Actress Novi Brown is something of a mystery. To many people, she’s the new girl on the scene playing the kind-hearted ‘Sabrina Hollins’ on Tyler Perry’s Sistas, but in fact, she has played the lead in over 15 productions from TV to short and feature films. Perhaps Brown reminds people of that down-to-earth homegirl from around the way, and after just one conversation, they would be right, well, if that ‘way’ was in Berlin, Germany.
The reality is, putting your finger on just what makes the flawless mocha toned, Afro-German starlet so enigmatic requires you to peel back the layers of her proud Taurus Moon, Scorpio Sun, Cancer Rising skin. The one thing that is for certain, however, is that growing up abroad and the life she has had as the daughter of a natural adventurer is what made her the dynamic and fearless woman you see on screen today.
“My mom had that native explorer spirit in her,” Brown says proudly. “Being a nomad and on the search for more and being fearless obviously are great qualities to have if you’re pursuing a career such as acting. There’s so much rejection, there’s so much instability in the art world, but my mother taught me that regardless of how far or how close you travel, the peace you seek is in your home, which is technically in your mind and in your heart. So traveling just helped me find a sense of home everywhere I go, and I feel like that really lends to being a versatile, adaptable and open-hearted individual in the world.”
Since the ESSENCE woman is all about seeing some world and spreading our Black Girl Magic as far and wide as possible, we caught up with the New York City trained thespian to find out more about what it’s like to be the product of global liebe (love in German), her tips for traveling with your crew, what she packs to maintain her enviable curls and what she wants her fellow ‘Sistas’ to know about connecting with themselves abroad.
On Being A Berlin Love Child
My mother grew up in a time where venturing out wasn’t much of a possibility. So as soon as she was able to be on her own and venture out, she went to Germany at 18, met my dad, and had me when she was 26. Because of that, I grew up in Berlin with German as my first language, and by six-years-old, I was on a plane by myself traveling to different countries and different cities throughout the world. Above all, it instilled fearlessness in me and an understanding that at the end of the day our spirit is always on the search for more. Travel is just a way to consistently break the boundaries that you have inside of your own headspace.
On Her Favorite Travel Memories
I really love cruise ships, they’re perfect for people who like lots of versatility and comfort. My mom and I cruise a lot. We went to Jamaica and went horseback riding in the ocean. There was no saddle on them, we just held them by their manes really connecting with just the traditional way of being in the space. I really loved it. One of my best memories was on another cruise with my mother for Mother’s Day and that was the same time that I did my tape for Tyler Perry. On that trip was when I got the call that I got the role on ‘Sistas.’ That was super memorable because my mom helped me with the tape, it was Mother’s Day and I’m getting the chance to do something I love. It was really special.
On Traveling With Your ‘Sistas’
Oh, please have different personalities in the group. You always need somebody to go with the flow, that one person who just down to do whatever. You need another person who’s kind of like a planner because they’ll be organized. That’s [co-stars] Ebony [Obsidian], she’s the one that’s like, ‘We can do this, this, this, and this.’ KJ [Smith] is just like ‘Let me know what time to be there,’ and Mignon [Baker] is like ‘As long as it’s not expensive.’ You need definitely need that friend who’s on the financial budget and makes sure that not everybody’s overspending. And then you have me, the friend who’s always making sure you got the fly pictures and video to keep all the memories.
So make sure you have a dynamic range of personalities, people who are easy to go with because travel plans always fall apart. You always want people that are easy to be with, quick on their toes and obviously people who are people people. You don’t want to bring an introvert unless it’s an introverted trip. Unless it’s a private trip and you guys get a little cabin and you are alone. But you really have to suss out the personalities for the city that you’re going to.
Travel is just a way to consistently break the boundaries that you have inside of your own headspace.Novi Brown
On Being #TeamCarryOn or #TeamCheckIt
Team carry-on! That quick exit from the plane? Ain’t nothing better than a quick exit, nothing.
On Her Travel Style
Comfortable, versatile and timeless.
On Things She Can’t Travel Without
I can never be without my Fenty lip gloss. I also need hand sanitizer – shoutout to Naomi Campbell – and some type of reading material, probably some kind of astrological book or biography. I’m currently reading “Children of Blood and Bone.” Definitely need a good pair of sneakers, that goes without saying. I love Nike. Nike for the win.
On Being A Traveling Naturalista
I love Melanin Gold Beauty edge control, especially since it already comes in a small travel-sized bag. My old school product is Giovanni Cosmetics. That’s my go-to because it’s vegan. I also must travel with an edge control brush and hair ties because you always need a million of them. Now my new go-to is the Taraji P Henson line. Really, really loving it. Smells good, it’s lightweight and not expensive. Above all I try to make sure that my products are vegan, parabens free and sulfate-free, no matter whether I’m picking them up here or abroad.
The further away you get, the more silent it gets, the more clarity you get, the more connected you get to your inner being and who you are as an individual.Novi Brown
On Being An Eco-Friendly Traveler
The world is becoming more knowledgeable about climate change so I have really been trying to be more eco-friendly when I travel. Things that I take into account is how far away a hotel is from the location that I have to go to and my water and towel usage. I always try to make sure I don’t discard my towels every day and I don’t leave the lights and air on all the time. Just small things like that really help the planet.
On Encouraging Black Women To See Some World
The further you travel, the deeper you get to know who you are in this world. Do not be scared to get close to yourself. Because traveling reduces the noise of your current situation. The further away you get, the more silent it gets, the more clarity you get, the more connected you get to your inner being and who you are as an individual. That’s why when people travel sometimes they don’t come back. Connect with yourself, you deserve it. Also, your vacation can be as short or as long as you want. A two-day getaway is just as important as one that lasts two weeks.