Missy Elliott is an enigma who feels wildly accessible and relatable to her beloved fans. Her career spans over 25 years, proving that she has the Midas touch regarding music and relevancy and prioritizes her mental, physical, and emotional well-being. In 2008, Elliot was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, but didn’t reveal it to the public until 2011. In 2018, when she was honored at our 9th annual Black Women in Music event in New York, Elliot gave a riveting speech detailing her journey with the disease and overcoming it. “I was sick, and I couldn’t even lift a pen,” she told the audience.”My nervous system had broken down. I didn’t come up in here in a wheelchair. Nobody helped me get up here. I’m walking…by the grace of God.”
She continued, “I was on medication for a short while but have been off it for quite some time now. I manage the condition through diet and exercise.” While she was feeling victorious in 2018, in our July/August cover story, Elliott reflected on the two-year low emotional period over a decade ago, which was heightened due to her battle with Graves’ disease. “Now I’m fine with being like, ‘Hey, I got anxiety’ or ‘I went through depression,’” she says to Brooklyn White. “Even the biggest artist, or just the regular everyday working person, we all go through shit. We all do. And it’s okay to say, ‘Hey, I’m not okay today.’ Probably we would keep a lot of people around if we were that open, because we would be able to uplift each other . We’d know that I’m not going to look at you crazy if you say, ‘Hey, I’m having a rough day.’ Maybe you’re thinking things that you shouldn’t think, or whatever the case may be.”
To curb kick her depression, the artist is diligent about getting in her exercise. Although Graves’ disease has caused her to lose weight, in 2020, PEOPLE reported that the hip-hop star keeps her now svelte shape intact with Beachbody’s FOCUS T25 workouts, created by celebrity trainer Shaun T. The trainer created three workout levels – alpha, beta, and gamma – and says Missy Elliott has made it up to the gamma level and how she appreciates the short time of the workout, as it’s manageable and doable for her busy schedule.
In a 2022 interview with BET.com, the performer revealed that she levels up her self-care game by hiking and traveling to exotic locations, although she’s only been on several vacations. Elliott also prioritizes joy and play to strengthen her mental health. “I like to hike. I hike every morning, 28,000 steps. And I like to vacation in Jamaica. I’ve only been on vacation three times in my life, but I love to go to Jamaica. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going to the movies. But I want to go to Six Flags. It’s probably too cold now, but I want to try to get there. My assistant and my homegirls say, ‘Missy just did the biggest thing; let’s go out and celebrate.’ Or ‘Missy just did the Super Bowl; let’s go to dinner.’ I would say, ‘no, I have to go home and mop the floor and take care of the dogs’ (laughs). But I’m doing better; I’m starting to go out more. I’ll go to a lounge from time to time.”
See photos and moments of Elliott enjoying and living her life to the fullest and aging backward below!