I like to learn passively, and documentaries are a perfect vehicle for that. “Varsity Blues” is fantastic. The lack of impulse control to photoshop your picture as a coxswain for crew is beyond comprehension. It’s like “Real Housewives” where it’s stranger than fiction you could ever imagine. And they affect me viscerally! After watching the James Baldwin and Toni Morrison documentaries, I go to my computer and start writing furiously because it’s like, “These are great American authors, OMG, I want to be just like them.”
5. Blood Orange San Pellegrino
I ordered San Pellegrino at the beginning of the pandemic thinking it was seltzer, but I was surprised — and delighted — to learn it was actually juice. I had to cut myself off at one point, though, because I was drinking a lot of these. My friend was like, “You know there’s sugar in that, right?” I was like, “Oh no, it’s just juice, it’s cool,” and then I checked the can and there was sugar. But it’s so delicious. I have one San Pellegrino blood orange left in my fridge — if it’s just a really bad day, I get to drink that.
I think every woman hits a certain age and you’ve got to buy a couple of candles. Frères Branchiaux ones, which are made by three young brothers of color who also do sprays for your linens, are really nice, and the profits go to homeless shelters. There’s a candle for every occasion — lavender for the winter, citrus for the summer, or a smoggy oak wood for fall. I have three on my coffee table, multiple in my room and a drawer full of them.
I would argue my entire personality is based on this film, which was written and directed by Amy Heckerling and should have been nominated for an Oscar. It’s one of the best American satires of the 21st century. I’m so influenced by the schoolgirl outfits, the matching plaid sets, the mixing patterns and textures, the box braids. The fur cuffs — I love a fur cuff. Mona May was the costume designer for “Clueless,” and she was so forward-thinking setting trends for this definitive ’90s girl style.
8. Box Braids
When I was a kid, my mom made me get box braids, and I’d be like, “Oh, God” — what kid wants to sit for eight hours to get their hair braided? And then I saw Dionne, a character in “Clueless” who had box braids, and I was like, “OK wow, this wasn’t just my parents forcing their culture on me.” It really helped me come into myself. The nice thing about box braids is once you’ve sat down for eight hours to do them, you’re free. It’s like “I never have to brush my hair for eight weeks,” you just get to whip your hair back and forth like Willow Smith. I started wearing box braids again the past two years and every summer, I’m like, “It’s box braid season.” I get 34 inches and I’m walking around like I’m Nicki Minaj knocking things over with my braids like a whip.
9. Fuzzy Rugs
I love to sit on the floor. Maybe it’s this infantile thing with fuzzy hats and fuzzy rugs, but I am moved by textures. On my set for my new show, I have a chair upholstered with a fuzzy rug that I do all my interviews out of. And at home, I have a white fuzzy rug. I haven’t been to a beach in years so I have to replace the idea of sand with a rug. It’s just how it feels on your toes.
10. “Oceans” By Jay-Z Ft. Frank Ocean
I’m a huge fan of Jay-Z as a rapper and Frank Ocean’s musicality, so the song is a really good marriage of two things I love. The melody is really, really calming, but then it has lines like “Only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace/I don’t even like Washingtons in my pocket.” It’s just really audacious and bold and counterculture.