‘Tis this season for holiday campaigns, sales, and treats that are all too good. Celebrating the season of gift-giving is Pandora, introducing its animated holiday campaign. The jewelry powerhouse tapped a star-studded lineup for the film, including Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown and Game of Thrones Star Nathalie Emmanuel. “I love that it’s a really fun, happy, light-hearted film, after the year we’ve had, we might feel a little heavy,” Emmanuel tells ESSENCE.

ESSENCE got a chance to chat with the actress about her latest partnership with Pandora, how’s she practicing self-care during the pandemic, and what she is hopeful for in 2021. Read more below.

ESSENCE: Can you share more about this animated holiday short film with Pandora? What are you hoping viewers take away after watching the film?

The holiday short film for Pandora was a really amazing and creative solution to the fact that we couldn’t all be together to shoot a Christmas campaign. They were able to bring the energy of the Pandora Muses into one final (mostly) animated film, which is such a cool idea and it was really fun to see how my character progressed and evolved over the weeks as they were creating “cartoon me”. 

I’m hoping that when viewers watch this film, they feel connected, even though we may be far away from our loved ones in this situation we all find ourselves in with the pandemic. There is a way to still feel connected and spread love, especially at Christmas, when everyone’s holidays are going to be a little strange and different this year

Have you been able to bond with the other Pandora muses and ambassadors?

Yes, absolutely. I love all of the Pandora muses. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Miss Millie Bobby Brown, but Halima, Margaret, Larson, Georgia and Tasya—we had some time together shooting our initial commercial, and at launches ever since. We now have a WhatsApp group which we keep in touch through. We just generally are each other’s cheerleaders on social media, which is so lovely; they’re all such inspiring women and I’ve learnt so much from all of them in different ways. It’s really cool to see them shine and thrive and just hear what they have to say and how confidently and proudly they put it out into the world. They all inspire me.

What have you been up to over the past few months?

For the last 7 weeks, I’ve been in Prague shooting a movie, which has been really challenging and great in many different ways. It’s an action role, so I’ve been learning stunts and cool moves. It’s really fun but also strange since it’s the first job since COVID-19 happened—it’s new territory, having to be super-careful with lots of testing, as well as going pretty much straight from work to home, so life is kind of regimented in a way, which is essential to keep everybody safe on the production and beyond.

Most importantly, I have been actively lending my platform, where I can, to speak out against injustices that I’ve been seeing and have experienced. Specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement. After the brutal murders of various Black men by police in 2020, it has brought the dangerous reality Black people globally are living every day to the forefront of society’s consciousness. As a Black mixed person with a significant following, it was important to help elevate and speak on this issue. It was inspiring to see how people of all ages, races, religions, sexualities, abilities and gender identities united and organized to march and fight these issues. The pain that so many of us have been feeling became the driving force for some much-needed action. There is a long way to go. The work is not done. But be sure change is coming.

What are some of your fashion faves this season?

I love a jumper—a cool knit of any kind, especially ones that are oversized or have statement shoulders or big, billowing arms. I’m a huge fan of those. Dr Martens; they’re my favorite everyday shoe and it’s also really great that they now have a vegan range. I wear a lot of headscarves simply to maintain the ‘fro, but also on lazy days I can make myself look like I’ve made an effort and have a level of style, ha-ha. Even if I haven’t really been bothered to do my hair.

What’s a Pandora piece that you adore?

One of my favorite Pandora jewelry pieces is the Sparkling Leveled Hearts Charm. l would also gift this to my mum and sister. I like to give them symbols of how connected we are because of how often I’m away from them, even when I’m really far away, so I love the idea that we’re all still connected by our hearts no matter what’s going on or where we are. When they look down on their wrist and they see the symbol, they see the other two of us, and that’s pretty cool.

How would you describe your style?

Comfortable. I like things that are oversized and comfortable. Not clinging to my body too much.

How have you been practicing self-care recently?

Yoga and meditation are my go-tos. Generally, exercise is important to my mental health, so I have to maintain that as much as possible. Because I’m away from everybody I love and care about, my inner circle, I have to make sure I’m actively connecting with them as much as possible—it’s very easy when you’re apart and/or busy to get wrapped up in other things. Also, just prioritizing sleep; it’s essential for me to be able to do my job but also as it’s our brains way of processing life. 

I try and do things every day or on days off that make me happy—watch a movie that’s nostalgic or that I don’t have to think about too much so I can switch off. Also actively doing nice little things for yourself. Sometimes I like to make a nice meal just for myself. There’s real joy in making something and then getting to enjoy it, there’s a fulfillment in that that I really like. Generally being nice to yourself and speaking kindly to yourself. And in this current climate where everyone’s locked down, getting out and walking is really important—a change of scenery is needed.