There’s never been a better time to check in on our friends, Pretty Birds. Life in the time of COVID-19 is full of uncertainty and stress, but no matter how we’re coping, we can all agree it’s a time to be grateful for the people in our lives who show up for us. Checking in With Friends is dedicated to touching base with our fabulous friends all over the world. Today, we chat with Nneya Richards!
Checking in With Friends: Nneya Richards
Nneya Richards is a digital creative, consultant, stylist, and blogger. She started in the industry at 16 as a founding contributor of TeenVOGUE. You’ve definitely seen her work as a stylist here on All The Pretty Birds editorials from the picture-perfect Palazzo Avino on the Amalfi Coast to the beautiful vineyards in Tuscany. Catch up with us as she answers some questions while staying fabulous as ever inside her apartment in New York City.
All The Pretty Birds: How are you? How are your loved ones?
Nneya Richards: I’m good! We’re doing the best we can. We’re a very social family — processing this has been strange, and stressful. But we have our health and roofs over our heads and that’s the most I can ask for right now.
ATPB: Where are you currently staying?
NR: At my apartment in Brooklyn. I came back to New York for a speaking engagement early March and ended up having to stay.
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We’re going so digital I’m becoming an emoji 💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾 #stayhome ❤️ No more “saving outfits!” I wore this dress by @threefloor to a private Zoom concert today. I was also proud to wear it as Three Floor has supported @glam4good with in-kind donations. Currently, a lot of the people we support don’t need dresses like these but you know what IS needed? – face wash – body wash – chapstick – deodorant (@schmidtsnaturals ?) – razors – shaving cream – hand cream (@kiehls ?) – shampoo / conditioner – tampons (@lola ?) I’m @ing brands that have reached out to me in the past — this is way bigger than me and a new scent launch now guys — but if you have any suggestions for our personal care essential kits for healthcare workers (many not going home) please let me know! ❤️❤️❤️ #giveback #glam4good #iorestoacasa #frontlineworkers
ATPB: Are you in lockdown/isolation? Describe your new circumstances.
NR: Yes, more or less in New York. Practicing social distancing, so I’m in my apartment. Going out about once a week for groceries/ the occasional pharmacy run. They are limiting the amount of people in grocery stores near me which is great. Honestly, I really appreciate that time outside in the line!
ATPB: How is it affecting your work and personal life?
NR: Work has slowed down as a freelancer. In the US there is supposed to be aid for that that was just approved by the current administration but New York States’ Department of Labor’s system to distribute it is horribly flawed, site crashes telling you to use Netscape, a phone number to call that’s perpetually busy. People that have been out of work since early March calling more than 2,000 times and still not getting through.
As for my personal life, it’s an extensive time away from my partner, I’m in NY and he’s in Italy. We miss each other terribly but are making it work. I’ve traveled for a month before. The hardest part now is when I’ll be back in Italy, even after this passes, the idea of a 9 hour plane ride is far from appealing. My personal life is travel as well as my work and there is going to be a great deal of reimagining how I do it.
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I’ve gotten so much thoughtful outreach about where I am amidst this #Coronavirus pandemic — US or Italy, gratitude that I’m back stateside and concerned messages about both @scaglione_michele and his fam and if I am ok being away from him in a crisis. I really appreciate this community. ❤️ Michele has gotten it as well but apparently he tells people to mind their business (jk, I hope!) 🤷🏾♀️ So video chatting is pretty normal for us and we’re welcoming you in our world, answering a few questions and giving you a glimpse of our relationship during the pandemic. After having a few people in long distance relationships reaching out asking and navigating the new normal of dating via matchmaking we thought we’d make a video on how we’re doing it and supporting each other. And Michele gives the fellas some #relationshipadvice. REMEMBER – #Socialdistancing doesn’t have to turn into self-isolation. Give it a view and let us know what you think and if you have more questions! (We also have a longer video up on my blog where we answer a few more questions and get into politics, the labor force in Italy etc) I’ve also left Easter eggs for my lit nerds (obvi with the title), my bravoholics (beginning) and my 90s hip hop fans (towards the end) . . . #relationshipvideos #coupleqanda #bergamo #brooklyn #longdistancerelationship
ATPB: What have you learned about yourself during this time?
NR: That I can knotless box braid my own hair! Haha, but really, this is a hard one. I’m still in the midst of processing a lot of this so I haven’t dramatically changed to tell you the truth. Philanthropy and giving back was always a major part of my life with Glam4Good as was speaking on behalf of women and people often disenfranchised. Due to the nature of my work, I’ve always been pretty aware of the world as a community and while very social, I have always spent a great deal of time alone and have been pretty introspective. I’m constantly in a state of learning about myself and I’ve faced adversity before. I also check in with myself and sit still alone a lot more so in recent years so I’m not suddenly in my apartment with a stranger haha! I have always thought that my lifestyle can’t be go go go forever, but that was solely considering myself. I never imagined society being truly knocked on its bum like this.
ATPB: Can you tell us about a daily ritual that has been keeping you sane?
NR: Meditating! I lead a 21 Days of Abundance on IG Live every day and it’s a great way for me to show up and be present in the meditation not just for me but for those I meditate with. Also, skin care. I’ve always been big on skin care and I have a LOT of products split between New York and Italy, my apartment, my family’s house so I kind of mix up my regimen. Now, I’m on a pretty strict regimen to shrink the appearance of my pores and I’m testing one product in particular to see if it does indeed work in 4 weeks of consistent use like they claim. It’s the small things.
And reading during my lunchtime. It’s a luxury but I love to read by daylight vs. lamp before I go to bed. I’ve been writing more and voraciously consuming books. Actually on a grocery run this week, I have to go “check out” a few titles from my mom’s library.
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Hi! Welcome to Day 6 of our #DeepakChopra 21 Day meditation challenge. While watching @nygovcuomo 's press conference today on the state of affairs in NYC w/ Covid-19 he announced and amazing partnership with @headspace #ANewYorkStateofMind offering NYC a special collection of #meditation, sleep & movement exercises. I used Headspace a few years ago and I would highly recommend it. www.headspace.com/ny – check it out and let me know what you think! It's really wonderful for a high up elected official to recognize the value of meditation and #mindfulness…. Now if only he could get UI together… Meanwhile if you're on this #Abundance meditation with me, we're on Day 6 reflecting on how to reframe challenges into opportunities and losses into lessons. Thinking as positively as this comes with PRACTICE. We've all had to pivot right now, get down to the root of our skills and how they translate into a changing market and workplace. Have any of you had any recent successes with this? It could be as simple as finally having to time to strategize where you see your career going — the hamster wheel is slowing down for you to evaluate. Cover photo is in #ChiangRai, #Thailand #mondaymantra #meditateonit #stayhome #peaceofmind
ATPB: What’s something you hope to take from this experience?
NR: The feeling of the general collective and connectedness. We definitely live in a “look at me” time. Especially with social media, but there is a rise in awareness of, “ok, what is looking at me doing for you? Doing for the collective, or are world as a whole?” Whether it’s a change in how we consume fashion and the kinds of brands we choose to support. The message of the influencers we choose to follow. The celebrities and DJs giving us free concerts to just get us moving and make us feel good.
ATPB: What are some things you’re grateful for?
NR: The health of my family. We have had so much loss as a collective. My heart breaks for everyone that has had to lay family members to rest right now. My family’s safe, my partner’s family safe. My loved ones are good. So I’m good. I’m grateful that I have a safe place to shelter in place. My access to fresh food, fruits, and vegetables. I think the disparities in the country have never been more glaringly obvious than it is right now. I’m not tone deaf, I’m not living like Ellen and saying it feels like jail but I do recognize I’m in a privileged position and I am grateful.
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🗣 LIVE ANNOUNCEMENT Currently reading… @andibartz ‘s The Herd Logline: An exclusive New York women’s workspace is rocked by the mysterious disappearance of its enigmatic founder, leaving two sisters to uncover the haunting truth. 😱🕵🏼♀️ I am LOVING it. Think a satire of the wing with a thriller at the center. As a Women & Gender Studies major @amherstcollege, one of the classes I designed was called #ChicLit where we studied fun, feminist literature that was often discounted in the women’s category. The Herd, and Andrea Bartz’ first novel, The Lost Night, would have definitely been on our list. With the on-slaught of takedowns of #GirlBoss culture and corporate #feminism recently, this is proving to be a delightful read from a cool ass woman I met in #Zihuatanejo, #Mexico. 🥂 We’re both back in #NYC now and will be going LIVE tomorrow (Thursday 4/9) at 8pm EST to discuss The Herd, have some cocktails and answer some questions! So let me know if you have any questions 👇🏾 for this awesome author, tag someone you think would enjoy watching this and #StayHome and read! . . . #nysbookclub #womensstudies #genderstudies #quarantinereading #bookstagrams #whatsonmykindle #writersclub
ATPB: Is there an album or playlist that you’ve been feeling lately?
NR: 80s and 90s dancehall. It reminds me of family parties as a kid. Shabba, Beanie Man, Chaka Demus, etc. Haha maybe I’m reverting to the most carefree time of my life.
ATPB: Do you have a poem, quote, article, and/or image that you’d like to share to inspire others?
NR: It’s ok not to be Quarantine Queen (or King). Do you! There have been a lot of quotes going around like “if you’re not taking this moment to level up…” you’re essentially doing something wrong. It’s ok to wallow, mourn, be at a loss and worry about putting food on the table. It’s ok to still want to order and not try recipes that you see influencers and celebrities make. Or do an IG Live work out every day. Take time for your mental health right now.