’s a notion that Orji is attempting to let go of.
“I’m learning to ask for help when I need it.” she says. Orji admits that she’s a recovering perfectionist, and she still needs to re
mind herself that it’s okay to delegate and lean on people she trusts. In doing so, she’ll have more time for herself and her self-care.
4. Grow and glow
There’s always room for growth, and that’s something that Orji truly believes in.
Not only does her morning routine consist of her listening to music and watching her vision board, but she also believes in the power of therapy, sharing that, “Therapy is also huge for me. I recognize the growth that I personally have felt this year, just being able to be like, Okay, we got to deal with some stuff.”
Want to know more?
Another celebrity that prioritizes putting her health first is Katy Perry, especially in the mornings. The I Kissed A Girl singer revealed that she always makes room for self-care in the mornings and there are definitely a few things we can learn from her.
MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Yvonne Orji/Instagram
Cho, B., Han, Y., Lian, M., Colditz, G. A., Weber, J. D., Ma, C., & Liu, Y. (2021). Evaluation of Racial/Ethnic Differences in Treatment and Mortality Among Women With Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. JAMA oncology, 7(7), 1016–1023. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.1254
McCarthy, A. M., Friebel-Klingner, T., Ehsan, S., He, W., et al. (2021). Relationship of established risk factors with breast cancer subtypes. Cancer medicine, 10(18), 6456–6467. https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.4158