While her on-screen accomplishments are numerous, Shari Belafonte, daughter of Harry Belafonte, has spent plenty of time on the other side of the camera. Most recently, Shari lost 20 pounds through Qsymia, a FDA-approved weight loss drug, and now she’s documenting women around the country who have also experienced weight loss with the medication. Here, the 59-year-old former model and actress discusses her weight loss journey and beauty secrets.

ESSENCE.com: What inspired you to start taking Qsymia pills?
Shari Belafonte: While I have no desire to be the tiny stick figure that I was when I modeled years ago, I recently discovered I was overweight. Last year my cholesterol was sky high and my doctor told me to lose weight and go on Qsymia. Most weight loss products make you feel jittery, so I didn’t want to consume them. But, I tried Qsymia and I lost 4 pounds immediately without many side effects. 

ESSENCE.com: How else are you losing weight aside from taking Qsymia?
Belafonte: My plan is to maintain my weight below 145 pounds. In doing so, I cut back on gluten, and I started doing water aerobics and working out. Years ago I used to play volleyball, racquetball, softball, horseback riding, water skiing—but as you get older you slow it down a bit. But, I do enjoy keeping [active]. I enjoy cycling, hiking, and walking for exercise. 

ESSENCE.com: Tell us about your favorite hairstyles and hair regimen when your exercising?
Belafonte: I’ve had so many styles over the years—a shaved head, I’ve worn dreadlocks, and even relaxed hair. I was actually one of the first people to wear extensions. I wore micro-braids long before Janet Jackson—I had them in 1987! But right now, I like being blonde, although I’m sure I’ll change my hair several times this year. As for my regimen, I use Mane ‘n Tail shampoo and whatever else is in my shower at the time. 

ESSENCE.com: What about your skincare routine?
Belafonte: I use a mix of Bain de Soleil sunscreen and Nivea lotion on a regular basis. Everyday I remove my makeup with Vaseline and alcohol. I’ve tried expensive products for years, but the cheaper ones are better for me. 

ESSENCE.com: What projects are next for you?
Belafonte: I’d like to continue filming people around the country and inspire them to lose weight. My older sister is diabetic, and I have family with diabetes; I just want to encourage people to be healthy.