Teyonah Parris

Teyonah Parris's Wellness Routines for Film and Television Roles


Dec. 8 2023, Published 7:29 p.m. ET

As an actor, Teyonah Parris has proven capable of going toe to toe with any actor and still stealing the spotlight in any scene. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she has been cast in many roles in TV and films, playing the roles of unapologetically truthful.

She is renowned as the first recurring black actor in the hit TV show Mad Men. For her breakout role, she played the role of Dawn, the lead character, Don Draper's secretary, exploring and challenging the intricacies of white supremacy.

She has gone on to cement her place as a star with roles such as Colandrea "Coco" Conners in Dear White People. The independent film is a story of a determined college student exploring and defining her blackness in her unique way within an Ivy League college – a predominantly white space.

Other notable shows she has acting credits in include Empire, Chi-Raq, If Beale Street Could Talk, Survivor's Remorse, and WandaVision.

So, it begs the question, what are the wellness routines for film and television roles?

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It Began With a Strong Educational Background

To prepare for any role, Parris draws from her strong background and training in acting. She has studied at some of the best acting schools around. For her final year in high school, she attended the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, where she honed her natural acting skills.

Speaking with KinFolk, she explained that "going to the Governor's School took that freedom, that instinct, that spontaneity, and helped me to actually learn the craft of acting." She added, "Before, it [acting] was just a hobby and something fun to do, which it still is. But being able to gain the tools and techniques to sustain what I naturally had was helpful."

She would later attend The Juilliard School in New York, which she spoke of fondly when speaking with KinFolk. "I learned so much about myself because I was deconstructed and forced to look at pieces of myself to figure out what it is I'm made of.

Parris explored many aspects of her being. She notes that through her college years, she learned about "What is it that I hide? What are the things that I've allowed others to tell me about who I am—but may not be who I am?"

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Speaking with Medium, she acknowledged Julliard's role in preparing her to take on diverse roles. "What you learn when you go to a lot of these institutions is the craft of acting, then you take that and use it in whatever medium you so choose," she said. She continued noting that she learned "the heart of what it is to cultivate a character and tell the truth in someone else's words. You can use that in film, television, theater, whatever you choose."

With such a strong foundation, she has the confidence to bring a diverse range of roles to life.

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Taking Time to Live

As for her wellness routine, Parris ensures she takes time to enjoy life away from acting.

"The nature of being an actor, performer, or entertainer is that we're always looking for work. We're always trying to figure out what's next," she told KinFolk. She continued, noting that "Everything is a variable. 'Well, if this goes well, then I might be in this city.'"

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She said that life as an actor can feel "unsettled" as a consequence of her work. It is pretty easy to miss out on many things in life, and it's easy to never go "to your niece's birthday because you might miss an audition, never going to sit with your family because maybe they'll call you back."

"You never really get to live," she concludes.

Being cognizant of how her work might affect her life, she takes time for herself and "to nurture relationships with family, friends and loved ones. That reflects in your work."

Working Out

Parris took up working out seriously in the run-up to portraying Monica Rambeau in WandaVision, one of the most physical roles she's ever played. Her Instagram reels are filled with clips of her getting physically ready for the role.

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