As New York Fashion Week was coming to a close and singer, actress, entrepreneur and mom Christina Milian was in town briefly for the fun, over Zoom, we discussed something not so chic: germs.
“When someone’s affected in my household, you’re just worried like, ‘Who’s going to catch something next? What’s going to happen?'” the mom of three, including daughter Violet, 13, and her sons with French pop star Matt Pokora, Isaiah, 3, and Kenna, 2, tells ESSENCE. “You’re sanitizing everything around the house. With three kids, they’re all in different types of school exposed to different things. We’re also a very active family. I mean even my husband, he’s going on tour. We sing a lot in the house and we have to make sure that the house is healthy.”
With her own battles with germs in mind, and the upcoming cold and flu season and its litany of respiratory illnesses too, the star is excited to be partnering with Lysol. The beloved cleaning and disinfectant brand is releasing a new product in its Air Sanitizer. It’s the the first and only EPA-approved air-care product that sanitizes the air by killing airborne viruses and bacteria, which is a pretty big deal following the COVID-19 pandemic. An added bonus? It kills up to 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria in the air.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is genius,'” she says. “Honestly, it puts me at ease knowing that I could actually help protect my family, especially in the coming season that we have, from influenza, from colds, from Coronavirus. I’m glad that there’s a solution for this.”
As a singer, and someone married to one, she was astounded to learn that when doing something harmless (for example, karaoke), an individual can produce more than 1,000 droplets of virus and bacteria. So she took part in Lysol’s Air-aoke event at Music Midtown in Atlanta on Sept. 16 to get the word out about that reality, and to also let people know that the Air Sanitizer could stop those airborne viruses and bacteria in their tracks. And with her go-to karaoke jams being her hits “AM to PM,” “Dip It Low,” and Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” you should know she got the party started right while minimizing the spread of viruses.
We spoke with Milian about that and a few other things, including relocating with her family and starting over in Paris, and her biggest rule when it comes to keeping germs, and in turn, sickness, at bay, in her home.
ESSENCE: In regard to the cold and flu season, is it as intense in Paris as it is here in the U.S.?
Christina Milian: Absolutely. I’ve had many times where my kids just go to the park and they’d come back and days later they’re sick. Everyone’s talking about the same cold or flu or whatever it is that the kids have at the moment. It spreads for sure.
This is a big deal for me and my husband, especially since he’s on the road, he’s singing and he’s got 40 shows lined up from October to December. It’s my responsibility to make sure that our family is protected and that we’re all as healthy as possible so that nobody gets sick and it doesn’t affect us so we can continue to just have the fun that we always do. I’ll definitely be using the Lysol Air Sanitizer around the clock. I’m not sure if there’s enough for me to have but I’m just going to have cases of it around and probably even share it with the other parents at school and whoever else is around. My husband’s definitely going to have it on the road.
And how has it been raising your family abroad in Paris, if you don’t mind me asking? What has been the greatest thing about it and what has been the biggest adjustment?
It’s awesome. Paris is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. It’s a very active lifestyle there. I like to move around, I like meeting people, I like seeing things, I love architecture, I love history. And so it’s rich in that and it’s rich in its culture.
I do a lot with my kids. I take them to the park. There are parks everywhere. My daughter and I, after school I pick her up and we just go walking. On the weekends we go find really cool food, we go shopping, we just discover things. And then my husband and I have really great dinners and we’ll go get a massage and we’ll do things. I feel it’s one of the best places for us to raise our family because we don’t really like to be bored anyways and we’re always moving around. We’re really happy there.
And then I say one of the challenges is just the language. There’s really not that big of a language barrier because a lot of Americans and a lot of people speak English there. If I wanted to I could just rely on that. But because my husband’s French and I do go to a lot of dinners with a lot of French people, the first thing they want to do is speak French.
I’m okay with hanging out and eating, but I’m now getting to the point where I’m like, all right, I should be part of this conversation. Or maybe I’m tired of people asking me if I speak fluent French yet? I think for the last six weeks now, I really just started to really get excited about focusing on becoming fluent in speaking French. I’m getting so much better. I already know a lot because it’s been six years and I hear it all the time and I speak it here and there. It’s more about grasping the confidence of speaking it.
Nice! Violet, is she learning the language too?
She’s going to school there. She has, I think, maybe even six French classes a week. She’s learning it and her classroom is all full of international kids. It’s an international school. She’s very comfortable there and they’re all on the same level of learning.
I love that for you guys. And with being abroad, what is next for you professionally? If your base is French, will we see you in some French movies, what’s happening? They’re not on strike over there.
I love having conversations but I love to work too [laughs]. Almost half of my fan base these days are French. Due to my husband. Of course he’s very popular there, and for spending time there. But I think I would love to, I don’t know. I had Beignet Box, which is a beignet company. I think at some point I’ll probably bring Beignet Box over to France and really kind of do my behind the scenes thing that I do there and continue to build that business internationally. But yeah, I’m seeing where it’s going, not too much pressure. I’m doing my mom thing. Maybe at some point I’ll go back in the studio and sing again. We’ll see. But also just I think the biggest part is going back to school and learning French. That’s my everyday thing now.
Nice. And so what kind of healthy habits are you teaching at home for your kids?
Before even the big Coronavirus knocked us all, because my husband and I used to be on the road and he’s on the road for singing, we always carry sanitizer with us. Whether it’s sanitizing around the clock or else making sure when you get home you take your shoes off, you wash your hands. If you came from the park, it’s time to take a bath. My husband especially, he kind of freaks out about that stuff and I’m happy. I learned even some of the habits from him because it definitely just makes sense when you really look at the big picture of it all. I’m like, oh wow, yeah, airborne illness, all of that stuff is all out there. You don’t want to bring it into your household where you’re the most comfortable and you want to be the most relaxed and have the least worry. These are the things that I’m also raising my kids with, making sure that they understand cleanliness and staying sanitized as well.
I wanted to ask you lastly, what’s your one go-to rule when it comes to cleanliness and healthiness? For me, I’m like, you can’t wear what you wore out in the world on the couch.
When we come home we do tend to change our clothes. The kids, actually I have to try to get them to keep their clothes on. They’re at the age, two and three years old, that they get home and everything comes off and I’m like, put something on! I guess they’re already practicing that. My husband for sure does that and definitely if it comes to your bedroom, yeah. You don’t wear outdoor clothes on the bed.
But my biggest rule when you come in, is wash your hands and take your shoes off. That’s just the number one key for us.