Richa Moorjani On Her Love of Pilates, Going to Therapy, and Her Mom's Best Skin-Care Advice

In a lively online exchange with Shape, Richa Moorjani – famed for her role as Kamala in Netflix's hit series Never Have I Ever – reveals that she met her husband through a dating app. The friend who set up her profile did so on a whim during a road trip from the Bay Area (Moorjani's childhood home) to Los Angeles. Dressed casually in a white button-up shirt over athletic attire, Moorjani laughs, "When in doubt, just put on a white button-up." Playing Kamala, the older cousin to the show's main character, Moorjani often portrays the struggle of balancing personal desires with family and cultural expectations - a conflict she deeply identifies with. Describing the societal pressure to settle down, she shares, "I know what that pressure feels like and how suffocating it can be... you want to do good by your parents and your family and your community, but then you also want to feel happy and feel like you're carving out your own path." Beyond her love life, which eventually led her to meet her spouse, Moorjani leads an engaging lifestyle. She gives us a glimpse into her personal life when she's not being Kamala, sharing her preferred exercise routines, mental health practices, and her mother's invaluable skin-care advice.

Moving Through the Pain

Moorjani grew up as a dancer, a practice she calls her "foundation," adding, "I always say it's my first love, and [dancing] kind of introduced me to the world of performing and storytelling." However, chronic pain (the source of which has largely been a mystery to Moorjani) and the recent COVID-19 pandemic have kept the actress from dancing as much as she'd like to, she explains. So, over the past few years, she's looked for workouts that are low impact and can help her manage her pain.

Richa Moorjani on dealing with chronic pain

"Physical therapy and various therapeutic techniques have been crucial in my struggle with chronic pain," admits Richa Moorjani. "However, the real game changer has been Pilates." The actor is quick to acknowledge her digital instructor, Kara Duval, who she insists has made a significant impact on her health. Though yoga is another activity Moorjani enjoys, she expresses concerns about the distortion of this traditional Indian practice across the globe, alluding to its cultural appropriation, particularly in western nations. She sees a pressing need for more "brown representation" in advertising materials from yoga clothing brands. Further, Moorjani advocates for yoga studios creating opportunities for people of color to assume teaching roles. If a studio chooses to deviate from conventional yoga practices, such as incorporating hip-hop music, she advises differentiating it as a "yoga-inspired workout" rather than labeling it as yoga.

Normalizing Going to Therapy

Despite the recent improvements in Moorjani's severe chronic pain affecting several parts of her body, it remains a significant aspect of her existence. She acknowledges the importance of discussing it and remembers the outpouring of support she received when she initially revealed her struggle with chronic pain on Instagram. She recalls numerous people sending her direct messages with advice on how to alleviate her pain, which felt like a response to her plea for help. Moorjani identifies chronic pain as an "invisible disease," suggesting that its seriousness is often overlooked due to its unseen nature. This issue also afflicts those dealing with mental health problems. In the series Never Have I Ever, this topic is addressed as Devi, the protagonist, is depicted attending therapy sessions regularly. She further highlights that therapy is generally considered a taboo subject in many cultures and societies, more so within the South Asian culture. According to her, the casual depiction of a young Indian girl receiving therapy without any fuss or drama as part of her journey has been an impactful narrative.

Richa Moorjani on self care

Richa Moorjani openly admits that she attends therapy sessions herself. "It is critical to invest time and conscious effort into prioritizing mental health care," she articulates. As such, Moorjani dedicates an hour every morning for her wellness routine which includes stretching, meditation, physical exercise, and journaling. On her days off, rather than going out for cocktails with friends, Moorjani opts for more wholesome activities like working out or hiking with her loved ones. "I aim to utilize my leisure time effectively instead of merely lounging around and watching TV — though I do indulge in it occasionally," she concedes.

Listening to Timeless Beauty Advice

Moorjani places great emphasis on her skincare routine, just as she does her mental well-being. Her nightly ritual always includes washing her face before bed, a habit instilled in her by her mother who greatly values skin health. She confesses, "I don't recall the last time I hit the sack without proper facial cleansing, especially when wearing makeup." Being a vegan, she is very selective about the products she uses, making sure they are all cruelty-free, clean and vegan, abiding by her mother's advice. Currently, she favors Biossance's squalane and vitamin C rose oil, the renowned face mist from Caudalie, and True Botanicals' ginger turmeric cleansing balm. In addition, she highly recommends Osea's range of products, particularly their body oil.

Richa Moorjani on skin care

Despite not requiring high maintenance for her hair, Moorjani confesses to being blessed with naturally good hair, a statement she delivers with a chuckle. Oil application is a cultural practice she maintains, attributing it to benefitting her hair health. "Hair oiling is traditionally passed down through generations," she elaborates. She applies oil either the night before or the morning of her hair wash, which she does only every four or five days. "This practice prevents hair from drying out," she mentions.

Moorjani might not be familiar with the term 'hair slugging,' a trend popularized by TikTok users who are now discovering the advantages of oiling their hair, yet she acknowledges the increasing trend towards using hair oil. "If it serves your hair right, you should go for it," she asserts. She emphasizes the acknowledgment and appreciation of these traditions and rituals as they derive from specific cultural origins. Whether it be yoga or turmeric, recognizing their source and paying homage to it is significant to her.

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