Supermodel Liya Kebede has been self-isolating in France for the last two months, while running her ethical fashion line Lemlem remotely. Like most people, she’s been spending a lot of time on video and phone calls, but has enjoyed slowing down. She’s even ditched her morning alarm clock, waking up naturally instead. The transition wasn’t seamless though. “To be honest, for the first few weeks, it was very difficult seeing everyone on social media giving us tips on how to isolate efficiently and creatively, while I was still kind of aimlessly walking around lost as to how to best adjust to this new normal,” she said. Here’s how she’s found her groove since:
Making time for long, sincere calls: At the beginning, one of the things that occupied a lot of my time was making FaceTime and Zoom calls to my Lemlem team and my family members. Given that we are all isolated in different cities and countries (I am in France, my mother is in Ethiopia, and my brothers are scattered across the U.S.), I am so grateful that we have this mode of video communication available to us. We all went into lockdown at different times, so we would swap stories literally for hours. Never in my life have I talked as much on the phone as I have in these past two months. Something about calling loved ones has changed during this time. We’ve slowed down a lot, taking more time to have deeper conversations with genuine concern about how everyone is doing. Calls have stopped being just for quick messages and sound bites.
Watching cartoons: As much as I tried to have a daily routine of meditation and yoga, after the first few weeks I couldn’t keep it up. So I started watching cartoons in bed in the morning. I have always loved all the Japanese anime. I started watching and then rewatching Hayao Miyazaki cartoons like Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. It has made me feel like I’m a little girl again. I love how wild his imagination is, and how gentle all his messages are, too. Especially on days that are rainy or cloudy, it brings a sliver of sunshine into my room.
Reading a lot, and in the bathtub: I read two or three books at the same time. I know it’s weird, but I will read a graphic novel, and a beautiful literature piece, and something like Homo Deus all together. I can keep them all separate in my mind since they are different genres. I have discovered that the best place to read is in the bath. I have swapped out quick showers for long, hot baths with my Kindle at my side. Sometimes I play very low music on Spotify in the background, and I pick up my book and get lost in it for hours.