Interview with Actress Samira Wiley for the Tribeca Festival Premiere of “The Gratitude Project!”

"The Gratitude Project" Panel Discussion. Photo By Dijana Mesin

One-A-Day created an inspirational and empowering documentary, exploring gratitude for our bodies! With summer right around the corner, I believe this Tribeca Film Festival Premiere was affirmative in celebrating our bodies with joy, love, and peace, in all it’s natural shapes and forms!

“The Gratitude Project” is a documentary that was Co-Produced by Emmy Award Winning Actress, Samira Wiley, in partnership with One A Day. The documentary follows several participates in varying genders, ages, health states, ethnicities, and locations, on their personal health journeys. “Health” itself takes on different forms in this film, both physically, emotionally and spiritually, and is inclusive of one battling a tumor operation, one searching for autonomy with a “van life,” and one healing from the loss of her husband. Actress Samira Wiley herself participated in the documentary, and opened up about her struggles with diabetes, which she afterwards explains, with full transparency at the panel discussion, was a scary thing for her, being that this documentary was the first time she spoke and acknowledged it publicly. “The Gratitude Project” focuses on the importance of appreciating, and accepting our body the way it is and “little things” in life that aren’t so little after all. The documentary universally expresses the very individualistic, not “one size fits all,” way of becoming comfortable in our own skin, owning it, and saying “thank you” to our bodies for keeping us alive and strong! As a perfect parting gift, all the attendees walked away with a “Gratitude Project” tote bag, One-A-Day Multivitamins, and the very event-fitting, “Five Minute Journal,” which I personally started using the very next day!

 

Actress Samira Wiley. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

Actress Samira Wiley and Reporter Nova M Bajamonti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nova: First, I want to congratulate you on this project! I’d love to start off by saying I’m a huge believer of practicing gratitude and enjoying the “little things.” What are some “little things” that you find make life worthwhile? Those “little moments…”

Samira: I mean, we could go like so many different sizes right? We can literally go to like, “I got up out of bed today” and like I know someone who didn’t…like…literally know someone who didn’t. And “I was able to make myself breakfast,” you know, really, really, really, small things. And it’s hard to do that…I think it’s kind of harder to do that then like…cause big things really show themselves right? Like someone gets cancer, and survives that…it’s really easy to see that, but much harder, I think to…or much easier to miss some of the little things.

 

“The Gratitude Project” Panel Discussion. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

Nova: They mentioned during the panel that self-care routines aren’t really something of a luxury. It’s more of a must. What is your self-care routine or “managing-it-all” routine?

Samira: You know I think I still really am still figuring that out, and like, I’m trying I feel like different cocktails like every few months and there’s some things that definitely stick. I find that I’m a person that loves to be in my body so, if that’s running or…not really yoga…that’s a lot…but even like pilates and those things. I love to do those things to take care of my body, but also things to take care of another part of my body, which is my mind – making sure I’m reading things, and you expanding…you know, not just on your phone playing games all the time, which is probably a thing I used to do.

Nova: And now you’re more mindful of it?

Samira: Definitely, definitely! And I think that being a mother…I’m so much more aware all the time that there’s someone who’s looking at me and someone who’s entire life depends on what I do with my life. It’s humbling and its changed priorities.

 

The “Gratitude Wall.” Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

Nova: Going from taking the acting position, to now co-producing, what was the greatest challenge and greatest surprise in that process?

Samira: I think the greatest surprise was how much I enjoyed it! I think I have like some maybe preconceived notions of like “co-producer, what is that? I can’t do that. I don’t know what that is!” It’s saying yes to something, which is in another way, saying yes to that, and saying yes to the whole project, was a scary thing that turned out to be so wonderful, that I would not have been able to experience if I didn’t. So, I think that was the most surprising thing. And all of the challenging things…I just had such a great team behind me the whole time, that if ever…there was just always someone to fill in the gaps, always someone to explain to me something that I didn’t know. There was never any judgement there. It just felt sort of instantly, like a caring family, which was also a surprise.

 

“The Gratitude Project” Pre-Screening. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

Nova: Amazing! And my last question, for somebody who is maybe just starting their self care journey, and maybe doesn’t know that baby steps to take…what would you maybe recommend for them as a way to start? You mentioned taking breaths during the panel, is there something else?

Samira: Yeah! I honestly think that practicing gratitude for your body is kind of the next step for someone that knows nothing. Starting with a journal, starting with, in the very first thing in the morning, like, “what am I grateful for today?” And honestly like, I know a lot of people may think there’s nothing, but I think when you take that moment, those even just 30 seconds to think about something… that’s it! That’s exactly it! That’s the beginning of it, and that seems hard I think, but once people do it, it’s not hard and it actually can become enjoyable.

 

“The Gratitude Project” Pre-screening. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

“The Gratitude Project” Pre-screening. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

“The Gratitude Project” Screening. Photo By Nova M Bajamonti

 

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