For Berlin-born Novi Brown, there’s nothing like a tin of Nivea from her home country to fix what ails her—with a not-so-small passion project of perfecting her still-in-progress love for all things astrology on the side. “I’m still new to the game and I’m still earning my stripes, but I’m ready to get serious,” says the star of Tyler Perry’s hit BET series, Sistas, who recently chatted with us to talk all things beauty, including her genius beauty hack that involves a twist on the standard blotting paper.
Why this series?
As an actor, it’s really important to do things that challenge you. For me, personally, I love when projects are more niche and I love taking on projects that don’t have a lot of conversation around them. Especially for the melanated young queen in the world—there’s not a lot of conversation and dialogue around her dating life and her love life. I was super excited to join the ranks of Living Single and Girlfriends and do amazing staple shows that didn’t have this conversation of what dating, specifically, is like. At the end of the day, dating is such a relatable topic. I was happy to get on board. Working with Tyler Perry is a challenge because we film so quickly—but that’s one of the greatest things about working there. It’s basically the acting Olympics.
It’s a very female-driven cast. Do you have any secrets from the set?
Brigid, who does my makeup, gets me going on to all the great skin-care stuff. Last season, she gave me a skin-care line called Urban Skin Rx that I have not stopped using since. I couldn’t even tell you how much I have. And I love Tatcha—their products keep me glowing all year.
You were born in Germany and you’ve spent a lot of time there; any German-based beauty brands you like?
I love Garnier and they have a lot of vegan skin-care products over there—I find all that in what is basically the equivalent of a CVS in Germany, that I can’t always find here [in Los Angeles]. I’m a big fan of the Micellar waters. Sometimes, when my skin is really, really, really, really dry, I’ll do the Nivea, which has been from there for years! Just some old-school Nivea on the skin works wonders when it’s cold outside. The entire brand definitely has some really good products and, I am not going to lie, it’s way cheaper over in Germany.
You’ve been known to skip the glam squad for events—any good tricks you’ve learned along the way?
Yes! You can use the toilet seat cover for blotting paper! Anytime when you sweat—and I sweat a lot—girls, boys, go into the bathroom and get that big blotting paper. Go ahead, blot yourself down with toilet seat cover. It works.
What have you been doing for yourself wellness-wise during this time?
I’ve definitely been working out more. I feel like that’s been giving me focus and helping me be more disciplined with my health. That’s the number-one thing: I know many, many, many people aren’t thinking about their health right now, and it’s obviously so important. I’ve not been wearing as much makeup, so my skin is allowed to breathe more, and I’ve been doing a lot of protective styles, so my hair is growing out more. I’ve also made an effort to invest in getting more massages. I actually went to massage therapy school when I was younger and, then, I was a waitress for 13 years, so I had done a lot of damage to my body. I finally said, ‘You know what? I’m going to take this next one to two years and I’m really going to make sure that I’m not just working out, but I’m doing the recuperation process—the long baths, the acupuncture, the chiropractor, whatever I need to do.’
I heard you’re very into astrology. How do you go about it?
You just made me realize I only talk to strangers about it! I would say this, my audience is mainly people who want to know about it—if you are into astrology, I will talk to you about it. It [astrology] was really helpful for me in my own spiritual journey. There’s a lot of times where you’re wondering, ‘Damn, am I not doing it right? What am I getting wrong?’ You know what I’m saying? Everybody’s been there. Everybody has their own way of trying to figure out what is the right way for them. I’m not from LA. I’ve been living out here now for seven years now, but I had to really spend time alone and to get to know myself and also to get to know my talents and what I’m capable of—it’s not just acting as I found out. I’m actually good behind the camera, I’m a great writer and I have some other ways that I can really stretch myself. I found more self-esteem and more self-worth doing that. I think I’m more of a valuable artist now because I do like to dive into other parts of myself. It was very hard because you get scared at first, but I think that moment of perceived delay when you’re on your way to your overall dream is just a moment of stretching and expanding.